As the school year begins, it’s essential that children stay healthy and have strong immunity to ward off any illnesses. Fortunately, Ayurveda provides natural remedies for supporting immunity. From immune-boosting herbs to lifestyle changes such as getting enough rest and exercise, Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to staying well for the whole family. In this blog post, we’ll look at some of the best Ayurvedic techniques for boosting immunity naturally.
Why Immune Support is Important for Kids Returning to School
As the school year begins, it’s crucial to prioritize immune boosting for kids returning to school – and the adults who care for them. The close proximity and interaction with other children increase the risk of spreading illnesses and infections. By strengthening their immunity, we can help protect them from common colds, flu, and other infections that could hinder their ability to focus and learn.
Understanding that getting sick is a fact of life, it’s definitely worth taking the extra steps to support our immune system so we can function optimally for those who depend on us most.
Immunity building is not just for kids! Most parents know that a sick child will most likely share their germs. Luckily., Ayurveda offers plentiful natural remedies that can support a strong immune response in children and adults. By incorporating Ayurvedic herbs for immunity, we can provide our kids with the extra protection they need (and protection from them for us adults).
What is Ayurveda and How Does it Support Immunity
Ayurveda, an ancient Indian holistic healing system, offers a wealth of knowledge and a comprehensive approach to support and strengthen our immune system. It’s not just about physical health; it emphasizes the importance of balancing mind, body, and spirit to promote overall well-being. Ayurvedic practices, such as using Ayurvedic herbs for immunity, incorporating healthy routines, and following specific lifestyle habits, can help support and boost our immunity. Lifestyle medicine is a main component of Ayurveda that helps us to regulate our immune system through healthy habits like regular meals, bedtime routines, time outdoors, and exercise.
Top Immune Boosting Herbs in Ayurveda
When it comes to boosting immunity naturally, Ayurveda has a treasure trove of herbs that can do wonders. One of the most powerful immune-boosting herbs in Ayurveda is Ashwagandha. Known for its adaptogenic properties, ashwagandha helps the body adapt to stress, which in turn supports immune function. Another herb to consider is holy basil, or Tulsi, which has been used for centuries to enhance the body’s defenses against infections and boost overall immunity. And let’s not forget about Triphala, a combination of three fruits that can help detoxify the body and support immune health. These and many other immune support herbs are included in the traditional formula Chyavanprash.
Ayurvedic herbs, such as turmeric and ginger, are known for their immune-boosting properties. Turmeric, an Ayurvedic blood cleanser and builder, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that can support immune function. Ayurveda suggests taking whole herbs as nature intended. Ginger, on the other hand, helps to stimulate digestion and strengthen the body’s defense mechanisms. Black pepper supports respiratory health, especially Indian Long Pepper (Pippali). Cinnamon is a helpful circulatory stimulant. Cardamom can ease excess mucous. These are all simple herbs and spices that can easily be added to family meals or beverages. Honey is a must-have for any immunity tool kit. Keep reading to learn the special benefits of taking herbs with honey.
Sitopaladi and Vasaka are formulations that are used when sickness is imminent and aid recovery.
Scroll down to see the complete list of my favorite immune herbal products.
Manage Stress Naturally For Greater Immunity
Another essential aspect of immunity is stress management. High levels of stress can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to illness. Teach your child stress management techniques such as taking deep breaths, sitting outside, or having alone time when they seem grumpy or moody. Managing stress effectively is key to maintaining a strong immune system. By equipping them with these tools, you’ll be helping them cope with any potential stressors they may encounter during the school year. Of course, It’s also important for adults to find ways to manage stress so they can keep their immune function strong. Why not step outside together? Kids who see adults model these behaviors are more likely to pick them up.
Incorporating Ayurvedic Herbs and Lifestyle into Your Child’s Routine:
Here are a few tips to make these habits a regular part of their day-to-day life to ensure maximum immune support.
Start by incorporating immune-boosting herbs like Ashwagandha, Turmeric, and Tulsi. These can be taken as teas or as supplements, depending on your child’s preference. I tend to make tea with herbs for my young kids because I can add honey to sweeten the taste. Scroll down to learn honey’s special properties for taking herbs – and see the full list of my favorite herb products for the whole family.
A healthy body is an active body. Getting time every day to move their bodies will not only help them stay physically fit but will also stimulate their immune system and promote a healthy mind-body balance. Spending time outdoors is equally important, as it allows them to connect with nature and absorb Vitamin D from the sun, which is crucial for immune function. Getting exercise outside is a great way to check both these boxes. Take them for a walk, a bicycle ride, or kick a ball around. Adults need this as well so it’s always a good idea to do family outdoor activities together. Outside time is always a prerequisite for screen time in our house.
