Your immune system keeps every bug on the planet from calling your body home, but it can use a boost now and then, even for hale and hearty individuals. Many people are familiar with consuming commercial herbal and vitamin blends such as Emergen-C to during cold and flu season - or any time of year germs fly freely - but could regularly taking certain herbs do a better job of keeping your immune system strong?
Absolutely! Throughout the ages, herbalists have prescribed blends not only to treat disease but prevent it. And any practice that has existed since humankind's earliest days on the planet is sure to offer some value. Here are seven of the best herbs to naturally boost your immune system and keep it healthy, even when everyone else in the office is ill.
Naturally Strengthen Your Immunity with HerbsHumans have been using herbs for human healing well before the first person took out a papyrus and pen and wrote for the first time. These prehistoric treatments stem from nature, and many claim they work better than allopathic remedies. Next time you need an immunity boost, try any or all of these herbs to return to optimal health quickly.
1. TurmericTurmeric and its key phytonutrient, curcumin, have surged into popular awareness of late as powerful anti-inflammatory substances. However, the herb often used in traditional Indian cuisine also has powerful antioxidant and immune-boosting power, too - and research indicates it may even ward off Alzheimer's disease. Who needs one more reason to say yes to curry?
2. AstragalusAlthough this Asian treasure, known as milk vetch in the West, is technically a legume, Western scientists have evaluated it as a possible treatment for many heart conditions. While too much astragalus can weaken the immune system, used in moderate doses, the herb strengthens it. Like turmeric, astragalus also has anti-inflammatory properties, and scientists are investigating it as a treatment for fibromyalgia, as subjective reports indicate it may help alleviate the condition.
3. Gotu Kola
Need an energy boost? Gotu Kola could be the cure for what ails you in more ways than one. While this herb has long enjoyed use in treating the listlessness typically seen in depressed patients, it has immune-boosting power as well.
Especially in conjunction with other herbs, like the Pegaga by PurelyB blend, Gotu Kola packs a serious immune-boosting punch. You can consume it as a tea or add it to your morning smoothie to wake you up and strengthen your immunity all at once.
Oregano is nature's perfect antibiotic. It’s anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-bacterial, and has also been shown to aid in staving off allergy symptoms. As such, it can help your immune system immensely, especially if a recent infection has already taxed it to the max.
Oregano essential oil proves especially effective in combating the E. coli bacteria responsible for many cases of digestive upset. Putting a few drops of oregano essential oil in a diffuser on your work desk when the flu is making its rounds may ward off sickness.
5. Purple Coneflower, or EchinaceaEven many in the West know the immune-boosting power of purple coneflower, more commonly labelled as echinacea in herbal preparations. Supplements abound, but a tea made from the whole plant, flower, leaves and roots works best. Sweeten the tea with naturally antimicrobial honey for even better immunity benefits.
6. AngelicaBe thankful we no longer need to gather herbs in the wild. Angelica, or wild parsnip, resembles the deadly water hemlock— the plant used to kill Socrates. However, commercial preparations of Angelica have a long track record of topical use to treat nerve pain, as well as internal use to treat upset stomachs. It works so well because it boosts the immune system naturally, helping you fight off whatever underlying infection may be causing your distress.
7. GingerA root traditionally used in Asian cuisine, ginger is another herb used to treat tummy trouble, but it also provides immune-boosting benefits.