Boosting Your Child’s Immune System

Our immune systems are a complex web of protective processes that help our bodies fight off viruses and bacteria, among other pathogens.  A child’s immune system from birth to about age 10, is still developing.  In order for the immune system to function properly, it does actually have to come across those viruses and bacteria from time to time.  So it is not unreasonable for to children to catch the colds and flus that come around at this time of year. 

We, of course, want your children to stay as healthy as possible and fight off those viruses and bacteria that they do come across with as little problems as possible.  If a child is sick frequently, it is worth having them checked out by your family doctor, just to make sure there isn’t some underlying reason for it that is beyond the normal expectations for that developing immune system.  If all is well and you want to boost the immune system naturally, I generally recommend some good probiotic supplements, a daily dose of cod liver oil and the following herbal formula:


  • Astragalus membranaceous glycerite (Astragalus root): 40 ml
  • Sambucus nigra glycerite (Elderberry fruit): 20 ml
  • Galium aparine glycerite (Cleavers –whole herb): 15 ml
  • Echinacea angustifolium glycerite (Echinacea root) 10ml
  • Cinnamonum aromaticum (Cinnamon bark) tincture: 10 ml
  • Schisandra chinensis (Schisandra glycerite): 20 ml

Most of these can be found in tincture or glycerite form over the counter at any natural food store.  It is okay to have a mixture of tinctures and glycerites using the same amounts listed, as long as you have at least 2 glycerites to help with the taste.

There are some substitutes that will work if you have trouble finding any of these.  Calendula officinalis tincture or glycerite will work fine in place of Galium (Cleavers). Hibiscus or Rosa (Rose petal) tincture or glycerites also works nicely in place of Schisandra if need be.

The dose for this formula is usually ½ tsp daily for ages 6m-1 year; 1-2 tsp daily for 1-2 years and 2tsp- 1Tbsp daily for 2-18 years of age.

I sometimes just give kids goji berries or dried rose hips for a snack.  Each are packed with immune boosting antioxidants, anthocyanidins and vitamin C.  You can also reconfigure the above formula into a tea if the child might like it that way. The proportions for the tea version are as follows:

  • Astragalus root 2 tsp (or 1-2 sticks)
  • Elderberry fruit 2 -3 tsp.
  • Cleavers herb or Calendula flower 2 tsp.
  • Cinnamon bark (not powder) 1 tsp.
  • Hibiscus flower or dried Rose hips 2 tsp.

This is per 1.5 cups of water, bring to a boil and turn off heat and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Strain and drink 1 cup a day, add quality local honey if desired.

Article by Dr. Sheila Kingsbury, ND, RH (AHS)

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