Health & Wellbeing

Looking After Yourself in these Trying Times

This article is all about looking after yourself and ways to improve your immune system. We share and link to a lot of resources and recipes. I hope you find much inspiration. Do share this post with others in your family and community. If you have other good resources to share you can do so in the comments below.


One kind word can change someone’s entire day or even the whole week. We need to look after one another in those troubling, uncertain times. Most of the time we don’t know what people go through, we don’t know their worries and struggles. A simple act of kindness can bring light to a dark day for someone in need and by giving love and kindness we receive love and kindness as well.

Hug your partner, your children and your close friends more than ever. When we hug and touch one another our bodies release “feel good” hormones. These hormones include oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin. Once the hormones are released into our bodies we experience feelings of happiness, relaxation, improve mood, and lower levels of depression. Isn’t all of this quite needed right now?


Getting vaccinated or not is a personal decision and we are sure you have done your research and decided one way or another. Risks and benefits need to be evaluated by each individual and we are sure you have made a decision that works for you.

We have to be very cautious with the vaccination of healthy children as the risk/benefit equation is out of balance, making the vaccination an unnecessary risk. It has become clear that the trial period is not completed until at least 2023 making the vaccination of children an experiment with unclear long term damages to ovaries in girls and heart issues in boys (read a scientific paper on the topic here: SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccination-Associated Myocarditis in Children Ages 12-17: A Stratified National Database Analysis).

I trust scientist on this matter and there is plenty of scientific data out there that shows that healthy children are at a very low risk to get complications from Covid (99.998% sounds pretty good to me). The NZ government is aware of those facts and publicly admits: “COVID-19 generally has mild effects in children and is rarely severe or fatal. Children and young adults who have COVID-19 will commonly have no symptoms or only mild respiratory symptoms, similar to a cold.” (straight from the government website, Jan 2022)

It’s a different scenario for immune-compromised children and again the risk-benefit equation needs to be evaluated here. I am talking only about healthy children.

The WHO advises: ” Who should not take the vaccine? People with a history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it. There are currently no efficacy or safety data for children below the age of 12 years. Until such data are available, individuals below 12 years of age should not be routinely vaccinated.” (source) So why is the NZ government going against WHO advise?

Dr Robert Malone is an American virologist and immunologist. His work has focused on mRNA technology and pharmaceuticals. Developing vaccines is his line of work, he should know what he is taking about, right?
Dr Robert Malone: “I can’t remember anytime in the history of the world when the adults insisted that the children be subjected to harm to protect the adults. (…) I would give my life for my children wouldn’t you?” I certainly would and I hope that you will do your research and evaluate the risks and benefits for your own babies.

Below a resource that may be helpful to you.
The risk for a healthy child to have complications when getting Covid is 0.002%, but the risks for serious side effects a healthy child can get after a jab with a mRNA vaccine is higher (see above scientific article). Listen to Dr Robert Malone to get an idea what risks we are exposing our kids by a vaccination without long term safety data.

You will find lots of supporting evidence to the above claims in regard to the vaccination of healthy children here:

For me it comes down to two issues: a) children usually get mildly sick from Covid, which we have seen over the past 2 years and b) there is no long-term data that the mRNA vaccine is safe for children for the age group from 5-12 years old. Just because a politician says that it is safe, does not make it safe.

I think no-one can really argue with that, but of course at the end of the day, you have to make your own risk/benefit assessment for your own children.


We have had many inquiries over the last couple of months from people with adverse reactions to the Covid-19 vaccine. While most people are fine, some experience fatigue, frequent nose bleeding, chest pain and brain fog to name a few.

We urge you to see your GP and let him/her know. Rest as much as possible, take time off from work, take vitamin C, supplemental zinc and quercetin. Zinc is an important mineral that among other functions, serves as a vital immune system builder. Quercetin is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory and is found in fruit and vegetables. It is a zinc ionophore and helps push zinc into the body’s cells. So keep up those apples, oranges, carrots, tomatoes and other garden vegetables.

