Flu Prevention Tips

Photo: Laurelhurst Park. Fall 2017

Photo: Laurelhurst Park. Fall 2017

The days are getting shorter and the rainy season has begun. With less exposure to sunlight, our vitamin D levels naturally decrease, rendering us more susceptible to infections. Follow the suggestions below to decrease the risk of contracting the flu this winter.


Cistus incanus (Rock Rose):

This herb can be used in both tea and tincture form, though the tea is more potent. This antioxidant-rich plant has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and biofilm-breaking properties. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and is absorbed well in the gut. It has been shown to be effective not only against the flu, but also against Lyme, mold, and retroviruses. Cistus tea is delicious and can be sipped throughout the day for immune support. Make sure you cover the tea while it brews for 10 minutes to prevent the essential oils from evaporating. We have both tea and tincture available in the medicinary.



Proper and frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of illness.

  • Wet your hands with running water, turn off the faucet, and apply soap

  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together, be sure to include the backs of your hands, in between your fingers, and under your nails

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds

  • Rinse your hands well with warm water

  • Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them

Wash your hands before preparing food, eating, after using the bathroom, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing


If possible, get regular exercise:

Find ways to move your body every day. Exercise lowers the stress hormone cortisol, which suppresses our immune system. High levels of cortisol can make your body more susceptible to infections.


Get enough good-quality sleep:

  • Aim to be in bed by 10 pm. Each hour of sleep you get before midnight is equivalent to two hours of sleep after midnight.

  • Sleep in a cool, dark room.

  • Install blue-light blocking apps on all electronic devices and use after the sun has set. Blue light negatively affects your melatonin production and can disrupt your circadian rhythm and prevent your brain from detoxing properly. Avoid backlit screens (phone, computer, iPad, television) for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.

  • How much sleep is enough? Listen to your body. Many people find they need an additional hour during the winter months.

  • Turn off WiFi router at night. Keep your cell phone in airplane mode, charging in another room while you are sleeping.


Try this potent immune-supportive tonic:

Fire cider (Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar)

  • Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup chopped ginseng root, fresh or dried

    • 1/4 cup freshly grated ginger root

    • 1/4 cup freshly grated horseradish

    • 1/8 cup chopped garlic

    • 1/8 cup chopped onion

    • 2 pieces turmeric root peeled and grated, OR 2 Tbsp turmeric powder

    • 2 chopped jalapeño peppers (optional)

    • High-quality apple cider vinegar with the mother (Bragg’s is a great brand)

  • Directions:

    • Place the herbs in a glass jar. Pour in enough vinegar to cover the herbs by 1-2”. Seal tightly and let sit for 4 weeks. Strain herbs from vinegar.

You can enjoy fire cider on its own. It’s also a delicious addition to salad dressings, drizzled over steamed or roasted vegetables, or added to soups, stews, and chili. You can also mix it with hot water and sweeten with honey to make a tea.


Moving your body daily, getting enough rest, and using Cistus and fire cider will nourish your body and support your immune system throughout the upcoming flu season. Reduce exposure to germs by routinely washing your hands.