By Popular Demand: winter wellness tips - 2019 edition

With flu season on it's way and colds always a popular theme this time of year, I'm gifting you my favorite protocols and products for prevention and use during the flu and other seasonal health challenges, including my homemade elderberry syrup! I sent out something similar last year and I was so glad to hear it helped so many - here's the updated version.

In addition to the guide below, I highly recommend having a local holistic practitioner who can help you get through seasonal health challenges in a way that supports your health rather than suppressing your symptoms. This could be an integrative doctor, practitioner of Chinese Medicine or Ayurveda, a Naturopath, an Herbalist or Homeopath... someone who's really and can follow you closely when needed.


1. Hand washing, of course.
2. Cleanse with me in the spring and fall, and New Year Reset with me (coming up January 7th, 2019)
3. Influenzinum homeopathic - a dose of 200C influenzinum once/month.
4. Daily doses of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Zinc (dosage depends on age/weight)
5. Deep immune supporting formulas: Wish Garden Daily Immune (they make one for adults & one for kids), Synergy Company Immune Health (contains Beta 1,3 Glucan extract, medicinal mushrooms and astragalus), Herbs Etc Deep Health.
*Stop taking these if something acute comes on, these are only for prevention.
6. Elderberry syrup 1 tsp 1-2x/daily, increase frequency if exposed to colds or flu
7. Avoid sugar & refined flour
8. Pasteurized dairy is a known aggravater for some. If you take dairy look for raw, organic from a local dairy (flash boil it yourself if desired) and cook it with spices, drink it warm. Golden milk is a good way to take milk. Avoid hard cheeses and commercial yogurt - make your own or get it fresh from a local dairy.
9. Use your neti pot daily OR use nasya oil in dry climates.
10. Make sure your bowels are moving well. Take triphala nightly (this is an Ayurvedic formula that you can find in most health food stores and online). If you like, get a colonic once/month.


When you feel something coming on - at this point there's something circulating but it hasn't yet manifested, so it can be difficult to know what you're dealing with. Everything on this list is for this time, before you know whether it's a cold or flu or ... whatever it becomes. Typical symptoms would be swollen glands, sore throat, beginning body aches or neck ache, feeling really run down, starting to cough or getting a runny nose.
1. Take a dose of Oscillococcinum homeopathic (and take 2 more doses over the course of the day or evening)
2. Begin taking one of the following andrographis based formulas: Synergy Company Rapid Rescue, Herbs Etc Immune Alert, or another andrographis & echinacea formula for this same purpose. There are lots of good formulas out there for moving things out before they've taken root. Make sure andrographis is in the formula. I'd say more than half the time that I do one of these formulas at first onset, I'm able to clear the invader and not get sick. These formulas need to be taken often - hourly or at least every 3 hours or so, as directed. The Ayurvedic compound Mahasudarshan is great at this time too.
3. Take elderberry syrup every 2-3 hours
4. Take extra Vitamin C and Zinc
5. Make a strong ginger root and cinnamon tea to induce a light sweat and digest mucus
7. Avoid all sugar, refined flour and dairy products - eat light, clear, cooked foods. Hot and sour soup at this time is a favorite.
8. Drink lots of warm water with lemon or food grade lemon essential oil
9. Take a hot sweat bath - see if you can sweat it out. I like Dr. Singha's Mustard Bath for this.

When cold or flu has set in
1. For cold, take Umckaloabo, aka Umcka (pelargonium sidoides).
For flu, continue with Elderberry syrup
2. Continue with the extra Vitamin C, Zinc and Vitamin D
3. Make big pots of fresh ginger root tea. You can add fresh lemon juice and raw honey (once your cup has cooled a bit).
4. I like Herbs Etc's Peak Defense formula during this time. It helps to keep mucus running clear and avoid infection.
5. Drink lots of hot broth, don't eat a lot besides but do go with your level of hunger. When I lived in Thailand, my friends used to make for me a big pot of khao tom (rice soup). This is basically a rice congee, where you cook a small amount of rice in a lot of water until the rice breaks down and add whole black peppercorns and lots of garlic and ginger.
6. Don't suppress your fever (and if you can't mount a fever, consider inducing one with a hot bath and sweat).
7. If you live in a dry climate, use humidifiers to keep your respiratory passages soothed and moving the mucus out. You can also steam a couple times/day in the bathroom or shower, or use a hot water pot on the stove and cover your head with a towel to achieve a steam.
8. If your bowels aren't moving daily, a warm water enema can work wonders.
9. Work with a homeopath or other holistic practitioner to manage your unique symptoms and keep infection at bay.
10. When the illness is gone but there are lingering challenges you may need to switch formulas to one that will clean things up. I like Phytocillin by Herbs Etc, but it really depends on what you're dealing with.

*Important Note: none of these recommendations are a substitute for sound medical advice. If you have questions see the advice of a qualified medical practitioner.

Here's my Elderberry Syrup recipe

for prevention + when illness has set in


2 cups dried elderberries (sambucus nigrum)
6 cups water
Add 2 Tbsp fresh minced ginger root & 1 medium cinnamon stick
1.5 cups honey
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Bring to a boil and then simmer on low/med or about 45 minutes (until about half of the liquid remains)
Strain through fine metal strainer or cheesecloth into a large glass measuring bowl
cool to the point you can put in a finger for a few seconds
add equal part of raw honey (local if possible)
add apple cider vinegar
pour into sterilized amber glass bottles (I use 8 & 16 oz bottles that I order from Mtn. Rose herbs and boil before use)

Your syrup will keep for several months in the fridge. You can make a smaller or larger batch just use the ratio of 1:3 dried elderberries to water and the same quantity of honey to finished berry decoction, and 1/2 that much apple cider vinegar.

Extract of elderberry is great both as a preventative (it’s high in vitamin C, antioxidants & immune supporting minerals) and great when cold or flu comes on. Research shows that Elderberry inhibits several strains of influenza, including H1N1. Studies show that when elderberry extract is consumed once one has active flu virus, it can significantly shorten the duration and severity of symptoms.

Dosage: I recommend taking 1 teaspoon 1-2x/day as a preventative for children over 5 and adults.
For children 1-5 years I recommend half of this dose (I am comfortable giving babies raw honey at age 1, but do what you’re comfortable with!).
When illness is coming on & has settled in, the dose can be doubled and taken 4+x/day.