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Herbs for the Immune System under Distress

October 23, 2017

 

The immune system is complies of the thymus gland, the spleen, bone marrow and a network of lymph nodes scattered throughout the body. The immune system is the most complex bodily system. White blood cells are the good, natural killer cells that devour bad cells, like cancer. There is also large white blood cells call macrophages that act like a clean up crew to all the dead or damaged cells. The immune system works around the clock, searching and combating any threats that may exist, constantly searching for infection or any sort of nasty cell that will wreak havoc on your body. 

 

Anytime there is a significant change mentally, physically and/or environmentally around you is a time to consider boosting your immune system. With constant oxidative stress in and around the body, it is key to stay ahead and treat your body like the fortress that it is. Here is a guide to some powerful immune boosting when your immune system is threatened or under attack. 

 

 

Echinacea Asteraceae: Antimicrobial, immunomudulator, anti-inflammatory, anticatarrhal. Primarily used for prevention and treatment of acute infections, such as, colds, influenza, and upper respiratory tract infection, in which it can reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. This plant can eradicate both bacterial and viral infections. Purified polysaccharides within the plant strongly activates macrophage function, which initiate the destruction of pathogens and cancerous cells. It increases phagocytosis  by raising the white blood cells, neutrophils, eosinphils and B lymphocytes. 

Echinacea is best utilized at the onset of a cold or infection and best absorbed as a tincture or tea. Tincture dosage: 1-4mL three times per day (1:5 in 40%).  As a tea (decoction) put 1-2 teaspoons of root in one cup of water and slowly bring to boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and drink three time per day. 

 

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): Bitter, hepatic, anticatarrhal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, oxytocic. This herb is particularly used for sinus disorders and its effects on mucous membranes. It soothes irritated mucous membranes in the throat, making it useful for sore throats. Its antimicrobial properties are contributed to the isoquinoline alkaloid constituents: hydrastine and berberine. As a berberine containing plant it acts as a immunostimulant. Its antimicrobial activity contains a broad spectrum demonstrated against a number of bacteria, protozoans and fungi.  Goldenseal is bet used during an infection to boost the immune system. 

Tincture dosage is 1 mL three time per day (1:5 in 60%).  Can also be prepared as an infusion: pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1/2 teaspoon of powdered root and infuse for 10-15 minutes. 

 

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra): purgative, expectorant, anticatarrhal, antirheumatiuc, diaphoretic. This plant as a whole has a variety of different benefits and is referred to as a medicine chest in itself!

The flower is ideal for colds and influenza, and a standardized Black Elderberry extract contains antiviral properties. The Elder flowers antiinflammatory properties are excellent for the upper respiratory tract. It also increases cytokine production and strengthens the cell membranes, preventing any penetration.  Constituents within the leaf called flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage. 

Elder flower dosage as a tincture 2-4 mL three times per day (1:5 in 40%). As a syrup of black elderberry extract (1 teaspoon–1 tablespoon [5–15 ml] for children, 2 teaspoons–2 tablespoons [10–30 ml] for adults). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chellsey Latham, DNOM, NC, Nutritionist

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