Thursday, January 7, 2010
Herbs For The Immune System
Herbal remedies can provide much-needed assistance in strengthening the immune system and getting the body’s natural defense mechanisms in top shape. Many minor ailments do not require any medication and can be cured by the body on its own if the immune responses work properly. Only a fully functional immune system is capable of recognizing and destroying or eliminating toxins and foreign substances like bacteria and viruses. If you get repeated attacks of a mild ailment like the common cold that refuses to be cured within a reasonable period of time, you have every reason to check your immune system health.
Using the antibiotic alternative frequently is detrimental to immune system health as it tends to destroy helpful bacteria that aid in immunity. Moreover conventional antibiotics are prone to become ineffective over time as bacteria develop resistance towards them after extended use. A healthier option exists in the shape of herbal antibiotics as they are formed of complex multiple compounds, which are difficult for bacteria to break. Therefore the bacteria are unlikely to ever develop a resistance towards such herbal antibiotics. Herbal antibiotics and herbs for strengthening immune system are a better way to treat and prevent common diseases so that the conventional antibiotics can be used in the case of a real emergency.
Herbal tonics are simple but slow acting stimulants. They supply nutrients like minerals, vitamins and plant pigments such as flavonoids. Flavonoids are a group of antioxidant chemical compounds widely found in certain fruits, vegetables, teas, wines, nuts, seeds and roots. These can be used often as there is huge margin between curative and toxic doses.
Herbs for the immune system are more active in stimulation than tonics and should be used in lesser doses. Such specific herbs are catalysts that assist in stimulating a process. These herbs strengthen the first line of defense by aiding the rejection of pathogens so the attack by bacteria and other antigens can be prevented. Goldenseal, osha, and Tabebuia (better known as pau d'arco) are other examples of herbs that work on hormonal, nervous and immune systems. Immune cells are first created in the bone marrow. If they are called upon to fight infection too frequently, they are bound to be depleted in large numbers, causing an immune system collapse. Herbs for the immune system provide the cells with an environment that is conducive to their growth.
Many herbs facilitate the elimination of waste and toxins from the body. Herbs have been the subject matter of extensive research in recent years and with every passing day new uses of herbs are being discovered. Flavonoids were initially known only for their antioxidant properties. Recent research explains how they also aid in elimination of mutagens and carcinogens.
Some herbs are highly toxic in undiluted forms and need to be taken with care and only in their prescribed doses. These herbs have a quick effect on systems that are not performing to full capacity. Other types of herbs act as cleansers and protectors and help in removing toxins from the body. If used according to instructions and for the recommended periods, herbs for the immune system can strengthen the immune system and help ward off disease.
Beneficial Herbs For The Immune System Include:
AFRICAN POTATO - is traditionally used as a natural supportive tonic. It contains phytosterols and sterolins, which help to support the immune system.
ALOE VERA - is very high in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes and and complex polysaccharides including acemannan. Aloe vera acts as both an immune-enhancer and a natural antiseptic.
ASTRAGALUS - is a powerful antioxidant which protects the liver from toxins,boosts the immune system and generates anticancer cells in the body.
BARBERRY - is very effective for fighting bacterial infection
and reducing inflammation. It has also been used traditionally for treating burns, diarrhea, ulcers, kidney, liver, and gallbladder troubles, and yeast infections.
BUCHU - has been used by the natives of the Western Cape of South Africa for many centuries. The leaves of buchu contain 1.0 – 3.5% volatile oils as well as flavonoids - compounds found in fruits and vegetables that have diverse beneficial biochemical and antioxidant effects.
CAT'S CLAW - The presence of glycosides, proanthocyanidins and beta sitosterol contained in Cat's Claw help provide anti-viral and anti-inflammatory support.
CAYENNE - has been traditionally used in herbal medicine as a general circulatory tonic and digestive aid, helping to naturally stimulate the production of gastric juices – a key factor in healthy metabolism.
CURCUMIN - found in the popular spice, turmeric, has long been valued as an effective household remedy for sore throat, cough, and common cold.
ECHINACEA - Enhances lymphatic function and boosts immune system.
ELDERBERRY - Elderberry is one of the most effective herbs for preventing and treating upper respiratory infections. Elderberries contain flavonoids, which are natural chemical substances that give food their taste and color; they also boost the immune system, and supply the body with antioxidant protection.
GARLIC - is effective against at least 30 types of bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. It has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties.
GINGER - While it can be sweet, ginger also has some heat from a compound called gingerol, a relative of capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their zing and heat.
GINKGO BILOBA - A powerful antioxidant which increases circulation to brain cells.
GOLDENROD - helps the body in its ability to routinely regulate mucus, and has been used traditionally by herbalists for centuries as a tonic remedy to strengthen the natural protective ability of the body to fight infection.
GOLDENSEAL - An antibacterial which strengthens the immune system and cleanses the blood. Has anti-bacterial properties.
GREEN TEA - Green tea has been used traditionally to build the immune system. Green tea is rich in polyphenols, plant antioxidants, as well as a number of other chemicals that can help protect the body against cold or flu.
HAWTHORN - is highly respected as a tonic to support healthy circulation and improve immune system function.
MAITAKE - Highly prized for its immune-boosting properties, this exotic mushroom has been shown to stimulate the immune response by activating the T-cells which are the body’s own defence against viruses and cancer cells.
MISTLETOE - is commonly used to enhance the immune-stimulating properties of other ingredients, as it encourages repair of damaged cells.
OLIVE LEAF - contains a compound called oleuropein acid that is an effective immune system tonic.
OREGANO - has been used traditionally to help fight bacterial, fungal and viral infections.
PAU d' ARCO - is used frequently in the herbal treatment of cancer and infections, including candidiasis and other yeast infections.
PEPPERMINT - contains volatile oils that have an antiseptic action, and are antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal and antiviral.
PROPOLIS - is a form of resin honey bees create by combining tree resin with pollen, nectar and wax. Propolis is well-known for its positive effects on immune system health.
RED CLOVER - has been used traditionally to promote lymph flow and support immune system function.
REISHI MUSHROOMS - are known in China as "the elixir of immortality",Traidionally these mushrroms have beeen used to strengthen the immune system, fight viruses and bacteria, reduce cholesterol and help prevent fatigue.
SCHIZANDRA - is a powerful ingredient which originated in China. Schizandra is also used to assist the body in its capacity to maintain healthy energy levels, and as a general systemic tonic to support feelings of health, vitality and well-being.
ST. JOHN'S WORT- has been used for centuries to reduce inflammation and to stimulate the immune system.