Natural immune support for adults + kids (bonus elderberry gummies recipe)


Cold season, the flu, and now the dreaded coronavirus. Many of us worry to some degree about falling ill in the winter every year, especially during the bridge between seasons when the weather swings unpredictably from cold to warm.

And with the onset of every potential pandemic, we worry even more.

Our first line of defense from any virus? A healthy, robust immune system.

Take simple, sensible actions to support a healthy immune response, and reduce your risk (and fears) for whatever bugs you might be exposed to. With regards to fear, I encourage you to not fall into the fear cycles perpetuated by an overzealous media. Weigh the actual risks, not the hype. Then get busy shoring up your immune system with some simple, tried-and-true tricks that can make all the difference in helping you stay healthy and strong.

Support a healthy immune system

Follow the six tips below for your healthiest immune system yet. Then talk to your holistic health care provider or family doctor for even more solid options to better health, and to ensure that the options below are a match for your family and your existing health conditions.

One Small Step toward sustainability: swap plastic bottles of soap for bars.

1.Wash those hands!

Sometimes the simplest tricks are the most effective. Your first line of defense to keep bugs out and good health in? Proper hand-washing, especially when you’re out-and-about.

Pro tip: My daughter and I carry a small bar of LüSa Organics soap in our bags whenever we go out, so that we don’t have to use the fragrance-drenched detergent in public bathrooms. We’re sure to practice better hand-washing if we have soap with us that won’t scent our skin or give us a fragrance oil-induced headache.


2. De-stress + rest

High stress often translates to a suppressed immune response. Support your body, mind, and spirit with plenty of sleep, and by managing your stress.

3. Upgrade your diet

Reduce sugar intake, and boost your consumption of healthy veggies and proteins. These steps benefit more than just our immune system, and can lead us to greater health for bones, teeth, gut, and brain. You’ve got nothing to lose making this (relatively simple) shift.

What is the best education for your child? The answer might surprise you. #education #homeschooling #school #parenting

4. Check your D levels

Vitamin D3 is critical for a spunky immune response. Check your levels and supplement with a natural source, like fermented cod liver oil.

5. Oh, Mg

Look into topical magnesium (I offer my own version here), which can help support healthy sleep cycles and a healthy immune response.


6. Herbs for the win

Bring on the immune-supporting herbs! From a daily shot of homemade fire cider to spiking your chai with astragalus, or adding medicinal mushrooms (like rishi + shitake) alongside aromatic herbs in your bone broth, there are a plethora of simple herbal ways to support your immune system.

Which herbs are a great place to begin your research to see if they’re a match for your family? A handful of my favorites include:

  • Astragalus
  • Echinacea
  • Usnea
  • Chaga
  • Rishi
  • Shitake
  • Rosehip
  • White Pine
  • Elderberry


Elderberry love

One of our very favorite immune-supporting herbal remedies is elderberry. It’s is one of the ten herbs I feature in-depth in my beginner’s herbal book, Herbal Adventures. With tips on using foraged/fresh berries or purchased/dried, there are recipes within these pages to savor throughout the year.


Whether you choose homemade our boughten elderberry tinctures, elixirs, teas, syrups, or gummies, there is a plethora of excellent options to incorporating this immune-supporting powerhouse into your winter and spring routine.

Want to get started making your own kid-approved elderberry gummies? Then turn to chapter 4 in Herbal Adventures. Don’t have your own copy yet? There’s  another way to try my recipe! (Read on.)

Sage: edit needed

I was honored last week to have Kelly from Primally Inspired share her love of Herbal Adventures (and my elderberry gummies recipe) on her blog.

Click here for both her feedback on my book and my recipe! Then get to work boosting your (and your children’s) immune systems.

Be well, friends.


What are your family’s favorite natural immune boosters? Add them in the comments below!


14 thoughts on “Natural immune support for adults + kids (bonus elderberry gummies recipe)

    • Rachel Wolf says:

      I have tried a variety of solutions, including an reused plastic zip bag and a travel soap dish. My favorite is an old, repurposed screw top plastic jar (the kind we used to sell our sugar scrubs in). To prevent leaks in something that isn’t water-tight, simply blot off the bar before storing.

  1. Jenn G says:

    I made elderberry tincture but my kids whine about taking it. Can I use it for gummies or will the alcohol in the tincture mess up the recipe?

    • Rachel Wolf says:

      I suggest saving the tincture for yourself, and starting with the regular gummy recipe for the kids. If you decide you want to add tincture, you certainly can add some to make your gummies even more potent. I suggest adding 1 to 2 tsp per batch if you decide to go this route. Enjoy!

  2. Kathleen says:

    I am such a sleep evangelist and think getting lots of sleep is one of the best things we can do for our immune system. Along the same lines, we try hard to make sure our kids have a lot of downtime when they are not in school. I also do keep a few bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in my car, in my bag, etc. for those times when washing hands with soap and water is not an option (e.g. our local library is currently remodeling their bathrooms so I put some hand sanitizer on my hands when we left the library yesterday since their bathrooms were closed). I also have elderberry syrup in the fridge, along with your elecampane syrup, which has been so, so helpful to my family and my parents when we’ve gotten colds, especially helping us get to sleep and not be coughing all night long. My mom used to get in a cycle of getting a cold, not being able to sleep well, not getting better because she wasn’t getting enough sleep, etc. and that elecampane syrup has been a real game-changer for her because now she can sleep and heals so much faster. Thanks for all this great info!

    • Rachel Wolf says:

      I adore the notion of being a “sleep evangelist”. And yes to downtime! It’s so important for body and mind. And I’m glad to know that the elecampane syrup has been as magical for you as it has been for us!

  3. Paola says:

    Thank you so much for this. I will be traveling with my two girls from Colombia to Canada and my mom is quite anxious so unfortunately I’m absorbing some of that. Sigh. I love the soap idea. Any other tips for airports and airplanes? I can’t imagine wearing a mask all day long and let along my 5 yo daughter.

    • Rachel Wolf says:

      I have read that wiping down your airplane arm rests and seat can be important, and doing herbs to support your immune system before departure as well. I supplemented my family with immune-supporting herbs on the week leading up to our recent international trip, and continued taking our remedies for the first week after arrival. Not a cold or flu among us! Have an amazing time.

    • Theresa says:

      Hi, I am so excited to make your elderberry gummies with my littles, but am new to using gelatin. Can you please tell me how to get 1/4 cup of gelatin using sheet gelatin? Please and thank you.

      • Rachel Wolf says:

        Hi Theresa. The conversion for sheet gelatin is 1 tbsp = 3 sheets. As 1/4 cup = 4 tbsp, so it looks like 12 sheets will do the trick!

  4. Adriane says:

    I have fresh frozen elderberries that I harvested last summer, should I alter the amount I use for these gummies?
    Thanks for your helpful timely recipe.

    • Rachel Wolf says:

      Hi Adriane. The gummies tend to e a bit watery if made with fresh berries, even if you up the amount (the normal increase from dried to fresh is 3X, though I find with elder this isn’t enough, and go closer to a 4X increase. Give them a try, and let me know how they turn out. If they are a bit watery, you could always add a bit of cherry juice concentrate to boost the flavor and make them more palatable.

      • Adriane says:

        Well, good! I made them last night with 3x (just kinda going off the colour) but will do them again tonight with 4x. I also added three or four droppers of tincture. I boiled them down for a while on the cooktove so it got quite concentrated. We all love them so far! Thanks for your reply!

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