The cold season is approaching and many of us wouldn’t mind a little immune boost! How? Natural healing can be of great help to improve your general health and boost your immune response against viral infections. This can be done through herbal remedies and specific recommendations regarding healthy nutrition and lifestyle. A Master Medical Herbalist can assess your needs for strengthening and detoxification and give you well-aimed natural healing advice, as well as prescribe you a concentrated herbal tonic specifically designed to suit your needs. Curious to know what herbs can be used to boost your immune system? Here’s a few!
Elder (Sambucus nigra) has medicinal qualities that have been known since ancient times, being a potent immune-boosting remedy. The syrup made from its berries, which are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and flavonoids, has been long used to prevent colds and flu, as well as to contrast their symptoms. Modern research shows that they can help the body getting rid of many strains of influenza, and shorten the duration of illness by stimulating the immune system. Elder can also help reduce upper respiratory congestion and swelling of the mucous membranes.
It has been used for centuries to strengthen all body systems and to treat illnesses that cause fatigue. Today it is largely used to protect and support the immune system. Studies showed that it improves the immune function in cancer patients being treated with immune-suppressing chemotherapy drugs, while also relieving the side effects of chemotherapy. Since then, several studies have proved the immune-boosting properties of Astragalus and the fact that it improves the infection-fighting abilities of white blood cells.
This is probably the most famous immune-boosting herb, being highly effective against both microbial and viral attacks. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, it can be used to treat any infection anywhere in the body, but it is particularly indicated for infections of the upper respiratory tract (e.g. laryngitis, tonsillitis) and the nose and sinus. It can also be applied externally to treat sores and cuts.
Did you know that garlic was called “the Russian penicillin”? This is because during World War II, after running out of antibiotics, the Russian government turned to this ancient treatment for its soldiers. In fact, garlic is a highly effective antiseptic and anti-viral remedy, recognized to be one of the best anti-microbial plants available, and it works well against bacteria, viruses and parasites.
This is another well-known remedy, mostly used for its anti-inflammatory properties, but did you know that Curcumin (one of its compounds) also has prebiotic-like properties that help your gut microbiota and support the gut-immune connection? Taking turmeric regularly will help you to balance your immune system, making sure it works properly (an overactive immune system can be just as problematic as a sluggish one!).
Ginger is another amazing root with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. This herb has powerful antiviral and antimicrobial properties and enhances immune response.
A few more immune-boosting herbs are goldenseal, ashwagandha, Panax ginseng, reishi mushrooms, aloe vera, tulsi, and more!
I’m available for consultations and to provide highly effective immune-boosting herbal tinctures (concentrated hydroalcoholic extracts). Contact me if you have any questions!