Your immune system is the organs and processes of the body that fight infection and toxins. It’s the first line of defense against all the nasty bugs that are trying to get us sick all the time. The main parts of the system are your white blood cells, bone marrow, spleen, thymus, complement system, and antibodies. With that said, here are some herbal medicine options to keep your immune system healthy, so you can stay healthy!
Herbal medicine and the human immune system
Us humans have a plethora of naturally growing herbs and spices that are natural medicines at our disposal. These herbs/botanical plants are easy to whip together, administer, and best of all; available at little to no cost. How awesome is that? However, due to western medicine dominating the planet these days, there’s been a reduction in the use of herbal medicine. However, immunomodulation is quickly becoming a rising trend amongst those who value their health
What is immunomodulation?
Immunomodulation refers to any process in which you alter your immune system to work better for you via drugs, exercise, herbs, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies. Thankfully, there are a wide array of effective, naturally occurring herbs with numerous immunomodulating effects out there.
5 ways to boost your immune system naturally:
1. Herbal supplements: An herbal supplement, also called phytomedicine, is a compound of herbs used to boost your body’s immune system. They come in various forms like powders, tea bags, liquids and capsules.
–Chaga Mushrooms: Chaga mushrooms contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Research has indicated that chaga mushrooms help to control the production of cytokines; the chemical messengers of the immune system. Cytokines stimulate white blood cells, your primary defense mechanism against foreign bodies.
-Broccoli: Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables to ever grace the dinner (or breakfast, im looking at you dad) table. Broccoli is absolutely brimming with nutrients and minerals that boost your immune system, specifically sulforaphane. But what is sulforaphane? Sulforaphane is a compound found in cruciferous vegetables that has anticancer, heart health, antidiabetic, and sun damage prevention properties. Additionally, it’s been proven that raw broccoli has 10 times more sulforaphane than cooked broccoli. So eat it raw, if you can stomach it!
-Garlic and Ginger: Including a bit of garlic and ginger in your meal plan goes a long way in fighting infections. The use of garlic has been dated back to early civilizations. They discovered the potency of this herb in taste, but also in medicine. Garlic and ginger have great immune-boosting properties, which stem from a heavy concentration of sulphur-containing compounds, like allicin. What is allicin? Allicin is an amino acid that is produced when garlic is crushed or chopped. It has been found to reduce inflammation and offer antioxidant benefits.
-Almonds: Almonds have been proven to be rich in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Additionally, almond skins have been shown to have antiviral properties, so keep those skins on! Almonds are equally rich in protein and iron which are essential in boosting the immune system.
There’s a strong link between the mind and body, according to modern medicine. Before we delve into in-store herbal medicine options, research has proven that these supplements tend to work better with a sane mind, and a calm spirit. The first major step to boosting your system naturally is by keeping a cool head. A wide range of these body malfunctions, stem from emotional stress. Most accredited department stores display a wide range of herbal supplements/botanical plants, slightly processed into mobile forms like capsules and tea bags. These herbal preparations support the immune system, and boost its health.
3. Sleep and Hygiene
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the easiest way to ward off sickness is by simply keeping your hands clean. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water and soap before cooking or eating. Don’t forget to wash after sneezing, coughing, touching public surfaces or using the bathroom.
4. Stress Reduction
According to recent studies, it has been shown that immunity can be negatively affected due to chronic stress. It’s also suggested in a 2004 review of 293 students that while your immune system can be boosted by a short-term exposure to stressors, prolonged stress has the tendency to wear down the immune system making you more susceptible to sickness. Keep your stress level in check to avoid this from happening. Try Incorporating a relaxing practice like deep breathing, yoga or meditation in your daily routine to stay healthy in mind and body.
5. Consume Bone Broth
Bone broth contains essential nutrients that boost your immune system and help maintain a healthy gut biome. Bone broth is rich in amino acids, collagen and gelatin which tend to the gut, and quicken the healing process of a wound. Keep in mind that all bone broth isn’t created equal. Try to use only the highest quality, grass-fed, free-range, grade A bones in your broth. For all those gluten-free followers who are also vegan there is no substitution for gelatin, but a similarly mineral-rich plant based broth will do the trick. You must try this recipe from Wallflower Kitchen. They don’t call it gut-healing for nothing.
It’s easy to forget that your immune system is a unique part of your body, and not some automated background process. So remember, if you take care of your immune system by using supplements, mindfulness, and herbal medicines, it will take care of you.
Guest post written by Polly in Siberia
Edited by Adrian Haskell