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One’s immunity for next winter starts many months prior, in the spring and summer. According to Ayurveda, this is accomplished quite effortlessly by eating in line with each seasonal harvest. In short, nature’s prescription for optimal health, longevity and immunity starts right now, so don’t miss out!
While nature offers a cornucopia of foods with its spring and summer harvest to boost immunity, according to Ayurveda there is one herb that is harvested each spring and summer that folks depended on to create the intestinal environment for great digestion and healthy immunity.
This herb was so successful that the local folks actually called it the village pharmacy because of its ability to support so many organs and organ systems of the body. Interestingly, when you investigate the mechanism for all these benefits, this herb each spring and summer prepares the environment of the gut to support healthy intestinal flora and the optimal function of the intestinal skin, villi and lymph. It is here that researchers believe lies 80% of the body’s immunity.
Keep reading to learn how to start building immunity now and, if you miss out, how you can mimic spring’s immune-building process any time of the year with just one herb.
Cultivating Immunity in the Detox Season
80% of our immunity is in the digestive tract, where the intestinal lacteals meet the gut-associated lymphatic tissue (GALT). I often refer to this point of connection as the “inner skin of the gut.” That means that keeping the digestion a well-oiled machine is the golden key to immunity. But how do we begin?
Let’s begin in nature’s New Year, the spring. While the winter has seen us pig out on way too much holiday food, come spring the rules change. We can no longer get away with eating the high fat, high protein foods that were so beneficial to us in winter.
Spring brings us a detoxifying harvest, including the surface roots dandelion, goldenseal, Oregon grape, burdock, turmeric and more, which literally scrub the intestinal villi of the excess rich, heavy, mucous-producing and insulating foods of winter.
Fresh green sprouts and microgreens are loaded with chlorophyll, which helps fertilize the good bacteria of the intestinal tract and villi, functioning as nature’s pro-biotic. At the end of spring, the berries and cherries are loaded with lymphatic cleansing agents that support antioxidant activity.
If these villi are not scrubbed, cleansed and fertilized each spring then a percentage of immune function will be lost, potentially resulting in a weakened immunity the following winter.
Missed the Boat on Spring Cleaning?
If this spring cleaning is not accomplished with either a strict seasonal diet or a seasonal cleanse found in our Colorado Cleanse or free Short Home Cleanse e-book, then the intestinal villi may slowly be dried out by the heat and dryness of summer.
If you missed the boat on a strict seasonal diet this spring, all is not lost. A seasonal detox can still be done later in the summer, or any time of year, as long as the appropriate seasonal foods are incorporated before and after the cleanse.
Additionally, the Ayurvedic herb below has been used for thousands of years to accomplish a digestion-associated kick start for the immunity.
Neem: The Village Pharmacy
In India, Australia and many other eastern countries, there grows a large tree whose leaves have been nicknamed “the village pharmacy” because they support so many of the body’s health issues.
Azadirachta Indica, also called Neem, is a broad leaf tree that is mostly evergreen except in severe drought conditions. While the leaves, bark, branches, flowers, fruits and seeds of this tree are all used to address different health concerns, the leaves and seeds are considered the most powerful.
What does neem have to offer immunity? Incredibly, neem leaves have the ability to perform the same function of scrubbing, cleansing and fertilizing the intestinal wall that the bitter roots, greens and berries accomplish each spring.
Each spring, in March and April, it was traditional to harvest and eat the leaves of the neem tree to support overall health, well-being and immunity. It was also said that eating the leaves in the months just before spring (January and February) would jump start immunity and that the benefits would last a full year.
Queen of the Skin
One of neem’s greatest claims to fame is its powerful support for a healthy complexion. Generally, the leaves, fruit and seeds were eaten all spring and summer to support the appearance of the skin, earning it the nickname, “Queen of the Skin.”
The little known truth is that neem supports the outer skin by supporting the inner skin. The skin that lines the gut wall, where 80% of the immunity lies, is the most important skin of the body. It is here that neem’s benefits are the most dramatic. It is said that 80% of the skins outer appearance relies on the health of the skin lining the intestinal wall.
By creating a healthy intestinal environment each spring and summer, neem allows for the healthy proliferation of the good microbes of the gut. The more we establish a healthy microbial environment in the spring and summer the better the gut can perform as your first defense against undesirable bugs and toxins that commonly move through the gut.
One could say that optimal health is all about the skin. I am talking about the skin that is both on the outside and inside of us. But new research is telling us that the skin on both the inside and outside of the body is the home of trillions of microbes that support optimal health. Understanding how to nurture those good bugs is the key to healthy inner skin and a healthy immune system.
It is also great for the appearance and complexion of the outer skin!
Neem is a scrub for the intestinal villi. It is a natural support to cleansing and detoxing the blood, skin and liver. It also supports the growth of good intestinal bacteria without supporting the growth of the bad intestinal bacteria. Finally, it acts as a natural blood and lymph mover, making sure of the removal of toxins and the optimal circulation of the immune system’s warriors, the white blood cells.
Consider neem, cleansing or a seasonal diet as a natural reset for the immune system each spring and summer.
Herbal Profile: Neem
Dosha: Reduces pitta and kapha, increases vata