We have compiled a few more ideas below to help you with adverse reactions and to keep you healthy this summer, but we do want to urge you to reach out to your GP if you are unwell.


Looking after yourself should be your priority right now. You want your immune system working optimally through this summer period.

Current media news, anger, fear, frustration are all having an effect on our bodies. We are in an constant “flight and fight” response. Clearing those emotions can be hard, but there is much you can do to support your health and mental well-being.

Immersing yourself in our beautiful native environment by doing a bush walk, doing meditation and yoga. Here is a free yoga sequence that you can do anytime at home to relax and unwind.

We have incorporated detox herbs into our day and are drinking a litre of nettle, cleavers, speedwell and dandelion water. The herbs are diuretic and remove excess water from our body, flushing out toxins in the process. Make sure to drink this in the early parts of the day so that you don’t need to get up at night for a wee.

Stinging nettle – an excellent detox herb widespread in gardens throughout New Zealalnd

Stinging nettle restores digestion, it is a blood cleanser and builder, boosts energy levels and is diuretic, which means it reduces excess water in the body. Nettle promotes liver and kidney health. With its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties it is a great treatment for allergies like hay fever, urinary tract infections and liver imbalances.
To make this detox water simply gather the fresh herbs, chop them and add them to a bowl.

Cleavers, stinging nettle, dandelion leaves and speedwell are freshly gathered and chopped roughly.

Cover with cold, unchlorinated water and let infuse overnight for 8-12 hours. Strain and drink as is, dilute if you find it too stong. We fill the infusion into glass bottles and store in the fridge for 2-3 days, drinking about 1 litre per person per day.

Here is more info about this topic: Detox your Body and Organs with Wild Spring Greens

Cold infusion of the herbs for 8-12 hours at room temperature draws out the goodness and healing properties from the herbs.


Gardening enhances your mood, keeps you physical fit and is utterly rewarding. It provides fresh vegetables for your dinner table and gets you outdoors on a regular basis. If you haven’t started a garden yet, there is no better time than right now.

We started gardening without much knowledge 12 years ago and we are now making a living through growing herbs, running workshops and providing food for our family. We found an urge to be self-sufficient when we started a family. Uncertain times, environmental disasters, food shortages, reducing food miles and reducing waste were our driving factors. We find it empowering to grow our own food year round and the produce from our garden made it very easy to navigate through lockdowns.

Many people have taken up gardening since the first Covid lockdown in May 2021. If you feel like you need some help then browse through our KoruKai blog for some interesting articles. We also share our regenerative gardening knowledge through our BioKai website and run workshops with people attending from all over Aotearoa.


We are so lucky in the Southern Hemisphere right now that we can spend time outside, enjoy the sunshine and fill up with vitamin D.

We make sure to expose as much skin as possible on a nice sunny day and refrain from using sunscreen in summer for at least 10-20 minutes (depending of time of day, avoiding the midday sun to cool down in the shade) to have maximum effect. Kids have no problem running around naked and I prefer to find a private corner and read a book while charging up.

Winter sunrise over Pigeon Bay from KoruKai Herb Farm invites for a sun salute.


Antiviral and lung supporting herbs are a great way to boost your immune system and to support your body through disease – be it common cold and flu or Covid, which behaves like a flu.

Thyme, sage, ginger, turmeric, elderberries, elecampane, marshmallow and licorice root are great herbs to grow in your garden and make remedies with. If you are unsure how to prepare some of those herbs, you can come and learn at our farm. We offer workshops in herbal medicine making.

We love this recipe for a Golden Turmeric Paste to make Golden Milk. We have taken the traditional recipe of Golden Milk and added in a few of our favorite immune supporting herbs like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, black pepper and cardamom, making this drink a powerful and delicious immune and anti-inflammatory tonic.

If you prefer over the counter products then have a look through our KoruKai web shop.