Sleep is essential for proper immune function. Give plenty of wind-down time before bed so their nervous system has time to down-shift. Avoid screens before bedtime because they keep their brains and sensory organs stimulated. Establish bedtime routines that everyone enjoys. Try soothing herbal teas to mark the beginning of wind-down time. Get into pajamas, take a bath if it’s bath night, or spend some quality time reading together. We have our kids retreat to their rooms for quiet time where they can play quietly or read for 30 minutes before it’s lights out. This is, by far, my favorite part of the day. For me, it’s my signal that the work of the day is done and I can start to relax – finally!
What kind of bedtime routine do you think your family would enjoy?
Lastly, prioritize a healthy diet for your child. Never skimp on breakfast. In our house, we alternate between oatmeal with fruit, yogurt and granola, or eggs with whole-grain toast. Don’t overthink it! Just start with whole foods and try to avoid processed foods (especially ones high in flour and sugar) that provide little energy and brain power. Whole foods provide the necessary energy and nutrients to support their immune system.
My Top Picks: Immune-Boosting Ayurvedic Products For The Whole Family
Now that you’ve learned about a few helpful herbs and lifestyle tips, you might be thinking – now what? if you’re looking for medicinal herbs for immunity that your family will actually take, you’re in the right place. I’m a mom so I know that kids can be picky. Gross-tasting herbs and big tablets are a no-go. Here are some of my favorites that taste as good as they are good for you! Family tested. Mother approved!
Chyavanprash This gooey, sweet, and spicy herbal jam can be taken a spoonful at a time or made into a soothing tea. My kids have always loved it. I love it. It’s a back-to-school favorite in our house. This traditional formula contains immune support herbs like Ashwagandha, Vasaka (for respiratory health), Amla (super high in antioxidants), and so much more. Contains honey. Ages 5+
Ashwagandha Latte Mix combines three powerful adaptogens (Ashwagandha, Mucuna seed, and Shatavari) along with digestive herbs and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and Haritaki. Mix into warm milk before bed and sweeten with honey. Half dose for little ones (1/4 teaspoon in 8 ounces).
Turmeric Milk Mix includes a powerful anti-inflammatory herb Turmeric as well as Ashwagandha, ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon. Naturally sweetened with date sugar. Mix into warm milk before bed. Half dose for little ones. (1/4 teaspoon in 8 ounces).
Protip for adults: Try combining Ashwagandha Latte and Turmeric Milk Mix for an immune-supporting duo!
Bronchial Support Herbal Syrup is not only tasty, it carries a powerhouse of Ayurvedic herbs to support respiratory health including Licorice root, Vasaka, Tulsi, and ginger. Contains honey, of course.
Throat Soother Spray is an alcohol-free herbal remedy to protect and soothe the throat with Slippery Elm and Licorice that gives it a naturally sweet taste. Turmeric and Echinacea support immune function and ginger and clove support digestion. Contains honey.
Honey is a special anupana, or carrier, used in Ayurvedic herbal medicine. It has special warming and penetrating qualities that help to “carry” herbs deep into the tissues where they’re needed the most. Try Turmeric Honey or Elderberry Honey to mix into your herbal teas for kids and adults alike. Yum!
Adults can also add these extracts to their immune support arsenal:
Immune Strong herbal extract is a synthesis of Ayurveda’s most powerful immune builders including Turmeric, Kalmegh, Licorice root, Tulsi, Amalaki, Ashwagandha, Echinacea, and ginger. Contains organic grain alcohol. Reach for Immune Strong when your kids come home with a cold or when you are caring for an ill family member. Gotta… stay … strong.
Immune Health NOW is a fast-acting herbal formula that supports respiratory health and delivers powerful immunity herbs including Sitopaladi, Turmeric, Vasaka, Licorice, Amalaki, Tulsi, Neem, ginger, and cardamom. Reach for this formula when you start to feel the first signs of a cold coming on. Combine with warm water and sweeten with honey.
Common Sense Immune Support: Grandma Was Right
Herbs and exercise aside, don’t forget the maternal wisdom that has been passed down through the generations. Good rest facilitates the recovery process. In order to rest, we must first slow down and take the necessary time to heal. The longer we put it off, the longer it will take to get well. Even we adults need to admit when we need to stop so we can shut down and care for ourselves or allow ourselves to be cared for. I know it’s hard. It’s hard for me, too. As a parent, I feel I don’t have the time to succumb to illness. Alas, we all have our time when we need to let the natural process take its course. It’s not a sign of weakness. If anything, we affirm for our partners and our kids that it’s good to care for ourselves.
As Daniel Tiger says, “When you’re sick, rest is best.”
** The above links are affiliate links from Banyan Botanicals that afford me a small commission when they are purchased, at no cost to consumers. I’ve been using these products for me, my family, and my clients for years and would never suggest anything that I wasn’t 100% confident about. Thank you for supporting my small woman-owned Ayurvedic business!
Heather R. Burkart
Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner
Founder, Her Well Being Ayurveda & Yoga
Please be advised that the content on this website is for education and information purposes only and does not replace advice from a medical professional.