SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNE System Strength With These 9 Herbs
Maybe some of us predicted the second wave of COVID-19, and maybe some of us are still in denial about masks becoming a permanent part of the modern lifestyle. Whichever way we decide to see the world, it’s a good time to start seriously considering our immune function and the balance in which it hangs.
First and foremost, a strong immune system isn’t just about not getting sick. And we understand why it’s less exciting to do things preventatively when the optimal result is literally an absence of something (in this case, a sickness). We strengthen our immunity so that we don’t get sick, so that we don’t see a change in our bodies, so that we can continue exactly as we were. Yawn. Where’s the novelty in that?
Well, when we do get sick, remembering what it was like to breathe through our nose, to taste the food we’re eating, to sleep soundly … Those distant memories suddenly become enviable, and those abilities suddenly sound novel to us.
Sleep and immunity go hand in hand: When we get plenty of good, restorative rest, we increase immunity. When we are healthy — not stuffy or feverish or uncomfortable — it’s easier to get good rest. In turn, good rest supports maintaining a healthy weight, glowing skin, slows aging — and so much more. And like a good rest, a strong immune system also has beauty benefits. Strong, healthy cells can help protect us from and help prevent oxidative and sun damage, preserving our youthful glow.
Because we know that supplements can support our immunity, we stock up on vitamin C and zinc. However, there are some fabulous herbs and plants straight from the earth that can support and strengthen our immunity in a major way. Here are some of our favorites.
This potent herb is a Traditional Chinese Medicine classic when it comes to creating a healthy immune system and protecting against disease. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and can even help prevent and treat upper respiratory infections.
We know this golden powder best for curcumin, its compound that helps to fight and reduce inflammation, but it’s also antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, as well as a powerful prebiotic that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in our gut. Healthy gut function helps to eliminate harmful bacteria and viruses — proper digestion is the biggest component of detoxification. This scientific review states that “curcumin can affect different immune cells, such as various T lymphocyte subsets, macrophages, dendritic cells, B lymphocytes and natural killer cells, which results in decreasing severity of various diseases with immunological etiology.” Now that’s powerful.
This Ayurvedic herb is a known beauty booster and a strong digestive aid, but it is also known for its pharmacological and immunomodulatory properties, helping to protect and even reverse the effects of oxidative stress.
Skip the vitamin C capsule and the zinc pill. Tulsi, another Ayurvedic herb also known as holy basil, is super rich in both of these things. It’s antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, protecting us from infection and keeping us in balance. Vana Tulsi is the one we want to look for — it’s the most potent in protection from disease. It helps to mitigate oxidative, physical, chemical, metabolic, and psychological stress.
We tend to think of this herb for stress, anxiety, and hormonal balance. It’s a powerful adaptogen, increasing our bodies’ resilience to stress — and by doing this, we can keep our immune system defenses up, as stress causes our immunity to weaken. It improves the cell-mediated immunity, while being a potent antioxidant.
This very aromatic herb is not only delicious, but antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal. It can help make our bodies an inhospitable environment to viruses and harmful bacteria, while providing excellent prebiotic fiber for the gut. Its compound allicin even acts like a powerful antibiotic.
This herb is actually a fungus. It has extremely powerful antioxidant properties that help reduce oxidative stress, preventing and even reversing its effects. It’s also able to simultaneously suppress the immune system as well as strengthen it, making cordyceps a major contender for those with autoimmune diseases.
This herb can both shorten the duration of illnesses as well as reduce the symptoms of whatever is ailing us by increasing our killer immune cells. It’s also inflammatory, and can inhibit nitric oxide production in activated macrophages, which are infected white blood cells.
While we don’t need to be taking all of these all the time, it’s important to be in tune with our bodies and our minds — noticing when we are stressed, in need of detoxification assistance, or lacking quality rest so that we can assist our bodies’ ability to defeat the threats of this modern world.