Our best selling product and all time customer favourite is the Health Elixir to give year-round and seasonal support for adults. We also manufacture Elderberry Syrup and Chest Ease for the kiddos.

Pressing elderberries to extract the juice is the base to make our Elderberry Syrup packed with anti-viral elderberries.
We pack 200g of elderberries into a 200ml bottle.

A range of herbal teas like Immune Boost Tea containing elderflowers, lemon balm, tulsi and lemon verbena and Lung Support Tea with hyssop, kanuka, mullein and thyme are also available with herbs grown on KoruKai Herb Farm.

Our popular KoruKai Lung Support Tea reduce inflammation, sooth irritated mucous membranes and create a productive cough.


With elderflowers in abundance this year we are making the most of it. We dry it for herbal teas and some of it is used to make a sparkling elderflower and lemon water kefir. It is so refreshing, delicious and packed with probiotics for gut health.

Elderflowers harvested in November at Korukai Herb Farm.

You need water kefir grains like those ones to make it. Water kefir grains are a one-time purchase and then you have it forever. Water kefir is a beautiful vegan, probiotic drink to benefit your digestive tract and is super refreshing for the summer ahead. Unlike kombucha it is without caffeine and kids can drink it. The flavour variations are endless.

A range of flavour combinations for water kefir. Photo:
Sparking Elderflower and Lemon

Simply add 7-10 elderflower heads (depending on size), juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 Tbsp of sugar to the second ferment (about 1 litre) after straining the kefir grains. Let infuse and ferment at room temperature for 24 hours.
Strain the flowers and add the kefir water to a well sealing bottle to build up the fizz. Enjoy the elderflower fizz on ice. You can also make elderflower cordial and add some of that to the second ferment.


We recommend to check out Wanaka Health Bridge. Wanaka Health Bridge is a collective of individuals from the Wanaka community. It consists of GP, herbalist, naturopath, pharmacist, nutritionist, chiropractor and pilates instructors.. They are bringing together their own specialist health and wellbeing knowledge on the website. It is open for everyone not just the Wanaka community to support people that may become Covic-19.

They have compiled some useful information, resources and things you can do to boost your immune system. You will find immune-boosting recipes, tips for parents as well as general advice.
We love the sound of the Anti-Flam Soup boosting a basic bone broth with the immune and anti-inflammation- enhancing properties of mushrooms, ginger, turmeric and thyme. Check out their website here.

If you find the information in this blog helpful, please share it on social media and with your family and friends. Share buttons are at the start, just below the featured image.

For comments and feedback please use the below comment section. Emails will not be displayed to others and there is no need to create an account.

Thank you.


  • Fiona
    19 January, 2022 at 3:28 am

    Great information, thanks very much, love natural immune building ideas, if only our govt has suggested this. It concerns me greatly that they (our Govt) have only offered a one size fit’s all approach to dealing with covid, when clearly there are other options. My children will not be receiving the vaccine and that is our choice.

  • Sandra
    17 January, 2022 at 10:36 pm

    Thank you for such a great read – practical, health focused and sensible. (Rare, unfortunately)

  • Renate
    17 January, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    Thank you for this blog post! Incredibly helpful. I can second the water kefir effectiveness… some of my family members have tummy issues, that seem to have mostly disappeared! We usually drink 1 cup a day.
    We do milk kefir as well, (usually in a smoothie), but water kefir is more popular with everyone

  • Jytte
    17 January, 2022 at 10:35 pm

    Thank you for a very informative and empowering blog. Empowering and providing natural support tools for a strong immune system rather than fear which weakens our immune system. Look forward to further blogs.

  • Melissa
    17 January, 2022 at 9:54 pm

    Excellent article. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge. In mainstream media you never hear about keeping people healthy, money/research spent on early treatment or how to improve the health of immune compromised people. It would be wonderful to see some tax payers’ money actually be spent on health and not on a vaccine that doesn’t work. The need for boosters every 4 months is ridiculous and just shows how ineffective it is.

