Your immune system is your friend and protector. You have to support it so it can support your body and protect you from illness. The cold and flu season is approaching and we are in the midst of a pandemic. A healthy immune system is more important than ever. The good news is that supporting your immune system naturally is simple. There are several powerful herbs that can help.
In this article, you will learn about the importance of a healthy immune system. You will understand what factors can compromise your immune health and how to support your immune system through dietary and lifestyle strategies. I will share my top 7 herbs for immune support and better health and introduce my new immune-support supplement.
Importance of a Healthy Immune System
Your immune system is your friend and personal security guard that wants to protect you from illnesses and infections. It is absolutely essential for your health and well-being – and frankly, your survival.
Your immune system is a complex network of cells and tissues. They have one goal in mind: to protect you. They are on a constant lookout for invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, or other harm. Your immune system is always ready to safeguard you through an immune response. When cold and flu season hits or you encounter any other pathogens, your immune system’s job to defend you, reduce your risk of infection, illness, or disease, and support your recovery if you get sick.
It is no wonder that your immune system’s health is absolutely critical for your overall health. A compromised immune system becomes sluggish and slow to respond. It simply cannot protect you properly, which leaves you vulnerable to infections, illness, and disease. It is important that you understand what factor can compromise your immune system and how to protect it (1, 2, 3, 4).
Things That Can Compromise Your Immune System
There are a variety of dietary, lifestyle, and environmental factors that can compromise and hurt your immune system, including (5, 6, 7):
- Poor diet
- Poor sleep
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Chronic stress
- Environmental toxins
Lifestyle Strategies for Immune Support
There are a variety of lifestyle strategies that you can employ to support your immune system, including:
- Remove immune-compromising foods, such as refined sugar, refined carbs, refined oils, processed foods, artificial ingredients, deep-fried foods.
- Eat plenty of immune-supporting foods, such as greens, vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, healthy fats, and clean animal protein.
- Drink at least 10 glasses of purified water a day.
- Get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep a night.
- Exercise and move your body regularly.
- Spend time in nature and get plenty of sunshine.
- Reduce your stress levels.
- Improve your indoor air-quality through air-filtration and removing any mold.
- Remove chemical-filled conventional products and choosing organic, natural, and home-made alternatives.
- Remove or reduce the use of plastic and opt for glass, bamboo, wood, stainless steel, ceramics, or cloth products instead.
- Add immune-supporting herbs and superfoods to your life. (Read on to learn more!)
7 Best Herbs for Immune Support
Eating a healthy diet, practicing healthy lifestyle strategies is incredibly important for your immune system. There are also a variety of herbs and superfoods that you can supplement with for maximum immune support. Here is what I recommend to boost your immune system:
Echinacea is a purple coneflower that has been used as an herbal remedy during cold and flu season. It is high in antioxidants and is known for its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
A 2007 meta-analysis of 14 studies on echinacea has found that using echinacea may lower your risk of getting a cold by over 50 percent. Another meta-analysis from 2015 has found that echinacea may also reduce the re-occurrence and complications of viral respiratory infections. To experience the benefits of echinacea and support your immune system during cold and flu season, I recommend drinking echinacea tea regularly. You may try supplementing with echinacea-containing immune supplements for extra benefits (8, 9).
Astragalus, also known as huáng qí or milkvetch, is an herb that has been used in Chinese medicine as an herbal remedy. While there are over 2,000 types of astragalus, only two species are used in supplements for their health benefits. It is used for immune support, upper respiratory infections, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart health, and chronic kidney disease.
Astragalus helps your immune system to protect you from harmful pathogens. Research has shown that it may boost white blood cell production and reduce the risk of illness. Various studies have demonstrated its potential ability to fight viral and bacterial infections. It may also help to reduce symptoms of season allergies, such as the runny nose and sinus congestion. It may also help to reduce symptoms of seasonal allergies, including runny nose and sinus congestion. It is available as a supplement (10, 11, 12,, 13, 14, 15).
Andrographis, also called the Indian echinacea, are a powerful herb used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for its medicinal properties. The active compound of andrographis is called andrographolides are responsible for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. It has been used for infections, sinus infections, parasites, allergies, skin issues, and a list of other ailments.
According to 2014 research, Andrographis can be safely used for its anti-inflammatory, anti-infective, and antioxidant benefits. According to a 2017 meta-analysis, it may be effective for relieving upper-respiratory-tract symptoms. It is available in capsule and tincture format and as part of certain immune supplements (16, 17).
Green Tea Extract
Green tea is a delicious tea traditionally used in China and Japan but is enjoyed all around the world. It is well-known for its powerful antioxidant properties. According to a 2009 review, green tea has powerful antimicrobial properties that may inhibit the growth of viruses and bacteria and protect your body from infections and illness. Not to mention that sipping on a hot cup of green tea can be very soothing in cold and flu season. The only problem with green tea is caffeine for some.
