Harry MacDonald's 8 holistic immune boosters for the flu season

Harry shares his top holistic immune boosters to protect us from bugs and viruses.

By: Harry MacDonald.   Posted

With a strong immune system, we are much less susceptible to any bugs doing the rounds, Coronavirus or otherwise. As we are more than just physical beings, let's consider the impact of our emotions and state of being, as well as what physical measures we can take to boost our immune system holistically. Before beginning, I want to emphasise the importance of trusting the body. It is an elegant, vastly intelligent system, which knows exactly what it needs. Run all of these holistic immune booster suggestions through that wisdom before following them. Does it feel like a yes or a no? Trust yourself.

Eat well to stay healthy and strong

Generally speaking, all natural foods eaten in balance will boost your immune system. Fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and well-raised animal products are all excellent choices. Things that come in foil wrappers and cardboard boxes are less likely to be helpful, and you'll probably feel better for minimising them. Equally, you may find that certain 'healthy' foods don't agree with you – don't ignore the reality of your body's messages because you're attached to an idea about health. Make your diet nutritious and digestible, but also pleasurable. Feeding your body while starving your spirit won't do you any good at all. If you're honest with yourself, you'll know what balance means for you.

Holistic immune boosters to tuck into


Essential for immune function and powerfully antiviral; may help against Coronavirus by inhibiting certain proteins necessary for its replication. Avoid using zinc supplements long-term as they can cause copper deficiency. The most bioavailable sources are animal foods, especially beef, lamb and oysters; the best plant sources are sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils and chickpeas.


Has been shown to prevent a strain of Coronavirus from binding to ACE2, a protein the virus uses to gain entry to cells; may disrupt the virus' protective lipid envelope.

Ginger, clove and garlic

Ginger, clove and garlic: All holistic immune boosters with antiviral, immune supportive properties, as do many other culinary herbs and spices.

Holy Basil or Tulsi

Has a broad range of protective properties alongside antiviral and immune boosting effects. It is especially relevant for its ability to improve respiratory infection and reduce stress, and can be drunk as tea.

Frankincense essential oil

Once again, it has a positive effect on the immune system and is antiviral. It has a wide range of benefits, including relieving anxiety. It can be diffused, giving direct access to the lungs, which may benefit respiratory infections.

Keep calm and carry on

Any kind of chronic stress, including emotional, harms the immune system. Remaining Zen is the ultimate immune booster and will bolster your resilience immeasurably. Be mindful of your media consumption. It's important to know what's going on, but don't allow yourself to be hooked into fear consciousness. Fear is based in an illusory sense of precariousness; when our true nature, ultimately, is totally inviolable. The more we begin to remember this, the more our physicality reflects this back to us. That being said, it is inevitable that we will feel afraid at times. There's no need to deny these emotions: feel them, allow the energy to move, then have an Epsom salt bath. Find stillness as often as you can. Listen to the sound of the wind in the trees, feel your feet on the floor, become absorbed by the vibrant, buzzing vitality of your body's inner workings. Stillness gives us access to higher perspectives and assures us that all is well.

Live your best life

The homeopathic term 'vital force' describes an energy analogous to our modern concept of the immune system. William Blake said: "the poetic genius is the true man". I believe he spoke of something similar. I love Blake's phrase as it implies that creativity is part of our essence. If this connection is more than just romantic waffle – waffles, yum! – then creativity and immunity should be related. This is exactly what we find. Dancing, singing, qigong, meditation, creating art and listening to music have all been shown to boost the immune system. In fact, anything which fills you with inspiration is likely to do the same. Challenging as these times may be, they are also the perfect opportunity to attune to our inner poetry and the beauty of nature – both that which is outside us, and that which dwells within.

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