Boosting your immunity with at-home remedies and practicing self-care has never been more important! I have always been a fan of all things self-care, and in times like these even more so attentive to what I can do to make sure my body is getting the immunity-boosting remedies and power necessary to stay healthy! As a certified yogi, I have been lightly trained in Ayurvedic medicine practices, the benefits of essential oils, and in cultivating mindfulness every day. Many of these self-care, immunity-boosting home remedies are simple, yet calming and bring me peace of mind.
Here are some of my easiest self-care practices and rituals you can do every day that will show you how to increase immunity at home from leveraging the power of immunity-boosting herbs, supplements, foods, and more. Having a little routine for yourself will help your mentality, as it gives you something to plan for and action. And all of these mini rituals just also feel really good to do!
Have a ginger shot or ginger tea first thing in the morning
In Ayurvedic medicine, drinking warm ginger tea with lemon and honey is THE thing to do in the morning. This simple, immunity-boosting at home remedy helps to get things moving and is way more soft and soothing as compared to coffee. Drinking coffee first thing can be too acidic, which can lead to microbes (a bacterium causing disease or fermentation) attacking the system. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Ginger shots can also be effective, from cold-pressed juice making techniques.
How to make ginger tea:
- Boil water, cut 3-5 slices of fresh ginger, 1 nice big fresh lemon slice, and add a dollop of honey in a mug.
- Pour hot water in mug with all ingredients so it melts everything together.
- Bonus: go for a walk with your tea!
Give your thymus gland some love
This immunity system booster is a super simple technique that is a small gesture to stimulate the lymphatic system. It’s far from any cure, but feels nice and is another ritual you can incorporate for any flu, cough, bronchitis, trouble breathing, lung congestion, mucus, allergies, asthma, upper back stagnation. It’s a fun and easy activity to weave into your self-care practice no matter where you are on your journey.
Behind your sternum, or breastbone sits the thymus gland. The thymus gland is our immune system’s “surveillance gland”, as part of the lymphatic immune system. One of the functions of the thymus is to process and mature T cells ( also known as killer cells) , which help keep us healthy. By tapping your thymus gland, you stimulate your immune system, giving it a boost.
How to stimulate the thymus gland:
- Warm your hand together in a prayer position.
- With relaxed wrists, use your fingertips or side of your fist to tap up and down about 2-3 inches along your sternum, between and above your breasts.
- Do this for 60 seconds and continue to take regular slow breaths.
Take your gut-health probiotics
Probiotics are one of the most essential immunity-boosting supplements you can take, and a top way to boost immunity overall. Probiotics are an excellent way to ensure bloat-free digestion, weight loss, hormone balance and even clear, glowing skin. They are clinically shown to enhance gut health by including prebiotic fibers which provide sustenance for the new microorganisms, helping them stabilize, thrive and grow. Systemic enzymes cleanse the body of candida, a pathogenic fungus that causes infections. Digestive enzymes help the body break down food, reducing bloat and maximizing absorption of nutrients. My favorites are the Immunity boosting probiotics from Sakara Life – they’ve kicked things into gear for me nearly as soon as I started taking them! And, you can use my code XOTARA for 20% off your first order.
How to take probiotics:
- Pop two capsules first thing in the am after your tea.
- Drink at least 1 glass of water and wait 30 mins – 1 hour before having breakfast. This will allow the probiotic to really kick into your gut flora!
Boost your mood with adaptogenic herbs
I LOVE incorporating adaptogenic herbs into my self-care practice so much. Funny thing is, I didn’t even know what adaptogenic herbs were until about two years ago, and now I take different combos of them every day. Essentially, adaptogens are non-toxic plants that help the body resist stressors of all kinds (physical, chemical or biological). These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions, and are FULLY having a renaissance today! With this wellness boom we are in, adaptogens are making their way into a latte, smoothie, even carbonated water near you. The options are endless when it comes to ways to boost immunity using these herbs.
My all-time favorite adaptogen herb blend is MoonJuice’s SuperYou. This baby helped me get through some tough times, by giving me with energy, a calm vibe, and focus. I also really love blends of the following adaptogenic herbs: Maca, Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Rhodiola, Eleuthero, Lions Mane, Chaga, Shatavari
How to use adaptogenic herbs:
- Take 2 capsules of SuperYou (or other brand you find) in the morning with tea or water.
- Consult an herbalist to create a tincture blend based on how you feel and want to feel. Take droplets as directed.
- Incorporate power adaptogenic herbs into cooking, coffee, smoothies, etc.
- Be patient – sometimes it can take a week or so before you start to notice and feel the benefits.
Add a dry brush technique to the mix
I recently discovered the dry brush technique to stimulate circulation and draw out toxins and I’m pretty obsessed! This is another Ayurvedic technique that will help you get rid of dry skin, clogged pores, but also will improve lymphatic flow, and thus your immune function overall. Right now, I’m very keen on how to increase immunity via at-home remedies and the dry brush technique is a top method.
The lymphatic system is a major part of the body’s immune system – including organs and lymph nodes, ducts, and vessels that transport lymph throughout the body. Many lymph vessels run just below the skin. So, dry brushing regularly helps stimulate the normal lymph flow within the body which gives the body a little oomph to detox itself naturally.
Plus, dry brushing helps get you a smoother appearance of cellulite and stretch marks, the slower formation of wrinkles, and natural energy. I like these eco-friendly bamboo brushes that you can use in small areas or getting to your whole back.
How to dry brush:
- Do before showering or bathing.
- Brush gently but firmly in long strokes toward your heart, usually going over each area two or three times.
- At your belly, brush in a clockwise motion.
- Follow with a vitamin-rich moisturizer or oil after you shower.
