We don’t need to run out and buy expensive immunity building supplements (though it doesn’t hurt). Stock up on a few herbs and spices such as the infamous sage, rosemary and thyme. Also include ginger, cumin, tumeric, basil and garlic in your kitchen. I started cooking more with onions too since onions boost the immune system and clear the sinuses too.
Cooking soups, broths, and broiling root vegetables with herbs and spices from scratch allows you to add the various herbs. For instance, one year in Seattle, a flu appeared to be taking everyone down. I rode the bus so I was concerned that I would catch that flu. When I started getting a sore throat and chills, I tossed parsley, garlic, green onions and some other herbs into a pot of water to make a broth that I drank throughout the day until my symptoms disappeared. I used this remedy throughout that winter. I have also experienced with boiling thyme, oregano, garlic and if I had a persistent cough, I made a tea combining fenugreek and thyme, a remedy I learned about through a Canadian author I met in the mid-1990s.
For people who feel otherwise fine but would like to remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body, cook with cilantro or make a salsa or guacamole with cilantro. Personally, I like mixing cilantro with olive oil, tahini, apple cider vinegar, Himalayan salt and lots of garlic to make a marinade sauce for tofu or tempe. Cilantro also goes well with nearly every type of bean and I’ve even eaten cilantro pesto over pasta.
Buy herbs and spices in bulk from a health food store or food coop. This saves money and allows experimentation. Over the years I’ve increased the herbs and spices on my kitchen shelves through experimentation. For instance, I learned that all spice gives Greek lentil soup that zesty flavor and when combined with bay leafs and apple cider vinegar, lentil soup becomes a special treat. I started adding paprika to yams to bring out a savory flavor. I think I first read about that in a health food magazine. And let’s not forget Indian spices which we often blend into a curry powder to make curried lentil soup or dahl. Just think of all the anti-inflammatory punch in curry. People with the Ayurvedic dosha Pitta need to keep their curry spices on the mild side or they could end up with heartburn and other digestive disorders.
Pepper (cayenne and black) also have healing properties. A man I met at a radio station once told me that he healed viruses or warded them off with black pepper. He doused his food in black pepper. I tried that and I ended up with an upset stomach, but that doesn’t mean that black pepper won’t work for some people. However a person with a dominant Pitta dosha would do best to stay away from dousing their food in pepper.
Make a pot of soup using oregano, parsley, sage, garlic, onion and thyme to ward off viral infections. Roast potatoes with rosemary and thyme, lemon juice and olive oil. Add ginger and cinnamon to oatmeal and other hot breakfast cereals. Cooking with herbs and spices isn’t just pleasurable and aromatic, it also boost the immune system and morale. Cooking is after all, a whole body experience and a gift to six senses for people who cook intuitively. And don’t forget to listen to Simon and Garfunkel singing “Scarborough Fair”…sage, rosemary and thyme. That’s a good way to remember immune building herbs.