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Ep 20: Three Immune Boosting Herbs to have on Hand this Winter

Hosted by: MegaFood | Podcast



Ep 20: Three Immune Boosting Herbs to have on Hand this Winter

runtime: 16:40


Ep 20: Three Immune Boosting Herbs to have on Hand this Winter

Stay healthy- be prepared! These three herbs just may get you out of a jam this holiday season. Abigail and Killeen detail these immune-boosting botanical options, including how to best supplement with each.


Other episodes mentioned:

Ep 11: Winning at Winter Wellness

Products mentioned:

Imune Defense* (formerly known as Acute Defense)

Complex C

Kids Daily Immune Nutrient Booster Powder™




[00:00] [background music]

Announcer: [00:00] The statements in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

[00:08] Stay healthy. Be prepared. These three herbs just might get you out of a jam this holiday season. Abigail and Killeen detail these immune boosting botanical options, including how to best supplement with each. Winter is just around the corner, and so is the need for a little extra immune system support.

[00:23] Today's discussion is around three herbal options to keep at the ready should you find your health needs a boost this season.

Killeen: [00:32] Hi, Abigail.

Abigail: [00:33] Hi, Killeen. How are you doing today?

Killeen: [00:35] I'm good. I find it really hard to believe that here we are, braced to talk about immune health once again. Summer has gone by in a flash.

Abigail: [00:46] No. [laughs]

Killeen: [00:46] It always does, and fall is fabulous, especially here in New England, but it's very brief, and suddenly we find ourselves needing that immune support, so that's why we're here today.

[01:04] I wanted to quickly reference, I believe it was episode 12, "Winter Wellness" with Dr. Erin Stokes, where we cover all kinds of stuff to get yourself prepped and ready, or let's say find yourself in the middle of the winter season, just things that you can do to stay healthy.

[01:22] That's a great episode, definitely suggest referencing that for those listeners who are looking for immune support, but today we're going to continue that conversation and talk herbs.

Abigail: [01:34] [laughs] Yay!

Killeen: [01:36] I thought you'd be psyched.

Abigail: [01:38] I'm cheering on my side of the microphone.

[01:41] [laughter]

Killeen: [01:42] That's the thing is, even in that episode, episode 12, we briefly touched on a few herbs, but I think that we should spend today to look at three key herbal solutions for keeping our immune response nice and strong when we need it most.

Abigail: [02:03] I think that's perfect.

Killeen: [02:06] To cue this up, there is one particular herb that I'm thinking of that my uncle, I've talked about my uncle before, he's a very independent guy, not quite a hippy, but he's just a little bit off the grid.

[02:23] Ever since I was a little kid, he would hand over extracts, and tinctures, and funky things that usually contained a primary herb, and when it comes to helping the immune system, there's one that comes to mind for me immediately, thanks to my uncle.

[02:42] It's a pretty popular one. It's been around for a while. Any guesses which one I'm thinking of?

Abigail: [02:46] We could play like 20 questions with this.

[02:48] [laughter]

Killeen: [02:49] We could. I know there's so many, but...

Abigail: [02:52] Although, my first guess is probably going to be the one that comes not only to your mind first, but I think a lot of our minds when we think herbs and immune wellness, and that's echinacea.

Killeen: [03:01] Ding, ding, ding. You are totally right. Let's start there, because I think everybody, no matter what your comfortability or knowledge level of herbs is, I think everybody has heard of echinacea, right?

Abigail: [03:14] Yeah. Everyone is really familiar with it, and I think the beauty of echinacea, a lot of times when you and I talk about herbs, Killeen, they're kind of these far‑flung botanicals from other corners of the world. They don't grow here, but the beauty of echinacea here in Northern America, it is native.

[03:29] Not only is it something that's incredibly beneficial to our health, but we have really easy access to it. I bet for a ton of our listeners, they have it in their backyard garden and maybe don't even know it, or they see it on their walks down the street in people's gardens all the time.

[03:44] It's this beautiful, purple coneflower, that's actually a member of the daisy family.

Killeen: [03:50] It's a very prolific perennial. You're right. It pops up all over the place, and pollinators absolutely love it, so even just on some short little nature walks that I love to take, often I've snapped pictures of the bees buzzing around echinacea flowers on those pretty cones.

[04:09] They make for really nice photos so yes, very iconic and very accessible, so what can we do with that echinacea that's growing around us?

Abigail: [04:18] Echinacea is phenomenal for just promoting a strong immune system, so that's why we're talking about it for winter wellness. In addition to being so prolific, it's really easy to supplement with, so you can get this whether you're harvesting it in your backyard or just going to your local store.

[04:34] Making a tea out of echinacea roots is really simple to do. You have that dry root and you can make a tea with that and sip that when you need that additional immune support. To your point, there's also a lot of great tinctures and other supplements that already contain echinacea out there for us.

Killeen: [04:54] Local health food store would probably have a good variety of options if somebody was seeking different delivery formats of echinacea?