I’m a huge fan of massage so naturally, a bespoke face massage seems very appropriate to do as much as possible! And since immunity-boosting at-home remedies are the name of the game lately, this one technique is one of my favorite things to do. More importantly, this gentle massage to the face stimulates the lymphatic system to get rid of toxins, ease muscle tension, decrease puffiness and stimulate blood flow to increase your skin’s glow. This act of massage over the skin is key to draining excess fluid from the face and, with regular use, will tone and lift the skin. Some face rollers have two ends: one with a large-sized stone – intended for the forehead, cheeks, jawline, and neck – and one with a smaller stone, which snugly fits under the eyes. There are plenty you can find online for around $15 and upwards. Or, splurge on this epic rose quartz facemask for some extra crystal energy!
How to face roll:
- You can use a jade or rose quartz device (I have both since I broke a piece off one – be a careful not to drop it)!
- Spritz face with rose water or a nice oil. I like Herbavore’s Natural Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Spray and Dr. Roebucks hydrating serum.
- Start on an inward point on the face and stroke outwards on the face. So, right under your eye and stroking outward to the temples. You can also start right under the jawline and make longer downward strokes towards the collarbones when massaging the neck.
- For every small area of the face, repeat 3-5 times. This includes the under-eye area, cheekbones, on top of the jaw, and forehead.
- Keep the roller it in the refrigerator. The cooling sensation on your face feels SO good and de-puffing! Especially after too much vino 😉
Light natural candles
There’s something really cozy and warm about candles that I was recently reminded of. I have a ton of real ones around my place (some more eco-friendly than others) but nevertheless, right now they provide a super soothing vibe that is a little extra, especially when we need more light in our lives. And while being at home it’s just so nice to incorporate into the day to day. Plus, they smell really good 🙂
How to pick natural candles:
- Look for sustainable candles: coconut (supposedly the purest), rapeseed (renewable and biodegradable, and it burns slower and cooler), beeswax (natural, biodegradable wax that burns slowly, and it naturally cleans the air by neutralizing toxins).
- Make sure the wick is lead and metal-free and made from natural and clean-burning materials like cotton, hemp or wood.
- Cut the wick a tiny bit before burning.
- Never leave too long unattended!
Practice yoga at your personal altar
Movement, meditation, and yoga are essential always. If you need some inspiration on what to do, check out my massive schedule of all the yoga and wellness classes going on from some of the best teachers out there (mostly based in NYC). I like to practice in the morning, sometimes a quick lunch flow, or a restorative session at night to relax me.
What’s also really helpful is creating an altar. In my yoga teacher training, we learned about the importance of having a space (of any size, really) to help you connect. An altar allows you to make space for gratitude and inspiration, including tokens that matter most to YOU. Your altar is an outer representation of your inner world. It’s a way of honoring yourself by having a place that is solely yours and represents your ideals. Just entering into your altar space has an effect on your energy and mood. This is why I love looking at it when I practice yoga or meditation. It’s a peaceful and happy place!
How to create your personal altar:
- Identify a space where you will have room to practice.
- Collect tokens or items that hold special meaning and energy to you.
- Organize all your things in an aesthetically appealing way.
I have a lot of candles on mine, with the bronze statue of the Goddess of Compassion, Tara, artwork from where I live in Brooklyn, dried flowers, a cool cow skull from Mexico, wine corks in a huge vase from my years in Italy, some travel books, incense, and sage.
Apply essential oils to your feet at night
Another ritual I love so much for relaxation is applying essential oils. Often used in aromatherapy treatments, essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. The oil captures a plant’s scent, or “essence” and is obtained through distillation or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing. They are super potent, and even a drop or two can have significant benefits. How oil is made is really important, from the sourcing to potential chemicals used and carrier oils. As plants become endangered it’s key to know what oils are to avoid, and what manufactures are taking advantage of popular oils.
When I’m stressed, I will put some drops in a diffuser and let the aroma infuse my home space. The oils will enter the air and disseminate into the air as you breathe it in. The Saje Wellness diffuser I have (in white) can run up to 6 hours, and it’s got some fun lighting too. At night especially, I love putting lavender oil on the bottom of my feet. The skin is thinner here, so it absorbs into your body super fast! I really enjoy Public Goods and Saje Wellness for their variety and sustainable practices.
How to apply essential oils:
- Choose your oil type and producer wisely!
- Apply several drops to the bottom of each foot. You can also out the oil on your inner wrist, chest, and being the ear lobe.
- Add oil or mix you like to a diffuser to keep it going for hours.
- Bonus: Apply in the morning for energy (try eucalyptus, peppermint, or citrus).
Create your own Wim Hof Method
The Win Hof method is practiced by many celeb athletes (like big wave surfer Laird Hamilton) to help them reach peak performance. The Wim Hof Method is similar to Pranayama (yogic breathing), and being very cold. Being cold brings back the connection to the brain to the vascular system, which Wim Hof is very keen on!
How to practice a mini Wim Hof:
- Take a cold shower for up to a minute
- Take breaks if you can’t handle it all at first; the cold still stimulates your ability to regulate your
The Win Hof method is centered around three core principles:
- The Cold: helps with reduced inflammation that facilitates a fortified immune system, balanced hormone levels, and improved sleep quality. Plus, when cold you produce endorphins that naturally elevate your mood.
- Breathing: Proper breath-work is supported by this method as the breath creates more energy, reduced stress levels, and an augmented immune response managing pathogens (bacterium, virus, or other microorganisms that can cause disease).
- Commitment: exposing yourself to extreme cold and breathing through it ain’t easy. Patience is key here!
- For more on the full theory, you can watch his theory here. I personally stick with my yoga breath and cold shower bursts for now.