  • Anne Couper
    16 January, 2022 at 9:59 am

    As a registered nurse,I can reassure you that the reasons for vaccinating healthy children are the same as those for vaccinating healthy adults:
    a) to provide protection for the immunised individual;
    b) to provide a further protective wall around those in our community who are unable to be vaccinated, have conditions which make them more susceptible to a virus despite being vaccinated, or are very young or very old , in which case the vaccination may be less effective.

    I do understand your concerns about myocarditis. It has been acknowledged in the literature as a very rare but possible adverse reaction to the Pfizer Covid vaccine. However, I believe that the benefits of the vaccination to the community far outweigh the risks of a rare adverse reaction.
    With kind regards,
    Anne Couper

    • Mary-Jane
      17 January, 2022 at 9:50 pm

      Did you even listen to Dr Malone’s interview?
      It would be nice if it would be the way you say it, but mRNA vaccines are different to the other vaccines that did go through long term testing periods of 5 years and more. The fact is that it is unknown. The recent death of a healthy Dunedin fellow in his 20s of myocarditis (confirmed to be vaccine related by autopsy) is concerning to say the least. Recent studies show that for every 117 children that die from the vaccine 1 child is spared from having complications with Covid. I do not like those figures at all.

    • Cornelia Holten
      17 January, 2022 at 10:43 pm

      Can you please explain to me why the NZ government is going against WHO advice?
      The WHO advises: ” Who should not take the vaccine? There are currently no efficacy or safety data for children below the age of 12 years. Until such data are available, individuals below 12 years of age should not be routinely vaccinated.” (–vaccine?fbclid=IwAR0eB0n1466X5l0hd2eNuPP0ZVmzfIiBWi7wc_m3K8PvSsoUVsssJT9kUCU)

  • Natasha
    12 January, 2022 at 11:15 pm

    You give a very precise number of 0.002% for serious covid complications in children but then a vague “a lot more” when citing serious complications from the vaccine. How can you know it’s causing a lot more serious complications without evidence? Research is important, but even more important is the sources research comes from. Please be careful about spreading unsubstantiated fears.

    • Cornelia Holten
      13 January, 2022 at 1:00 am

      Thank you for your comment Natasha. I cited those exact numbers, because they are accepted by the NZ government. This is from the government website: “COVID-19 generally has mild effects in children and is rarely severe or fatal. Children and young adults who have COVID-19 will commonly have no symptoms or only mild respiratory symptoms, similar to a cold.” (straight from the government website, Jan 2022).
      I do not have all the answers, I am not a doctor or a scientist, but I trust people in the field. That’s why I have included some resources for people to make up their own mind. I find Dr Malone to be a knowledgeable person when it comes to vaccines, that he is discredited and banned from some social media cites has nothing to do with his credibility. He really understands the topic and explains it all so well. Rather than me citing him, you can simply listen to his research yourself.
      I have kept to the facts that are accepted by the government, so nothing that I say is misinformation. I honestly do not understand that HEALTHY children need to be vaccinated, but if you are able to explain it to me, then please do so. I think it’s great for immune-compromised children and I have a friend, whose child may very well benefit from the vaccine, but it’s so so different for healthy children. I want to see long term data and I want to be sure my kids are safe. Pfizer has got no long term data, and this has been shared by them publicly.

      “11. Deferred pediatric study C4591001 to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of COMIRNATY in children 12 years through 15 years of age
      Final Protocol Submission: October 7, 2020
      Study Completion: May 31, 2023
      Final Report Submission: October 31, 2023
      12. Deferred pediatric study C4591007 to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of COMIRNATY in children 6 months to <12 years of age
      Final Protocol Submission: Februar 8, 2021
      Study Completion: November 30, 2023
      Final Report Submission: May 31, 2024
      13. Deferred pediatric study C4591023 to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of COMIRNATY in infants <6 months of age
      Final Protocol Submission: January 31, 2022
      Study Completion: July 31, 2024
      Final Report Submission: October 31, 2024"
      (please see the full report here:


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