Abigail: [05:01] Absolutely.

Killeen: [05:02] Nice. How about the one that I have been hearing about, I'd say maybe the last maybe three, maybe four years tops? There's a particular botanical food‑related one, where echinacea is, we think, flower, that everybody has been turning to.

[05:25] In fact, when I tried to purchase some dried, last year, it was sold out. Do you know what I'm talking about here?

Abigail: [05:34] You have to be talking about elderberry. [laughs]

Killeen: [05:38] Nice job. Yes.

Abigail: [05:39] Elderberry, it's just blown up in popularity over the last couple of years, so it's been tricky to get for that reason. People are flocking to it to support winter wellness and immune function, and there's a really great reason.

[05:52] Elderberry has been incredibly well studied for supporting those seasonal challenges when it comes to immune function, and it's yummy. [laughs]

Killeen: [06:01] It's beautiful. I think so far, the two we've talked about, purple and pink, oh my gosh, gorgeous colors, so has to be pretty rich in those phytonutrients, huh?

Abigail: [06:13] Very antioxidant‑rich, and some of those immune supportive compounds. I like to equate color to nutrition. I probably said it before on that supplement show, I've certainly said it before to you Killeen, color equals nutrition.

[06:26] Those dark, deep pigments of whole food are really indicative of the support they're able to provide us, and elderberry is no exception to that.

Killeen: [06:35] We talked before...I misspoke, I just checked as we were chatting, it was episode 11, "Winning at Winter Wellness." Sorry about that. It's great that we've had enough episodes now that I've lost track.

[06:48] When we touched upon elderberry in episode 11, and Dr. Stokes mentioned it's something that she loves dearly as well, we talked about the ability to make your own syrup and that's actually what I was trying to do last winter.

[07:01] It was a particularly rough season for everyone's immunity. People were just kind of going down, so I thought, "You know what? I'm going to make my own syrup. I'm finally going to do it." We've talked about it, I probably before even alluded to the fact I already had. I'll be real here, I haven't made it before, so I wanted to. [laughs]

[07:22] I wanted to experience that. I've been given it before, and I felt like, "It can't be that hard." Went online and organic elderberry was sold out everywhere, so it was a little bit frustrating, but also showed me just how popular it was. With that popularity comes that thought that it must be pretty darn effective.

Abigail: [07:45] Absolutely. In addition to being very popular, sometimes it can be really challenging for us to get here in North America, because of our weather patterns. We even had an issue a couple of years back where you couldn't get it in the United States at all, because we had a particularly harsh spring and the trees were damaged.

[08:03] It's really hardy for our immune system, but we've got to take care to protect those trees when we see them.

Killeen: [08:09] Makes a lot of sense. Third and final herb that we're going to talk about today, just as elderberry is pretty delicious, this is one that is really on the bitter side, and also just not nearly as popular as either of the two we've just talked about. In fact, probably most people would be like, "What? Which one are you talking about?"

[08:37] This one is going to be harder for you to guess, but kind of an out‑there herb that has been used widely, more in western medicine, to keep this immune system we're talking about nice, and strong, and ready for whatever comes at it. Any guesses here?

Abigail: [08:54] I think the key for me here is the mention of bitterness.

[08:58] When I think of bitterness and immune function, I think of a plant that's actually known as the king of the bitters for that really potent bitter taste, which if it's what I'm thinking about, we'll talk about why that bitter is so important, but I'm leaning towards andrographis, the king of the bitters.

Killeen: [09:15] I was hoping you'd pick up on that reference, because I didn't give you much else to go on.

[09:18] [laughter]

Killeen: [09:20] There's a lot out there, but tell me more about this andrographis. Very intrigued.

Abigail: [09:26] Absolutely. Unlike echinacea and elderberry where we can get readily in North America, andrographis is one that we do, here in North America, have to go overseas for it. It's been used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine, Indian medicine.

[09:40] As I mentioned, it's known king of the bitters, and it's this bitter tonic herb that actually heightens a very rapid immune response, so it's something that you're going to want to use when you feel those times of compromised immunity happening.

[09:52] It's not necessarily something I'm going to reach for on an ongoing basis, because it really has that punch when you need it, and it's because of that bitterness. That bitterness actually activates some of the immune response in our body.

[10:05] We have bitter receptors throughout our body, and when we take andrographis, whether we're taking it in supplement form, tincture form, when it passes those bitter receptors, it's going to activate that immune response, so the bitterness has a function, but it can be really hard to palate.

Killeen: [10:22] That leads me to my next question which is, how would you take it? I'm assuming we want to swallow this in some type of tablet form or something where we're just not really going to savor the taste for too long.

Abigail: [10:37] Exactly. I often say that the most effective supplement is going to be one that you're going to take, so andrographis, if you get it as a tincture and it's just too potent for you, you're probably not going to take it.

[10:48] While there's definitely a benefit to taking it orally, because of those bitter receptors that I mentioned, taking it in tablet or capsule form I think is definitely the way to go. You avoid any of that bitter unnecessaryness and get straight to supporting health and wellness.

