Your skin is a living organ. It protects you from irritants and effectively eliminates waste. When you lather things onto your skin, try to remember that your skin also absorbs substances. Not just any substance can pass through the cell membrane, but those that do are absorbed directly into your blood stream. This counts for lotions, soaps, shampoos, oils and more.
The small amount of chemicals found in most commercial products, by the single dose, do not cause serious damage. However, using the same harmful product for many months or years, increasing your exposure, can have a lasting effect. When you choose the right products for your body and home you will see a significant difference in your skin, especially in these late winter months. The winter cold and wind can leave your skin dry and dehydrated. Season changes can also cause upheaval for your skin.
Part 3: Lymphomaniac – Get your Lymphatic System Moving
The lymphatic system plays a key role in keeping us healthy. “The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that…consists of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymph (fluid)… There are 600 to 700 lymph nodes in the human body that filter the lymph before it returns to the circulatory system”
That’s a lot of nodes! The efficiency of your lymphatic system, and its ability to keep moving, keeps you free from disease and determines the level of your immunity. Our lymphatic system also plays a key role in the development of cellulite. Keeping our immune system boosted and our lymphatic fluid moving are key ways you keep your pathways of elimination and detoxification open for business.
Boosting your immune system takes time. It is important to focus on adding things to your diet everyday that will help you boost your system.
Here are 8 things you could be eating and cooking with everyday, to keep your immune system in shape:
- DRINK LEMON WATER – May seem simple, but drinking fresh lemon water everyday is the absolute best way to keep your pathways of elimination (Colon, Skin, Lungs, Kidneys and Lymph!) moving. I can’t stress enough how important water is to keeping your cells and your immune system in good working order. Water is a necessity for the optimal function of every single body system. Freshly squeezed lemon juice is the most alkalizing thing you can feed your body, helping to decrease inflammation.
- THYME (fresh herb) – acts on nearly all body systems, including the respiratory tract. It helps to clear mucus from the lungs, and is a very warming, with a peppery taste. It is an under-rated herb! It is also an anti-microbial.
- SAGE (fresh herb) – An anti-microbial herb, excellent for a sore throat, and gentle enough for children. It acts as an astringent to the tissue, meaning it will help to clear mucus.
- GARLIC – Ancient and time tested, very effective remedy – anti-microbial and anti-fungal – it helps to break up mucus build up in the lungs. Garlic, along with its milder cousin, onion, has been indicated to actually slow the aging process, slow oxidative damage and boost the immune system.
- GINGER – This herb has an affinity for the digestive tract, gets blood moving toward the gut to aid in the act of digestion and therefore, elimination.
- CINNAMON – Studies have shown that cinnamon can help to balance blood sugar, which will help regulate your moods, and therefore your sleeping patterns. It also helps to boost your metabolism. Sprinkle it in tea, on yogurt, over fresh apples, over just about anything! Cinnamon + cardamom + clove + ginger + nutmeg = warming, effective antimicrobial spice mix, excellent for protecting your system against invaders.
- RAW HONEY (not for babies under the age of 1) – natural sweetener – rich in amino acids, minerals, and it’s astringent. It can kill (bad) bacteria lingering in your gut. It is one of the best things for an upset stomach, and can soothe a sore belly.
- TUMERIC – Is currently the most widely studied herb, one of the top anti-inflammatory herbs for any body system, working at every level of inflammation. It works harmoniously with black pepper. When you cook turmeric with black pepper, it helps the tissue to absorb the turmeric more readily.
There are other things that you can use to keep your pathways of elimination moving:
Maybe the most effective way to get your lymphatic system moving and unclog your pores all at once… get yourself a natural (not synthetic) body brush. Before entering the shower (make sure you are naked!) start brushing at your feet and work your way up to your heart. Always brush towards your heart. This will also help to reduce cellulite (bonus!)
Simple yoga poses like twists, child’s pose, and bringing your knees into your chest while lying on your back all aid in the act of digestion and therefore, elimination.
The lungs are one of your pathways of elimination, and deep breathing can really help you to expel toxins from within your lungs. A lot of people tend to breath shallowly, not taking conscious breaths, and not exhaling fully. Deep breathing exercises have been shown to decrease high blood pressure, relieve stress and release tension.
Here is a recipe for a nice, effective herbal tea that you can use anytime you or your family are feeling under the weather, to give your immune system the boost it need to knock that virus out!
- 2 handfuls of fresh sage OR 2-3 quality sage tea bags
- 1-3 tsp of raw honey (more if the child dislikes lemon)
- Juice of 1 lemon
Roughly chop or rip fresh sage and place in a 1-quart glass jar or bodum, fill it will boiling water and cover for 30 minutes. Add lemon juice and sweeten with honey. Excellent for kids feeling under the weather. Will kill any throat infection and is an excellent, gentle, effective anti-microbial.
Written By: Vanessa Fioretti, RHN
James Duke, CRC guide to Medicinal Use of Spices, CRC Press, 2003
Tiffany Wyse ND, Healthy Family’s Preventing the Cold & Flu, 01/20/15
Aviva Romm MD, Winterize Your Kids! Optimizing Health with Herbs, Diet and Common Sense, 01/20/15
Olivia Jenkins, A Step-By-Step Guide To Dry Skin Brushing, http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-12675/a-step-by-step-guide-to-dry-skin-brushing.html, 03/28/15
Longmont Healing Art Clinic, 5 Pathways of Elimination, 03/28/15
Kim Ann Zimmerman, Lymphatic System: facts, functions, and disease, http://www.livescience.com/26983-lymphatic-system.html, 03/28/15