5 minute read


Words & Recipes By Chef Vanna Rasmusen @cookwithvanna

October 13 2021


Every culture has THAT recipe. The one jotted down from grandmother to mother, to administer to a loved one who needs an immunity boost. Not all magic potions include eyeballs and goat blood, most are made of powerful, and easily accessible, plant-based materials. Ones of which are highly likely to be found in the pantries of holistic “healers” and well-informed health enthusiasts, aka the Modern-Day Witch.

This is not hocus pocus, this tangible collection of ingredients possess the power to exercise the inner workings of our being to prevail against what ails us. With this knowledge, any Jane Doe can transform into a powerful potion-mixing sorceress and coax the immune system to perform miracles.

Our Immune System is an around-the-clock orchestration of proteins, organs and special cells working synergistically to fight microscopic battles inside our bodies. This intricate system is responsible for reconfiguring the foods we eat to build an invisible army against all the tiny invaders our bodies encounter on a daily basis. In this day and age, it is up to us to educate ourselves on how to properly empower this system of warriors with the best tools and conditions to combat the unwanted critters and thrive. Let’s identify these immunity enhancers and divulge some sacred potions, developed to protect our vibrancy.


Aka ascorbic acid, is a water soluble nutrient renowned for its effectiveness in supporting the Immune System. In addition, it helps protect the body from free radicals that damage healthy cells and defends against illness. Our body does not produce or store Vitamin C, therefore, we need to consume it on the daily. Foods ranking highest in Vitamin C content include: citrus, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, and papaya.





known best for its power to reduce inflammation and nausea. Containing over 25 different antioxidant properties effective in fighting many varieties of free radicals throughout the body. This root has been sold and exchanged along the spice routes in ancient times and used for healing in the chamber of royalty.


a vibrant root bright orange in color. This “golden spice” dates back 4000 years to southeast Asia. Over 100 components have been isolated from turmeric. Known for its effectiveness in joint health, respiratory ease, abdominal issues and wound healing. This root can be eaten, made into a tincture or even applied directly on the skin.


our stinky friend, wards off bacteria and viruses with its heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, like allicin. These compounds are also the catalyst for zinc absorption, another immune boosting trace mineral. In addition to increasing the libido by enhancing the blood flow in the nether regions, it also works to reduce stress hormones, and in turn, alkalize the body, creating an environment less likely to breed bad cells. Use with caution as high consumption can thin the blood and cause an upset stomach for some people. For most, there are no unpleasant side effects that a mint cannot resolve.


Wild growing Reishi Mushroom

Wild growing Reishi Mushroom

Used by Mother Nature to balance the ecosystem, and used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, to improve the terrain inside the human frame. Offering a wide range of brain, immune and energy benefits, mushrooms are the most biodiverse plant medicine. Regarding Immune Health, Reishi Mushrooms are most revered. Often called “Lingzhi”, translating into: Mushroom of Mortality. These wood-like mushrooms grow in planks off tree trunks and can be found in powdered or extract form. Other immune enhancing mushrooms include; Chaga for its high concentration of zinc and stimulation of white blood cell production and Maitake know to address mental stress/fatigue and stimulate T cells. When selecting a supplement, look for ones made of the “fruiting body” and avoid ones made from “mycelium” as it is less potent. For more information from an expert, please research Paul Stamets’ TED talks and website: www.fungi.com


While it is best to have nutrients delivered in a natural form, some supplements such as Vitamin C, Zinc and D3 may be helpful in assisting you in your journey to optimum immunity. Please check with your doctor to see what amounts are recommended for you, as everyone is different.

Needless to say, the best way to protect yourself from the inside out is to live an active lifestyle, fueled with a variety of fresh plant-based foods, and balanced with adequate sleep and stress reducing routines. However, all of us experience those days when we can feel vulnerable against the billions of pathogens in and around us. If you sense this on the horizon, its time to summon your inner witch and head to the kitchen to conjure up some natural remedies.


Juice of 4 lemons

4 inches of fresh shredded ginger

2 inches of fresh shredded turmeric

1 tsp. cayenne pepper powder

1 tbs. honey

2 cups of hot water

Wearing gloves and using a grater, process the ginger and turmeric. Gather the shreds you’re your hand, squeeze them into a glass bowl to extract all the juices, and discard of the pulp. Juice the lemons into the mixture, then add the other ingredients and steep for 10 minutes. Whisk and distribute into 4 portions or keep in the fridge for immunity shots. Shelf life: 7 Days.


1 cup olive oil

10 fresh garlic cloves

1 lemon juiced

1 tbsp. sea salt

In a food processor or blender mince the garlic, add the lemon juice and salt, then very slowly drizzle in the olive oil over a 2-minute period while the ingredients are being combined. You will find the mixture to become very creamy and luscious. This can be used as a spread or the base of a soup, dressing or dip. Keep refrigerated, in a sealed container for up to 30 days.


1 tbsp grapeseed/avocado oil

1 yellow onion diced

6 garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp fresh grated ginger

2 carrots sliced

2 cups cremini mushrooms sliced

2 cups of rehydrated maitake or shitake mushrooms diced

4 cups of water

1 can of coconut cream

¼ cup miso paste

1 tbs. Chinese 5 spice and thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with cilantro

Preheat a medium sized pot and add the onions, garlic, ginger and oil to sauté. Add in all the other ingredients, mix, cover and reduce to medium heat for 20 minutes. Serves 6.