Herbal health remedies designed to keep your immune
system fighting fit all-year-round
Sick and tired of fighting off cold and flu? It’s hard to escape illness during the winter months, but there are some simple steps you can take to give your immune system the help it needs to protect your body against nasty illness.
Here’s how to boost your immune system the natural way.
How does the immune system work?
The immune system is a complex network of cells, chemicals, tissues and organs that constantly protects your body against pathogens, viruses, toxins and bacteria.
Keeping your immune system healthy year-round is the key to preventing infections and disease. You can do this simply by making healthy lifestyle choices — like eating nutritious foods, getting optimal sleep and exercising.
How do you keep your immune system healthy?
Research has proven that supplementing the body with specific vitamins, minerals, herbs and other substances may boost immune response and potentially protect against infections and illnesses.
It’s important to note that these supplements may interact with any prescription or over-the-counter medications that you are taking. Some supplements may not be suitable for those with existing health conditions. If you’re unsure, talk with your healthcare provider before you start your course.
Want to know which herbs to look out for? These are the healing ingredients your body needs to protect itself from illness.
Herbal remedies that protect against illness
Andrographis is a plant that is typically used as a pain killer and to reduce fever — which is why it’s commonly used to treat colds and flu. In combination with Siberian Ginseng, it may improve or speed up recovery if taken within 72 hours of feeling sick. The primary evidence shows that Andrographis promotes a healthy immune system by supporting levels of immune cells in the blood. It has been proven to help prevent illness and help alleviate the symptoms of cold and flu.
A herbal supplement commonly used to strengthen the immune system as well as treat or prevent the common cold, respiratory infections, bacteria and viruses. Some evidence has shown that Astragalus may increase white blood cells, which are vital parts of your immune system responsible for preventing illness.
Black Elderberry comes from the Sambucus tree. In folk medicine the dried berries or juice are used to treat influenza, infections, sciatica, headaches, dental pain, heart pain and nerve pain. It’s also used as a laxative and diuretic. The extract of the berries have been proven to reduce the severity and length of influenza.
One of the most common over-the-counter herbal remedies for cold and flu. Tests have also shown it can be effective in the treatment of pain, inflammation, migraines and other health issues. Echinacea stimulates the body’s immune system, and if taken during the early stages of cold and flu it will alleviate the symptoms.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract comes from the leaves of the olive plant. The main active ingredient oleuropein contributes to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of olive leaf extract. Traditionally, it has been used to enhance the immune system and help in the management of viral infections. This slows down the process of bacteria and viruses replicating, which allows the body to destroy infectious organisms.
Shiitake mushroom is a fungus, but its natural extract is used as medicine. Shiitake mushrooms are used for boosting the immune system and many other conditions. The active ingredients in shiitake boost health, longevity and improve circulation. As you age, your immune system tends to weaken. However, the bioactive compounds found in shiitake mushrooms have been shown to help reverse age-related decline in immune function.
Siberian ginseng is a plant whereby the root is typically used in medicine. The active ingredients in Siberian ginseng, called eleutherosides, may stimulate the immune system. It aids in shortening the length of symptoms as well as reduce the risk of flu complications. As suggested above, Siberian Ginseng in combination with Andrographis reduce the severity and length of colds when taken within the first 72 hours of symptoms starting.
Turmeric is widely known as a superfood for relieving pain and inflammation. By reducing inflammation, it helps to shorten symptom length, provide pain relief as well as exhibiting anti-viral replication effects.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning your body can’t produce it naturally, so it has to be taken as a supplement to take advantage of its multiple health benefits. Vitamin C is one of the most common and powerful antioxidants that can strengthen your body’s natural defences. Vitamin C helps encourage the increase in the production of white blood cells also known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which aid in the protection of the body from infection.
Zinc has also been found to help produce and activate T-cells (t-lymphocytes), which trigger the body to respond to infections. Zinc helps control infections by gently tapping the brakes on the immune response in a way that prevents out-of-control inflammation that can be damaging. Zinc also helps symptoms such as nasal congestion, nasal drainage, sore throat, and cough resolve sooner.