Dietary advice for Winter Health

It has been proven time and time again, that people who have higher levels of Vitamin C intake catch less colds and flu. While you can take a vitamin supplement there are many good sources of Vitamin C in foods. Oranges are known to have Vitamin C but many berries have much higher levels. Berries also include protective antioxidants. 

Good berries to include in your diet are blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and where possible wild berries from sources such as sea buckthorn juice, rowan jelly, elderberry syrup. 

Elderberry syrup is worth a special mention. It was monitored in a clinical trial during an outbreak of flu in Panama ( Zakay-Rones et al, 1995). Patients taking elderberry syrup were two thirds less likely to catch flu. Of the third that did, the symptoms were two thirds less severe and the duration of the illness was two thirds shorted than patients who did not take elderberry. Elderberries are also available as elderberry jam, elderberry wine and elderberry juice. 

Keeping well hydrated also helps to keep your immunity in tip top condition. So drink plenty of water.

 Caffeine has a dehydrating effect so cut down on tea, coffee and energy drinks. 

Garlic, onions, leeks, chives are all members of the onion family and contain natural antibiotic, antibacterial, antiseptic and anti fungal properties. Boost the amount of these you consume in the winter, especially in soups. 

Culinary herbs like thyme, rosemary also have antiviral properties and can be used liberally in cooking and also in winter herbal teas.


Zakay-Rones Z, Varsano N, Zlotnik M, Manor O, Regev L, Schlesinger M, Mumcuoglu M. (1995) Inhibition of several strains of influenza virus in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L.) during an outbreak of influenza B Panama. J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Winter;1(4):361-9.

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Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia and E. purpurea) is a familiar herb to boost the immune system to combat viruses.

Don't struggle alone

If you have chronic health problems, we advise you to see a medical herbalist at Napiers or through the  National Institute of Medical Herbalists


Both elderflowers and elderberries (Sambucus nigra) exhibit antiviral properties.

Withania Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania somifera) is also known as the Winter Cherry. It helps to support the adrenal system when run down or fatigued.

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