While for many people, drinking green tea is not a problem. For those with histamine intolerance, the caffeine content of green tea can be an issue. This is where green tea extract comes in. Green tea is known to decrease the DAO enzyme that breaks down histamine. However, green tea extract removes caffeine from green tea making it safe for those with histamine intolerance and mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). According to a 2014 study on mast cell stabilizing and anti-anaphylactic activities of green tea extract, green tea extract can work like ketotifen, a mast cell stabilizing drug and it may be beneficial for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and asthma. Green tea extract may help to lower your histamine levels and reduce symptoms of MCAS.
If you have histamine intolerance or MCAS, I recommend that you stay away from green tea in a liquid tea form. However, I highly recommend green tea extract as a safe and histamine intolerance-friendly immune-support. Make sure to buy high-quality supplements using safe extraction practices, such as the Swiss Water Process, as cheaper supplements may use chemicals during extraction leaving a chemical residue (18, 19, 20, 21, 22).
Arabinogalactan is a fiber found in plants, specifically in higher concentrations in North-American larch trees. Arabinogalactan helps to activate your immune cells and supports your healthy immune function. It also helps to promote healthy bacteria for your digestive system, which is highly beneficial for your immune function.
Arabinogalactan has been used for a variety of infections, including the common cold, the seasonal flu, and the H1N1 (swine) flu. A 2016 review of mechanistic and clinical trials have found that it may be a promising support agent for your immune system and a beneficial supplement for the common cold. It is available in supplement forms (23, 24).
Medicinal Mushroom Extract
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine, however, they only became popular in the recent decades in the West. Though each mushroom has its own unique healing properties, they all offer some benefits for your immune system. My favorite medicinal mushrooms for immune support include cordyceps, shitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms.
Cordyceps is also called the caterpillar mushrooms. According to a 2011 research paper, it has been used for colds and the flu, and various other ailments. Shitake mushrooms are often used in stews and soups. A 2015 study has found that they offer antiviral and anticancer properties. Maitake is a popular Japanese mushroom. According to a 2003 study, it offers immune-enhancing benefits by activating your natural killer (NK) cells. Reishi is one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms often found in superfood powders and mushroom tea mixes. According to a 2009 study, it offers anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting benefits. All these medicinal mushrooms can be found in extract forms as part of supplements, superfood powders, and tea mixes (25, 26, 27, 28, 29).
Beta-glucan is a natural polysaccharide. They are found in the cells of fungi, bacteria, yeast, algae, lichen, oats, and barley. It is a natural immuno-modulator that helps to create changes in your immune system to make it more efficient. It can activate every immune cell in your body to achieve a complete, effective, and appropriate immune response to protect your self. It basically puts your immune cells on ‘high alert’ so they are ready to fight invaders.
According to a 2007 study, beta-glucans can be highly beneficial for your immune system. According to a 2011 study, beta-glucans have the ability to fight infections caused by viruses, bacteria, and pathogenic microorganisms. Beta-glucans are available form (30, 31).
Try Ultimate Immune Support
Do you want to support your immune health with these immune support herbs? I am happy to announce that I now have my own supplement to offer you maximum immune support.
Ultimate Immune Support is a powerful herbal formula specifically designed to support healthy immune system function during cold and flu season and protect during stressful or vulnerable times. This immune-enhancing herbal formula supports your normal natural killer (NK) cell activity and helps to balance your cytokines, which are regulatory proteins released by your immune cells to support a healthy immune system response.
This formula is powered by my favorite immune-supporting herbs and superfoods, including echinacea, astragalus extract, Andrographis, green tea extract, arabinogalactan, cordyceps mushrooms, shitake mushroom, maitake mushrooms, reishi mushrooms, and beta-glucan. Ultimate Immune Support contains optimal and consistent amounts of active ingredients of these herbs and superfoods. It is also suitable and beneficial for those with histamine intolerance or MCAS. I recommend taking four capsules a day with meals for maximum support or as recommended by your healthcare practitioner. I always recommend starting slow and titrating up as tolerated whenever starting a new supplement.
Your immune health is more important than ever. If you are not taking care of it, your immune system will be sluggish and can’t protect you. If you take care of it, your immune system will love you back and protect you from illness and infections. Follow my tips and try my favorite immune-supporting herbs to protect your immune system this season.
If you want to learn how to protect your immune system, dealing with unexplained chronic symptoms, or experiencing symptoms of thyroid dysfunction, histamine intolerance, or other chronic conditions, I invite you to schedule a consultation with me. I can help to identify the root cause of your condition and recommend a personalized treatment plan to repair your body and regain your health and well-being. Schedule your consultation here.
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