Bee products and health

7 tips on how to strengthen your immune system the natural way

Viruses are attacking from every direction. A friend might recommend one thing, a doctor might recommend something else, and bee-keepers might have something to say on the matter as well. We will share 7 of our tried and tested tips for strengthening the immune system the natural way.

 

Why is it even important to strengthen your immune system?

The immune system is our only weapon. Bees have stingers, and all we have is our immune system. Its reaction to the environment determines how we feel, our mood and the state of our health. When a nasty virus or bacteria attack us, our immune system begins to chase it out by employing a large arsenal of weapons. Strengthening the immune system is crucial because the stronger it is, the faster and more easily it will cope with pathogens. Often even faster than we begin to first feel the onset of symptoms. On the other hand, a more passive and less resourceful immune system will allow an illness to establish itself and increases the likelihood of complications.

How can we strengthen our immune system in natural ways?

In folk terms, strengthening the immune system is sometimes referred to as ‘hardening the body’, i.e., increasing the body’s resilience against illness. First, we would like to emphasise that the immune system doesn’t transform over the course of one day – this process requires the cells to regenerate, various nutrients to accumulate, certain proteins to synthesise and so on. So it doesn’t matter what measures you’re taking to strengthen your immune system – you certainly shouldn’t expect any kind of effect in several days. Bolstering the immune system requires constant work.

1. Physical activity

An active stroll, jogging, exercising, weightlifting — all of this physical activity improves immune function. Scientists have discovered that through various mechanisms exercise helps protect from ageing by keeping the immune system active.

2. Quality sleep

As we sleep, our body recovers. It has a break from stress (less cortisol and adrenalin is produced) and allows the immune system to recover and strengthen. All this applies when we are sick. It is for good reason that we want to sleep more when we are ill — sleep speeds up the recovery process. No less than seven hours of sleep are recommended for adults, as is keeping to a daily regimen. This helps reduce all kinds of stress, which inhibits the immune system, and allows it to recover and function. So, the first step to strengthening the immune system involves creating a clear work-rest-sleep regimen.

3. Stress management

Stress and the immune system are directly related. More stress means less immunity. Stress hormones not only disrupt sleep, they mobilise the entire body to fight against some kind of threat, which is why it no longer has any time to prepare for the fight against unwanted microorganisms. Long-term stress wears the body down and leaves it incapable of putting up a fight. If you’ve ever fallen ill when you really wanted a break from everything but didn’t let yourself have it, there is a great chance that your body just could not resist all of the negative factors and gave in, thus forcing you to ‘rest’ by falling ill. We must learn to control stressful situations, calm ourselves down and reduce anxiety: by reading books, watching films, listening to music, etc.

4. Diet

Unhealthy food is a kind of stressor for the body. A poor diet also means that we aren’t getting all the necessary nutrients. The immune system is much like a house – if you don’t have any building blocks, you’ll have a hard time building one. So, a well-rounded diet must be a priority. You’ve also probably heard it said that our immune system is in our gut – this is quite true. A healthy and well-functioning gut not only provides us with nutrients, vitamins and minerals by digesting our food well, it also dismantles many pathogens. Especially in the stomach. So the health of our digestive tract contributes to the development of a strong immune system.

Bolstering the immune system with bee products

What we have listed up to this point are some of the main contributors to a strong immune system. If we lay this foundation successfully, we can also start incorporating immune system-boosting food supplements and products into our regimen. Bee products are a great example — they have been used in folk medicine for several centuries. So if you’re thinking about strengthening the immune system the natural way, we have a few things to recommend.

5. Protect the ‘gates’

For viruses, the nose, eyes and mouth are the principal gateways to our body. If our skin is healthy, the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis) reliably protects us from pathogens. Mucous membranes are much more vulnerable. Both our mouth and our nose have a first line of defense – the cillia and the tonsils, which prevent bacteria and viruses from coming in. However, as they are very small, viruses sometimes still get through and penetrate deep into our bodily systems. In order to stop them, we can use external protective measures such as propolis oil, ointments and bee glue sprays. We have described how to prepare these in our post How to prepare bee glue extract.

bee glue - propolisWe can apply oils to our nostrils, lips and other mucous membranes 2-4 times a day. Application is especially beneficial before leaving the home. Propolis spray can also be sprayed once or twice into the throat 2–4 times a day. If you feel the onset of a cold or another illness, these ointments and sprays can be used as many as 8–10 times a day. Their main active ingredient, propolis, alleviates pain and, by acting directly, it destroys most microorganisms. So, the sprays and oils need to be applied regularly, and no food or drink should be ingested after application for at least 15 minutes. Read more about bee glue in our blog post What is propolis, what benefits does it offer and how should we consume it?

 

6. Strengthen everything else

As viruses run rampant, everyone is constantly talking about strengthening the immune system. However, a strong immune system is impossible without having a strong digestive and nervous system. In order to strengthen the body, we need to provide it with beneficial vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. The bee products that work best for this purpose are organic honey, pollen, bee bread and royal jelly.

The consumption of royal jelly is recommended before the first symptoms of illness are even felt or after the acute phase, and only for those who do not suffer from high blood pressure. For a stretch of 14 days, 75 mg of royal jelly should be consumed twice a day (before noon) by dissolving it slowly in the mouth. A break in consumption should follow this period of 14 days.

If you’re consuming bee pollen, have 2–3 teaspoons, and if you’re consuming bee bread, have 1–2 teaspoons, once a day. Consume one or the other of these products for 2–4 weeks, after which you can switch to the other product. They can be slowly chewed or dissolved in the mouth or dissolved in some warm water and ingested as a drink. A glass of warm water will help absorb the beneficial nutrients. Find everything you need to make yourself a morning drink.

Consuming 1–2 spoonfuls of honey a day is also recommended. Consume even more if you are ill This can easily be done by replacing sugar with honey or by consuming honey with various beneficial spice mixes, berries (especially cowberries and cranberries), horseradish or even garlic.

7. Take care of yourself all the time

bee productsThe best way to guarantee that all health-promoting, body-cleansing, immune-boosting and otherwise-bettering supplements work is to consume them systematically. No matter whether you’re consuming bee products, vitamins from the pharmacy, herbal teas or lemon juice. Natural health-promoting products only work if they are consumed for a sufficiently long period of time. This is why the recommended consumption period for bee products is 2–4 weeks. Honey can be consumed without interruption.

In the colder months, bee products should be consumed both externally and internally by combining the use of propolis and bee bread or bee pollen and not forgetting propolis sprays. They are a reinforcement for our first line of defence.

That concludes our advice for strengthening your immune system the natural way. All of our tips on the consumption of bee products are based on the Lithuanian Apitherapy Association’s recommendations for those who wish to use bee products to maintain their health, youth and happiness. Consumption recommendations are for people from 15 to 75 years of age, who have already tried bee products and have no allergy to them. If you haven’t tried bee products before, begin with small amounts and observe your body. If you suffer from chronic illness, please consult with your doctor about consuming bee products.

 

Let’s stay healthy and happy!

 

Our bee products for your immune system:

Bee pollen

2.156.20

Bee bread

2.7014.80

Royal jelly-enriched honey

Original price was: €29.70.Current price is: €25.80.

 

Sources:

  • Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Haack, M. (2019). The Sleep-Immune Crosstalk in Health and Disease. Physiological reviews, 99(3), 1325–1380. https://doi.org/10.1152/physrev.00010.2018
  • Nieman, D., & Wentz, L.M. (2019). The compelling link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 8, 201 – 217.

 

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