Oct 17, 2012 by

Some people would argue that if you have a diet rich in whole foods, leafy greens, quality meat and full-fat organic dairy, you don’t need additional supplements in your diet. And while I agree that a wholesome, rich diet is the best way to take care of your body, there are so many studies that show benefits additional herbal supplements. Now, I’m not telling you to run out and buy all of these, but a couple of you asked so I’m going to post it.  I’ve done my research and follow a pretty strict supplement regimen and on the whole feel much better than I have in quite some time. I suggest you do the same to make sure they don’t interfere with any medications or other conditions. (And thus concludes my cover-my-ass speech.)

Most of the herbs and supplements I take are for immune boosting, because let’s be frank, kids are gross and I have two in public school. And they, in turn, like to sneeze in my face or puke in my bed. It happens. More often than I’d like it to, of course. Also, if you remember, I had a bad round with a systemic virus a few months ago and have started this protocol to keep it in remission and so far, so good!

So here is what I take daily.

1) Cranberry

Let’s be honest ladies. No one likes the UTI and I’m one of those lucky women who don’t know I have one until it’s gone to my kidneys and blood and I pass out. True story. So I take these because they’re a natural antiseptic for your urinary tract. Since I’ve been on them, I haven’t had another episode or the subsequent kidney infection which, in case you were wondering, seriously sucks.

2) Echinacea and Goldenseal:

Long used by Native Americans, both herbs are used as immune-boosting supplements. Research has shown that they can help shorten the duration of colds and viruses. Some recommendations say to not take them for more than 6 weeks at a time, so make your own decision with this.

3) Andrographis:

Most people look at me crazy when I mention this because it’s not a very well-known herb. Used in Eastern herbal medicine, this herb follows many of the same immune-boosting properties as Echinacea and Goldenseal but it also has anti-inflammatory properties as well. It has been shown in double-blind studies to reduce symptoms of the common cold, respiratory infections, and flu. Again, similar to the above, the recommendations are not to take the full dose for longer than six weeks, so I cycle them throughout cold/flu season and right now while I’m fully healing.

4) Olive Leaf:

This herb has been shown to not only have immune-boosting properties but can also help treat viruses as well as keep them dormant, such as Shingles, flu, encephalitis, and pneumonia. In addition, it has been shown to help keep blood pressure stable, boost energy, and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. This has also been shown to be safe for long-term treatment viruses and I take this daily. “Many people who live stressful lives or who may be particularly susceptible to colds and viruses may benefit from long-term use of olive leaf as a preventive agent. Some patients have expressed other unexpected benefits of olive leaf, including improved psoriasis, normalisation of heart beat irregularities, diminished cravings, less pain from hemorrhoids, toothaches and chronically achy joints.” – from here where you can learn more if you wish.

5) Vitamin C (+ zinc)

My reality is that especially in the winter I do not eat enough citrus fruit or greens, mainly because I live in Iowa and it sucks. Here’s a list of the Top Ten Foods Highest in Vitamin C. I do try and keep my greens up as best as I can with broccoli and Brussels sprouts but it’s hard to get the leafy greens in when they’re out of season and wilt within minutes of getting them home. So I take this to replenish what I may be missing in the winter. Some people find the zinc rough on the stomach so if you take this and notice that side effect, make sure you’re taking it with food.

6) Milk Thistle:

Typically used for the treatment of liver disorders, this herb has been shown to help improve insulin resistance (and as those of us with metabolic disorders such as PCOS know, this is huge) and lower bad cholesterol. Also, who doesn’t want a nice healthy liver? I know my wine cabinet thanks me for it. Keep in mind that this may create an estrogen-like effect in high doses for some women, so please make sure you do your research.

7) Vitamin D

In the summer, we spend plenty of time outside. I love the sun and try to spend my lunch breaks reading on a lounge chair or the weekends outdoors with the kids. But guess what? Summer is over. Not only that but I missed a ton of outdoor time with the drama of the move in August and September. I take around 1000-1200 IUs daily during the winter months and will up it if I feel a cold coming or one of people in this house is getting sick. You can take upwards of 6000 IUs safely. (Again, please do your own research). Moreover, some research suggests that treatment with Vitamin D may be 800% (Yes, EIGHT HUNDRED PERCENT) more effective at preventing the flu than the actual flu shot which I’ve already written about here. For the kids, we sneak these in their morning orange juice!

8) Formula 303 Natural Relaxant

Made from a blend of valerian root, magnesium, and passion flower, I bought this from my chiropractor who recommended it for my “Jimmy Legs” and what I call Mike’s “twitches.” Sometimes while trying to fall asleep, I’ll get what I suppose are symptoms of Restless Leg Syndrome where I can’t stop kicking or moving my legs. This makes falling asleep and staying there difficult. Mike also suffers from something similar except when he’s in that in-between state of wake and sleep, his WHOLE BODY twitches and he wakes up (and then I punch him). It doesn’t happen often and neither of us can pinpoint the specific reason for our respective symptoms (I think mine may be allergy meds or decongestants) but we take this when we feel “twitchy” and it works! I was actually surprised it worked to be honest. I expected it to be just another herb that people say will work as natural “muscle relaxer” but I was beyond impressed at how quickly and well it worked and how fast I fell asleep. Also woke to no “hangover” feeling like from regular prescription pills that do the same. Believe me, if I’m going to have a hangover, I want the fun night prior as a consolation prize.

What about you? Do you have an immune-protocol or daily regimen of supplements you take? Do you take any of the above?

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  1. Ryan

    I do milk thistle and supplement with NAC, too. The latter is fairly new to me, but I’ve read good things. I’m a craft beer drinker (I know, I know) and the liver benefits of both appeal to me. In addition, I take a B-complex, omega-3s, and vitamin-D. Those last three have been part of my routine for about nine months and I’ve felt great.

  2. Kirsten

    I have often grabbed a bottle of the cranberry supplements to help prevent UTI’s but I wasn’t sure it would work and I didn’t want to waste the money so I put it back.

    Def. gonna try it. UTI’s are NO fun.

  3. Terrie

    I love reading about what supplements people take and why. I do D3, Fish and Krill Oil and Buffered C. During allergy season I take Allertonic and Emergen-C. Also, take probiotics. Oh, and I give the dog Brewer’s Yeast with Garlic.

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