Feeling the chill of winter dragging you down? Whip up our easy immune booster stock to give your body the extra help it needs using a natural, organic approach. Not only does this stock make the perfect delicious meal base (and is vegan-friendly!), each of the herbs used here has significant antimicrobial, diaphoretic or anti-inflammatory actions, making this a powerful immune system booster! I'm sure most of us have memories of soup making us feel better as kids - the better the stock, the more potent the result! This stock could be made from any leftover herbs you have in your kitchen for a tasty meal starter, but for a potent pick-me-up we recommend using the following ingredients: Astragalus Known for enhancing immune function, astragalus is essential for fighting that common cold! It does this via stimulation of monocytes and macrophages, T-cell activity, and interferon production, which is pretty impressive for a humble herb! If you're having trouble sourcing it, try having a look in Chinese herbal or grocery stores. Garlic Containing a powerful compound called Allicin (which is also what gives it that strong smell), studies have shown it to reduce your chance of getting a cold by 63%, as well as greatly reducing common symptoms. It directly stimulates the immune system to fight against viruses and is strongly antimicrobial, making it very popular throughout the winter months. Rosemary Used since ancient times, rosemary is known to fight fevers and boost immunity against respiratory infections. Rich in antioxidants, it can also relieve muscle pain, improve digestion and act as an anti-inflammatory. Blending well with most flavour palettes, this is a delicious and effective additive to any meal. Thyme Often used as a natural cough remedy, the oils contained within the leaves are extremely potent and packed with vitamin C and A, as well as copper, fibre, iron and manganese. It is also a well known antiseptic, allowing it to fight chesty and bacterial infections. Sage From the same family as rosemary, sage has great anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory actions, as well as containing a mixture of oils that prevent oxygen-based damage to your cells. Astringent, antibacterial and full of vitamin K, its useful in cases of tonsillitis, bronchitis and bacterial pneumonia. Oregano Currently enjoying a significant increase in popularity, oregano is highly antibacterial against Staphylococcus strain bacteria as well as Salmonella and E. coli. With immune stimulating properties, it can also assist with toothache, headaches and muscle pain. Tumeric Over six thousand peer-reviewed articles exist about the powerful healing properties of this famous bright yellow spice! Able to assist with many different maladies, it is a highly effective anti-inflammatory and digestive aid, and rich in anti-oxidants. The positive aspects of tumeric can sometimes be difficult for the body to absorb, we recommend combing it with black pepper, which is reported to increase absorption by up to 2000%. Cooking Method Add large handfuls of each fresh herb, 3 gloves of fresh minced garlic, one tablespoon of turmeric and a generous pinch of black pepper to approximately 4 litres of water. Bring to the boil, and then let it simmer for about 45 minutes, or when the liquid has reduced by 1/4. Strain thoroughly, and either drink it on its own or use as a delicious meal base!