Strengthen immune defense: The best tips from experts

The Kneipp physician, Dr. med. Hans-Jörg Ohlert, chief physician of the Sebastianum and Kneippianum Bad Wörishofen

© Credit: Wackerhausen / iStockphoto

Regular cold water applications, such as pouring and washing, can significantly reduce the susceptibility to infections. They stimulate an increase of the defense cells in the blood. In addition, they improve the circulation of the nasal and pharyngeal mucous membranes. This makes the "mucosal barrier" more effective, pathogens have a harder time penetrating the body. It is important to start early with the "hardening", not only when the first colds are rampant. The cold stimuli should be increased slowly to get used to it. So you can turn down the water temperature after the warm shower as far as it is still pleasant, and with the colder jet at first only break off the legs. Over time, the temperature is lowered further, and the whole body gets a cold cast. Cold and warm foot and arm baths are also effective alternately. And daily walks in any weather, in the fall and winter because of the light best around noon.

The biochemistry expert, Margit Müller-Frahling, Head of the Institute of Biochemistry (Dr. Schuessler

To strengthen the immune system is an immune-building cure. In each case for four to six weeks suck out 5 to 7 tablets of the Schüßler salts No. 3 Ferrum phosphoricum D12, No. 8 sodium chloratum D6, No. 10 sodium sulfuricum D6 and No. 21 Zincum chloratum D6 distributed over the day. If necessary, the intake can be continued throughout the fall and winter. The most important immune system tonic is salt # 3. In an acute infection, one tablet can be taken every five minutes. Salt No. 8 strengthens the mucous membranes and protects them from dehydration. # 10 supports the elimination and detoxifying function of the liver. And No. 21 not only stabilizes the immune, but also the nervous and hormonal systems. In addition to this Immunkur, the skin should be regularly creamed with biochemical lotion no. 1 in the cold season. This makes them more resistant and supports their resilience.

The immunologist, Professor Roland Lang, Institute for Clinical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene of the University of Erlangen

To strengthen the immune system much is offered. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of most measures, foods and preparations is not or only poorly documented. It is better to avoid anything that can weaken the body's resistance: stress, too little sleep, smoking, too much alcohol. Also important are hygiene measures. Cold and flu viruses are often transmitted by smear infections. Regular hand washing is proven to protect. Antibiotics do not work against viruses and should definitely not be used in a simple cold. Vaccinations let the immune system exercise the emergency and build up a protective memory against bacterial and viral pathogens. Although there is no vaccine that protects against colds. But vaccinations are an effective protective measure against a number of serious infectious diseases, for example, against the flu, influenza.

The immune system needs training all the time. Only then can it protect against diseases

The influenza virus changes from year to year. It must therefore be vaccinated annually so far with an inactivated mixture of the current influenza strains. The flu vaccine is recommended as a standard for those over 60 years of age, for people with a particular health risk such as immune deficiency, chronic respiratory, circulatory, hepatic and renal diseases. Older people are advised by STIKO, the Standing Vaccination Commission at the Robert Koch Institute, as well as a one-off vaccination against pneumococci, the most common bacterial agents of pneumonia. If you have children in your area, you should check the vaccine against pertussis (pertussis).

The Complementary Physician, Dr. med. Michael Elis, specialist in general medicine, naturopathy and homeopathy

Naturopathy knows a number of phytonutrients that affect the body's defense, so-called immune modulators. For example, they increase the activity of the phagocytes. In this sense, congratulatory tea is suitable at the beginning of the cold season. If you drink a cup three times a day (one teaspoon of herb per cup, let it steep for five minutes), you will get fewer respiratory infections. Also, for the general prevention of infections, medicines with coneflower (Echinacea) are applied naturopathic. Other preparations include, for example, extracts from the Cape Pelargonium (Umckaloabo), Taiga or Ginseng root.For all plant immunomodulators: They are particularly effective in a beginning infection and should not be used too long, otherwise they can weaken the immune system. Also important: Herbal remedies may cause hypersensitivity and allergic reactions. My personal tip: When you first scratch your neck, it often helps to drink a glass of cold water before going to bed. In response to the cold stimulus, the circulation is activated and generates heat internally, the immune system starts. More information at

The Anthroposophist, Dr. Tobias Sprenger, specialist in general medicine and medical director of the Villavita day hospital for holistic medicine Cologne

Anthroposophic medicine assumes that physical, mental and spiritual aspects are equally important for a person's health. On a physical level, a balanced heat organism is a prerequisite for a well-functioning immune system. Protect appropriate footwear, jackets and caps. For cold hands and feet, a mustard flour footbath helps. Add a handful of mustard flour (from the pharmacy) to warm water and put your feet in it for five minutes, then put on wool socks. The soul also wants to be "warmed up". Joyful experience, deep emotional relationships and a good mental hygiene strengthen the life and defenses as well as a lifestyle in the rhythm of days, months and seasons. Meditation has a balancing effect and, as research has shown, promotes the immune response to pathogens. If there is still a flu infection, one should not suppress any fever, especially in the early stages of the disease. Anthroposophic drops with potentiated phosphorus have a regulating effect. Health is not manifested in never getting sick, but in the ability to keep getting well. Every cold is like training for the immune system. After all, we need resistance and illness to become stronger.

The nutritionist,

Elke Männle, health trainer at the Verband für Unabhängige Gesundheitsberatung e. V. (UGB, and partner in the Healthy Nutrition Network (

A natural, varied and balanced diet ensures that immune cells are produced in sufficient quantities. In particular, fruits, vegetables, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, herbs, nuts and seeds, as well as vitamins and fiber, are important phytochemicals. These bioactive substances activate the immune system, repel invaders, prevent the growth of bacteria and relieve inflammation. About 400 grams of vegetables and 250 grams of fruit are enough daily. This is equivalent to two handfuls of fruit or vegetables, a portion of salad and a warm vegetable dish. It is good to eat fruits and vegetables more often unheated than fresh food, for example as raw salad, vegetable sticks or pureed fruit smoothie. Especially in garlic, onions and leeks sulfur compounds, Sul-fide, kill the bacteria and viruses and increase the activity of killer cells. A small spoonful of honey or a glass of milk help against unpleasant bad breath. Ideal additions in winter are sprouts that you can pull yourself. Also important: consume daily live lactobacilli from raw sauerkraut, yoghurt, sour milk and other sour milk products for a healthy intestinal flora and drink 1.5 liters to keep the mucous membranes moist and promote blood circulation.

The Immune System (December 2020).

Prevention, immune system, infection, food, immune system, immune defense, cold