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Immune Boosting Foods, Herbs & Supplements

April 3, 2020


In these unusual times, along with basic lifestyle recommendations (ie appropriate sleep and exercise) we can support the immune system via herbs, supplements and gut health.

Firstly, before I go any further, developing some immunity to Coronavirus (your body has generated antibodies to resist the virus) does not mean that you cannot spread the infection. Social distancing at this time continues to be very important

Secondly, you must consult with a doctor before taking any medicinal herbs/supplements if you are taking any prescribed medication.


A simple overview of immunity and the gut without too much theory:


It is well researched and documented that the gut contains trillions of microbes collectively known as the gut microbiota – at least as many cells as we have in our whole body. Their collective genome, known as the gut microbiome, contains approx 150 times more genes than the human genome.

The gut microbiota influences many aspects of human physiology including our immune system and approximately 70 – 80% of the human immune system resides in the gut.

The immune system has two types of coordinated responses – innate and adaptive – which look to quickly destroy damaged or infected cells and also to adapt to more complex threats. Appropriate diet is fundamental for the immune system as imbalances in the gut microbiota (which get most of their nutrients from our diet) may disrupt immune responses and lead to the development of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune dysfunctions.


A simple summary of what we can do:


(a) Eat a diverse range of foods that do not cause any obvious difficulties for you as an individual. This could include:

vegetables, legumes, beans and fruit
fermented foods (ie natural yoghurt & kefir)
prebiotics (whole grain carbs & fibre)
polyphenols (micronutrients – found in dark chocolate, green tea & red wine).


(b) Take immune boosting herbs/supplements including:

1. Everyday Eastern medicinal herbs:

(a pinch of these can be added to hot water for a simple herbal remedy that will also soothe the throat and respiratory tract)

Chilli Pepper


2. Western medicinal substances

(also helpful for throat and respiratory issues)

Olive Leaf Extract (contains several key polyphenols)
Quercetin (a pigment found in many fruits & vegetables)
Propolis (a resin-like material made by bees)


3. Western supplements

Probiotics (pill or powder)
L-Glutamine (an amino acid that supports the gut lining)
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Beta-glucans (soluble dietary fibre)
Monolaurine (derived from lauric acid, a fatty acid)


4. Adaptogenic Herbs

(these support the body during physical, mental, or emotional stress)



The above options have all received some support from clinical trials and/or traditional systems of medicine. Dosages will vary according to several factors but basic, standard daily doses are usually provided by manufacturers or health care practitioners.


Spencer Joseph

From → The Gut, The Heart

  1. Josephine Beams permalink

    Dear Spencer,
    It is good to hear from you in these hard to be believed times… My heart responds to you….. You may remember me . I am the older Australian woman over weight, who came for counselling at Neales yard. With family difficulties,and trust and friendship issues .Depression etc and gut issues. I am 70 now and back in Australia . Isolated….. Same issues despite continuing to work on things. I feel like my whole life has been about trying to find out what my whole life is about, like a fox chasing its tail and I still don’t get it !!! And somehow it is o.k. even if I don’t get it. I have been very down…going stir crazy trying to work it all out, and it’s good to hear from you. I appreciate your energy of truth ..I relax when I think of you. You have my permission to send me any absent healing if you do that sort of thing. Thank you. I’ll see if I can love me enough to take responsibility for care of this body. All the best to you. And your family. Thanks for the info and advice. I’ll see if I can be persuaded to listen to it. I consider you a friend in these difficult times. Kindest regards to you . Josephine Beams .

    • Hi Jo – nice to hear from you. I hope this post gives you a little inspiration to take care of yourself during these challenging times. Best wishes to you.

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