Killeen: [11:04] To set the stage here, colder weather is setting in. Even for those people who don't live in the cooler climates, we've got back to school, we've got holidays coming up, lots of things where we're going to spend more times indoors and in closer quarters.

[11:19] How do we prep ourselves? We've got three awesome herbs that you've just mentioned here. Can we put them all together? Let's say someone is like, "I just really want to make sure that I am good to go for whatever upcoming event I have."

[11:36] Is it safe to take all three at once, and you just want to load it in?

Abigail: [11:41] It's certainly important, I think, before we go any further, it's really important to be responsible with botanicals.

[11:48] If you're unsure, you're a little nervous, you want to start small and maybe work with somebody that has more experience, or go into your natural products store and see if you can find a product that combines all of these ingredients, because when they're properly balanced, they can absolutely be taken together.

Killeen: [12:03] That makes sense, segue into the fact that MegaFood has just come out with Acute Defense.

Abigail: [12:11] Oh, get out of here.

[12:12] [laughter]

Killeen: [12:13] Which of course you know, so I think the point we want to drive home here on "That Supplement Show" is that for those that are interested in all three, we do now have a formulation that encapsulates those along with vitamin C and zinc for a really nice, easy to take supplement.

Abigail: [12:34] The thing I love about Acute Defense is, as we mentioned with andrographis, this isn't something you're necessarily taking ongoing. This is literally immune support when you need it most, in those moments of compromised immunity.

[12:48] To your point, maybe spending a lot of time indoors with a lot of people, back to school, maybe you have family members that are unwell or you feel something coming on yourself and you want to help support your immune system's response to that, Acute Defense is something that you can take in that moment, and it's designed to be two tablets, three times a day, for five days.

Killeen: [13:11] I feel like with winter travel. Travel is already a time where our immune system can become compromised, and holiday travel is, I feel like I would want something like this in my carry‑on for sure.

Abigail: [13:25] Absolutely. It's something good to have on hand. Say you're traveling and you're just a little concerned. Something like this can be taken for more short‑term ongoing support, like 15 to 30 days.

[13:37] You can take one to two tablets a day for that ongoing immune support in those times where you feel like you'll need it, but really I think reserving this for those moments where you just need to reach for something.

Killeen: [13:47] For sure. Personally, I really love using MegaFood's Complex C for daily support, just keep the intake of vitamin C nice and strong in my body, just for the ongoing daily supplementation, and I would save something like this for just, like you said, times I need it most.

Abigail: [14:07] It's perfect use, and I do want to mention, as well, that we're talking about these phenomenal products.

[14:13] Some of these amazing herbs, echinacea and elderberry, are ones that you often see in formulas suitable for children as well, but this Acute Defence product is intended for adults or children 16 years of age and older, and I think that's just an important note on these products.

Killeen: [14:29] For sure. Being a mom, having two kids in school and a toddler, my toddler doesn't take any supplements right now, but for my school‑aged kids, we do keep in the cabinet our Kids Daily Immune Nutrient Booster Powder to add to a smoothie, so that's the kid version of what we're talking about today.

[14:51] It's a little different. It doesn't have andrographis. Does it have echinacea? I know it has elderberry.

Abigail: [14:59] It does. Kids Daily Immune doesn't have the andrographis. We don't want the king of the bitters in there, just because it can be so potent, but we've replaced it with astragalus which is a much more gentle tonic immune support. It's very suitable for children, but it also does have that beautiful echinacea and elderberry in there.

Killeen: [15:16] There is a kids offering as well, just a little bit different, suited for their needs, and that's for kids five and up.

Abigail: [15:24] Absolutely, in a convenient powder form as well.

Killeen: [15:28] I believe that Dr. Stokes talked about the fact that she used that powder for herself too. It's not limited to just kids. Anyone can benefit from it, under the advice of your trusted healthcare practitioner of course.

[15:41] All of these things, our bodies are unique and we want to make sure, like you said before, that we're supplementing responsibly.

Abigail: [15:50] Killeen, I think that has us all super prepared for whatever winter might throw our way.

Killeen: [15:55] Thanks for all the herbal education, Abigail. Appreciated as always.

Abigail: [16:00] I will talk about it any time, any place with you, Killeen.

Killeen: [16:03] Beautiful. All Right, stay healthy.

Abigail: [16:05] You too.

Killeen: [16:05] Bye.

Abigail: [16:07] Bye.

[16:07] [background music]

Announcer: [16:08] Today's episode is sponsored by Acute Defense, an all new formulation from MegaFood.

[16:13] The combination of three key immune supportive botanicals, coupled with vitamin C and zinc, makes for one convenient immune boosting tablet that can be taken twice a day for up to five days, whenever you're feeling like your health needs a leg up.

[16:25] Need it now? Visit and look for episode 21. All the details are in the show notes.

[16:32] The statements in this podcast have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or...

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