• Katya McCubbing

Immunity boosting ideas for those winter bugs

Nothing feels worse than when your child is sick. It is extra worrying when they have a weakened immune system which is the case with Down syndrome. This week my daughter has been fighting a nasty cough and cold and I have been trying to do my best to help her fight it with lots of immunity boosting herbs and supplements. I thought I would share with you some ideas that you might find helpful in the future.


Sadly sugar is well known to reduce the bodies immune function and should be avoided as much as possible (for many other reasons too......). Good nutrition is the key to health, and avoiding processed foods is also something that will really help your child. In an ideal world we should all just eat real food. Processed foods can be filled with artificial colours and flavourings

unfortunately. Bone broths are a great way to add minerals and gelatin, great for gut health.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw apple cider vinegar (or ACV) contains enzymes, probiotics and amino acids. These components help digestion, stimulate the lymphatic system and boost immune function. It is important to choose raw, organic apple cider vinegar, which has the "mother".

Products that contain (or are) ACV include: Jarrow Formulas, Omega Nutrition, Apple Cider Vinegar: BioBalance Manuka Immune for Kids.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has a wide range of benefits for the immune system. A deficiency can leave you open to a wide range of infections. As well as this a weakened immune system caused by a lack of Vitamin C can make an illness worse. If you click on this link you can read more about the benefits of Vitamin C. I generally give my daughter a buffered vitamin C for daily use, but when she is unwell I prefer to use a liposomal Vitamin C.

You can check out some brands by clicking on this link.

Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil contains around 400-500 of Vitamin D3 per teaspoon. Cod liver oil also is a good source of Vitamin A and the essential fatty acids (DHA and EPA), both of which support the immune system. If you click on this link, you can read all about cod liver oil and the benefits of Vitamin D for the immune system.


Echinacea is widely used to fight infections, especially the common cold, the flu, and other upper respiratory infections. Some people take echinacea at the first sign of a cold, hoping they will be able to keep the cold from developing. Other people take echinacea after cold symptoms have started, hoping they can make symptoms less severe.

Examples of products are: Kiwiherb Children's Echinature; Kiwiherb De-Stuff Kids; Herb Pharm, Kids Echinacea.


Elderberries have been used in traditional medicine to combat bacterial infections and viral infections such as, colds, flu, bronchitis, and sinusitis which cause the mucus membranes to swell with mucus and develop into chest congestion and nasal congestion.

Examples of products are: Gaia Herbs, Kids, Black Elderberry Syrup; Nature's Way, Organic Sambucus for Kids.

Or you can always make it yourself: How to Make Elderberry Syrup you can buy elderberries in Australia here: Harriet Herbery.

Essential Oils

Essential oils can have many immune boosting benefits. There are some safety considerations to consider when choosing which oils are most suitable. This article has some great advice for those new to essential oils. Oils can be diluted and used topically, or via inhalation using a diffuser.

The brand I always recommend to people new to essential oils is Plant Therapy because they have very cheap (usually free) shipping and a great kidsafe range.


Homeopathics can be a great option to use in place of pharmaceuticals such as nurofen and panadol. Homeopathics can be used to treat fevers, colds, in fact they can be used to assist in any health condition you can think of. Click here to read a great introduction to homeopathy.

Brands I have used here in Australia include: Martin & Pleasance, Brauer and Puraforce. Globally however there are countless wonderful homeopathic practitioners to seek out that can help your children.

Manuka Honey

Manuka honey contains anti-bacterial properties and in a study conducted by the University of Sydney killed nearly every types of bacteria it was exposed to. Use it to boost immunity to prevent the next cold, or to treat the cold symptoms as they arise.

Examples of products containing Manuka honey are: Brauer Naturals Manuka Honey Range; Kiwiherb Manuka Honey Range; of course you can always buy Manuka honey itself. Honey mixed with lemon has great soothing properties for the throat.

Olive Leaf

Olive leaf extract is thought to be a powerful antibiotic and antioxidant, and it also stimulates the immune system. It assists where there is bacteria, viruses, worms, parasites and fungus. It can also with the relief of cold and flu. Olive Leaf Extract can also serve well as a possible antibiotic alternative in some situations.

Examples of products are: Comvita Olive Leaf Extract; Now Foods, Olive Leaf Glycerite.


70% of your immune system is located in your gut. Choosing the right probiotics to support the immune system can be a really essential tool to fight those winter bugs. Click here to read my advice on probiotics.


Zinc has been shown to reduce the severity of colds and possibly shorten their duration. Recent trials have indicated that children who took 10 or 15mg of zinc sulphate daily had lower rates of colds and fewer absences from school due to colds. Please click here to read more about zinc.

#immunity #essentialoils #flu

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