Protecting the Immune System

From the teachings of

Traditional Chinese MedicineTCMand Current western thinking

  • Get a good night’s sleep
    • It will help if you
      • Go to bed earlier
      • Avoid looking at computer screens 2 hours before bed
      • Have camomile tea or other similar soothing herbal tea
      • Do not eat a heavy meal within 3 hours of bedtime
    • Eat a ‘Spleen friendly diet’
      • In TCM the Spleen helps make energy which we need to boost our immune system. The Spleen is also an organ of digestion so taking the strain away from the digestion by eating Spleen friendly foods will really help keep this organ functioning well
        • Spleen friendly foods
          • Root vegetables and veg grown on the ground – cook them well
          • Rice and grains – cook them well
          • Warm liquids to drink – never drink very cold / icy water
        • Spleen friendly eating is
          • Chewing your food well and not rushing your eating
          • Eat mindfully (don’t do other things at the same time as eating)
          • Space your meals well throughout the day (breakfast, lunch, light supper)
          • Don’t overeat
        • Meditationhas been shown to help boost immune function 1and this may be in part to helping us to reduce stress
        • Try and reduce emotional stress. Although short term stress can benefit us, long-term stress really interferes with immune function5.  Try to think about your own particular stressful triggers and how to sidestep these.  Exercise, meditation and talking problems through can all help
        • Probiotic supplementsappear to support immune health 2,3
        • Dry brushing– anecdotal evidence suggests that dry brushing can support the immune system. In TCM, the skin and the Lung are closely related and invigorating the skin through dry brushing also does the same for the energy of the Lung
        • Fresh ginger tea. In Chinese herbal medicine ginger is well known and extensively used to help get rid of germs, coughs, colds and to settle the stomach in case of nausea. It also helps to invigorate the body’s energy
        • High dose vit C + Zinc may help to bolster the immune system4


  1. Davidson RH et al (2003) Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditationPsychosomatic Medicine, vol 65(4) pp564-70
  2. Leyer GJ et al (2009) Probiotic effects on cold and influenza-type symptom incidence and duraotin in childrenPeadiatrics, vol124(2) e172-9
  3. Ibrahim F et al. (2010) Probiotics and immunosenescence:cheese as a carrierFEMS Imunology and Medical Microbiology, vol59(1) pp53-9
  4. Maggini et al (2012) A combination of High-dose vitamin C plus Zinc for the common cold.Journal of International Medical Research, vol 40(1) pp28-42
  5. Dhabhar F (2014) Effects of stress on Immune Function; the good, the bad and the beautiful. Immunological Research. Vol58, pp193-210