5 Mighty Immune Boosting Herbs You've Never Heard Of
As a first responder to invading pathogens, your immune system has the huge job of helping you get and stay well. This complex system can strengthen or weaken in the face of many factors including diet, stress, and environment.
As the world grapples with how to handle a new virus, more people than ever are confronting the state of their health. We can all try to take the same measures of hand washing and social distancing to avoid exposure, but the truth is – your immune system is the original virus killer!
Supplementing with immune boosting vitamins, nutrients and herbs can be an extremely effective way to create more control over your susceptibility and recovery experience. When coupled with a proper diet, stress management, regular exercise, and adequate sleep, supplementation has the power to skyrocket your overall health.
As vitamin C and zinc fly off the shelves during cold and flu season (and currently during this pandemic), it is well worth noting several other powerful immune boosting contenders.
Here are five lesser-known herbs that serve as defense shields for your immune system.
1. Holy Basil
Used for thousands of years and considered sacred in many parts of the world (hence its name), holy basil works to protect and advance your health - it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-carcinogenic!
Holy basil’s ability to scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, allow it to mediate inflammation and put the brakes on aging effects. This herb is loaded with alpha-Linolenic acid (ALA), one of the omega-3 essential fatty acids known for combating inflammation. When infection is detected, your body responds with inflammation that can sometimes get out of control and cause damage.
Inflammation caused by poor diet and lifestyle weakens your immune system and allows germs the opportunity to thrive.
Holy basil also supports liver health (and immunity) by ridding the bloodstream of harmful substances. “Tulsi” is the Hindu name for holy basil meaning “the incomparable one” – a both fitting and well-deserved name.
2. Astralagus Root
The root of the astralagus plant contains immune boosting compounds that increases activity of the immune system. As part of Traditional Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years, astralagus specifically supports immunity by helping:
- Stave off upper respiratory infections, colds, and excess inflammation
- Boost white blood cell production – the cells that fight infection and disease
- Fight free radicals that create inflammation and suppress immunity
- Promote fast recovery from illness
Research on infected mice has shown how astralagus root has helped to kill bacteria and viruses. This effect is also obvious in humans. In fact, it may help reduce the side effects of standard cancer therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
3. Spanish Black Radish
The extract from black radish is full of vitamin C and magnesium that reinforce your immune system. It has been touted a “respiratory tonic” for its ability to reduce coughing spasms, heal infections and support mucous membranes to clear congestion. It also works to boost white blood cells – your first line of defense against pathogens.
Black radish’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties have earned it the nickname “the black magic.” Anything that is anti-microbial means that it destroys or inhibits growth of harmful microorganisms. We’ll take that!
4. Olive Leaf
Olive leaves have traditionally been used to enhance immune function. Taking olive leaf extract can help:
- Directly attack microbes
- Manage infections and viruses
- Improve insulin sensitivity (which empowers the immune system)
Research has shown that the compounds in olive leaf help you fight germs by:
- Stimulating phagocytosis – the process where immune cells engulf and destroy invading pathogens
- Interfering with replication – if viruses and bacteria are unable to replicate themselves, they cannot cause infection.
Andographis extract has strong anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a smart choice for those who are susceptible to illness, especially upper respiratory infections. It is known for calming respiratory symptoms and has been used to treat a variety of diseases and chronic health conditions including influenza, cancer and diabetes.
Andographis has a long history of use in Ayurveda and Chinese traditional medicine, making it one of the top selling cold remedies in many countries.
It’s Important to Remember…
Supplementing with immune enhancing herbs can mean the difference between illness and vitality; however, you should know that a healthy immune system results from a balanced approach. By fostering the major immune function influencers like diet, sleep, and stress, you set the stage for excellent health.
While these five mighty herbs have individual power to kick the funk, when taken in combination they can support your health from many angles. You will find holy basil, astralagus, black radish, olive leaf and andographis in BodyManual’s Super Immune Boost.
In the quest to really keep you on your feet, I’ve created this formula with other key immune boosting ingredients. You can think of Super Immune Boost as a proactive tool to help you prepare for and combat illness. Taking Super Immune Boost daily, especially during times of heightened germ exposure (for example, the current pandemic!) is a smart way to build and maintain the integrity of your immune system.
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