The modern lifestyle is more stressful and the environment is more toxic than ever before. As a result, most people fail to provide their body with adequate nutrition and rest. This unhealthy habit can lead to a weakened immune system.
If you notice that you get sick more often than usual or if you feel tired all the time, your body’s defense system may already be burdened.
However, there is a solution! Nature is abundant with edible healing fruits, spices, berries and herbs.
Best Herbs For Boosting the Immune System
Eating healthy herbs and spices can go a long way to fortifying a stressed immune system. These edible immune boosters are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties like carotenoids, phenolic acids, flavonoids and nutritious phytochemicals necessary for a strong internal defense.
Triphala is a combination of three major fruits used in Ayurvedic medicine: Amla, Myrobalan, and Belleric Myrobalan (Amalaki, Haritaki, and Bhibitaki). These fruits abound in antioxidant chemical compounds that go after and destroy the free radicals that can wreak havoc on your immunity. By combining the three into one herbal supplement, it’s possible to achieve maximum benefits for immune health.
2. Turmeric (Curcumin)
Turmeric (Curcumin) is an incredibly powerful herbal root that is full of antineoplastic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer pharmacological substances that can significantly energize the immune system. Tip: Mix your turmeric with black pepper to greatly enhance the body’s ability to absorb and digest more of its beneficial properties!
Echinacea has been used for centuries to cure and prevent cold, flu and other infections. The mixture of water and Echinacea powder or tincture is helpful for sore throats as well when gargled. It is very helpful for the upper respiratory tract. Because of its efficiency against infections, it is also used to heal wounds, burns, abscesses, bee stings and psoriasis. Echinacea gives your body an overall defense against infection.
More than a tonic to improve your voice, ginger is a known anti-inflammatory. Inflammation is usually an indication that something is wrong with your body. Ginger alleviates inflammation so that it wouldn’t worsen into serious illness. Aside from that, it excellently reduces blood cholesterol. Take note that it slows down blood clotting so caution must be exercised if bleeding is a danger for you.
5. Ginkgo Biloba
Gingko Biloba is rich in antioxidants called ginkgosides and bilobalides which not only counteract free radicals but also protect cells against external radiation, which causes cell death and mutation. Also, it improves blood flow to the brain, improving memory and cognition. Make sure to take Gingko Biloba standardized at 24% flavones glycosides and 6% terpene lactones.
6. Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw is an excellent herb that boosts your body’s overall defense system. It is used to protect the body from degenerative and infectious diseases. The oxindole alkaloid content of Cat’s Claw helps the immune system to engulf attacking pathogens. In laboratory trials, Cat’s Claw can kill and disable tumors. Aside from this, it is an anti-inflammatory that helps ease the pain of different kinds of arthritis. People with high blood pressure can also benefit from this herb.
Ginseng or more specifically Korean or Panax Ginseng contains ginsenosides that have been proven to destroy cancer cells. These substances are also anti-inflammatory. Korean Ginseng is typically used as a tonic to promote vitality and mental sharpness. Panax ginseng is available in tincture, capsules, extract and tea.
Just like Echinacea, Elderberry works well against flu, colds, and infectious diseases. Elderberry has substances which prevent flu and colds viruses from attaching to the cell, helping you recover faster and reducing the severity of the disease. It also protects the respiratory system and helps it repair at night.
The presence of excess mucus all over the body is a sign that the body’s immune system is encountering problems. Hyssop is a widely used natural expectorant which loosens up thick mucus. This is helpful for people with asthma, cough and flu.
10. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is known to battle mild depression due to chemical and hormonal imbalances. With these imbalances, the body’s immune system is compromised. Unlike prescription anti-depressants, St. John’s Wort doesn’t have extreme side effects. St. John’s Wort can also be used as a pain reliever.
11. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera, particularly the organic or home cultivated kind, can be consumed orally to provide an overall boost to the immune system. Aloe vera neutralizes excess acidity in the body’s pH. An acidic body is conducive for the proliferation of cancer cells, bacteria, and harmful microorganisms. Organic aloe vera can also be applied topically to soothe burns, infection and even decrease wrinkle appearance.
12. Stinging Nettle
Stinging Nettle or simply Nettle root is a common herbal remedy for allergies and hay fever. Steroidal antihistamines are effective, but they presented side effects such as disrupted hormone levels and weakened the immune system in the long run. Stinging nettle contains natural antihistamines which halt the allergic process and aid the immune system.
Eleuthero functions as an adaptogen, just like Korean panax ginseng; it helps the body adapt to stress. Eleuthero strengthens the body’s overall immunity. Unlike Echinacea, Eleuthero, sometimes called Siberian Ginseng, is a quite slow-acting herb. Ideally, it should be taken for at least three months before you can feel its positive effects. Eleuthero also varies in potency, so follow the instructions carefully.
Astralagus is a diuretic herb which strengthens the body’s defense system and also helps indigestion. It is rich in flavanoids, saponins, and polysaccharides. This makes it effective against fever, flu, and common colds. Like aloe vera, it helps in increasing the body’s pH, which is helpful for people suffering from hyperacidity. As a bonus, Astralagus boosts the body’s metabolism, which gradually results in fat loss and increased energy levels.
Andrographis is commonly referred to as Indian Echinacea. This herb is effective in combating against flu, fever, and common colds. It also protects the respiratory system from further infection. Overall, it is a potent herb that stops the activity of viruses in the body.
16. Green Tea
Green tea is a staple favorite when it comes to supplying the body with antioxidants. It contains substances that trigger the liver to produce a chemical called interferon which in turn helps in fighting infections inside the body. Green tea also helps boost the metabolism. Make sure to drink only organic green tea because most green tea products are high in fluoride. You can also take green tea capsules for convenience.
Popular as a spice, this plant species from the lily family is brimming with immunity boosting substances. It can kill viruses, harmful bacteria, and cancer cells immediately once it comes in contact with them. Garlic is best taken minced as the active compound allicin is destroyed with heat. For people taking anticoagulants, exercise moderation when planning to supplement with garlic. If you plan on taking supplements for convenience, choose the one with standardized allicin content. When taking garlic extract and oil soft gels, start at 4ml a day and 10mg respectively. If you plan to take fresh garlic, crush one medium-sized garlic clove and drink it preferably with diluted apple cider vinegar.
Wheatgrass contains impressive amounts of chlorophyll that is equivalent to 12 kilograms of broccoli. Chlorophyll is an alkaline substance rich in nutrients. Drinking as little as 3 grams of wheatgrass powder everyday is effective in purifying the blood, detoxifying the liver and kidney and improving the oxygen levels in the organs. The beneficial effects of wheatgrass can be felt overnight or as long as two weeks. Some wheatgrass products are mixed with a natural sweetener called Stevia since pure wheatgrass is naturally bitter in taste.
Wormwood is a common Chinese herb that has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-yeast properties. It is often used in anti-candida diets. Leukemia treatments cause an imbalance in the body’s yeast population, making wormwood a helpful supplement. Some medical experts even suggest that excess yeast contributes to the growth of cancer cells, thus nullifying the effects of cancer treatments. Wormwood is a powerful help in assisting the human immune system.
The herbs listed here may cause different reactions depending on the individual. It is important to do an in-depth research about them before attempting to supplement your nutrition with them. Especially if you’re taking any medication or are pregnant or breast feeding, consult your doctor before taking any alternative herbal supplements.