GTPulse: Staying Healthy With Natural, Local Products

It’s never a bad idea to take steps to strengthen your immune system in any season, but now is a particularly good time for it. With allergy season here and people getting out of their homes for the first time in a while, taking care to look after your immunity will help you feel good about yourself in more ways than one. 

Of course, nothing will prevent you from catching COVID-19 besides taking measures to socially distance, keeping your hands to yourself, and staying out of contact with high traffic public areas and surfaces as much as possible. But some holistic wellness products have dedicated users that supplement their diet with natural berries, herbs and honey that have immune-supportive benefits.

Heather Martin from HNM Wellness uses natural products in her everyday life as well as stocks the shelves of her downtown Traverse City store with them. The wellness store is a year old and initially opened to house her husband’s CBD products.

“I was like, well we can’t have just CBD in there that’s boring. So I just wanted to have good-for-you things here. Even buying a cheap candle, everything you’re burning in that wax is going into your air and you’re breathing it in. Chemicals, fillers, all that stuff.”

So, she cultivated a variety of different natural products, most of them being locally made.

“Everything in here is small-batch, handmade, local.”

She has some favorite ways to keep her immune system happy during the cold, flu and allergy season.

  • Local honey has long been touted as an easy and natural way to build up the body’s defenses against allergens in the air. The idea is that local bees collect pollen, and that same pollen that ends up in the honey they produce is the same pollen that you’re exposed to when you go outside. “Raw honey from where you live is what you want. Yeah you can go into a grocery store and buy raw honey but most of it isn’t from where you live,” Heather said. The effectiveness of whether this helps allergies or not has been debated, but only because of the varying strengths of pollen found in different local honey. The more pollen found in local honey, the more significant the allergy reducing effects. 


  • Elderberries are small, dark purple berries found on the Sambucas tree. The raw berries are poisonous, but the cooked berries have been a centuries-long favorite remedy of Native American, Egyptian and European herbalists for cold, flu, and even acne. Several studies have shown the berry to reduce symptoms and the number of days with symptoms in people who were sick with the common cold. “I use TC Elderberry. It’s local, it’s created by a local mama who’s doing her thing. We use it in our household every day. We’ll switch in the wintertime to the kicked-up flu season blend, this time of year we just started taking the allergy blend.”


  • 12 of the 250 essential oils have antibacterial effects and can be a natural alternative to freshening and disinfecting the air in your home. Eucalyptus and Tea Tree essential oils have proven antibacterial and antiviral effects. They can be diffused into the air with other antibacterial oils like lemongrass and cinnamon bark in place of chemical-laden room fresheners, and also to relieve allergy symptoms. “My daughter has really bad allergies and she had a massive headache from it the other day. I took a hot washcloth, put eucalyptus essential oil on it and put it over her face, put a peppermint respiratory blend in the diffuser, and she felt great.”


Like any other medicine, it’s best to check with your doctor to see what works best for you and to check any interactions a natural supplement could have with medications you’re already taking. Staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep and vitamin D are all a part of maintaining a strong immune system, but a little extra help never hurts. Stay healthy.

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Categories: GTPulse