How can you enhance your immune system? Your immune system, all in all, does a remarkable job of defending you against microorganisms that cause disease.
But sometimes it fails: A germ successfully invades you and makes you sick. Is it possible to retaliate and boost your immune system?
Many of your friends may get sick during the Flu or viral season, however, some of them would stand tall even though everyone in their home is sick with the flu.
Have you ever noticed how often certain people get sick while others are more likely to become diagnosed with cold or virus? It is all about the immune system in the body.
The immune system is our body’s first line of defense against an alien micro-organism that enters the body. The stronger your immune system, the less likely that you will get sick would be. But having a strong immune system does not make you invincible.
By using immune boosters, you can ensure your immune system is strong enough to protect you from infection with the virus. From sleeping for eight hours to exercising in the sun to eating a balanced diet and using immune booster, the ways are easy but if followed, they can be really beneficial. Follow them, and see the shift in the power of your body to fight disease.
What A Virus Is?
A virus is a small infectious agent, which can only replicate within other organisms ‘ living cells. Viruses can infect all types of life such as humans, animals, plants, and micro-organisms like bacteria and archaea.
They are present in virtually every ecosystem and are the most abundant form of biological entity.
In addition, viruses have been defined as “organisms at the edge of life” because they carry genetic material, replicate and evolve via natural selection, but lack the cell structure that is usually required to be considered living.
A virus can spread in several ways. In animals, the blood-sucking insects bear a virus. Some viruses, such as influenza, are transmitted by sneezing and coughing.
Viruses such as viral gastroenteritis (infectious diarrhea) are spread via the fecal-oral route (which is the result of inadequate sanitation) and are transferred taking contaminated food and water from or person to person contact.
HIV is one of the viruses that are transmitted by infected blood via direct contact and exposure.
The troubling thing about contracting a virus is antibodies are not effective. Vaccines are often volatile, and viruses, including those that cause AIDS and viral hepatitis, resist these immune responses caused by the vaccine and lead to chronic infections.
What Are Antiviral Herbs?
Antiviral herbs inhibit viral development. Many of the best antiviral herbs strengthen the immune system, enabling the body to resist viral pathogenic substances.
It can be much better than targeting new pathogens that are intended to do with antiviral drugs because pathogens mutate over time and become less prone to treatment.
Not only do antiviral herbs combat influenza diseases, improve the immune system and function as natural remedies for flu, but they also provide a range of other health benefits, such as cardiovascular, digestive, and anti-inflammatory help.
Even though there is no one-size-fits-all cure for the illness, elderberry supporters say the fruit is one of nature’s most effective remedies for what ails you.
Elderberry is widely regarded as one of the most curative plants in the world. Elderberry berries and flowers are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins which can boost your immune system.
Research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported that elderberry can be used as a natural antiviral herb for flu, as both influenza A and B can be safely combated. (R)
It has also been used to treat: constipation, joint and muscle pain, illnesses affecting how you breathe, headaches, nausea, kidney problems, epilepsy, minor skin conditions, stress, HIV, and AIDS.
Elderberries are high in fiber content. Consuming elderberries as part of a healthy diet will offer some health benefits, including cardiovascular disease safety and colorectal cancer.
Don’t eat raw elderberries, however, as they can induce nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Perhaps worthy of note is that elderberry syrup also contains high sugar levels.
You’ve done it all. Cough drops decongestants, and also some ibuprofen. And that sneezing, coughing, and all-around bad feeling won’t disappear. Just as you’re about to wave the white flag, you’re starting to wonder: Can an herbal remedy like echinacea save the day?
Echinacea is a perennial plant which means it will last several years. When mature, it is about 1-2 feet (30-60 centimeters) tall. Depending on the species it is slightly spiky and has broad purple to pink flowers.
Echinacea grows in the US and Canada, it has been used for centuries as a medicine. There are nine varieties. Several of its common names include the black-eyed Susan or purple coneflower. The leaves, stems, flowers, and roots are used to manufacture vitamins, extracts from liquids and teas.
Studies had mixed results. Echinacea extracts also appear to have an effect on the immune system, defending the body against germs. Research shows that the number of white blood cells which combat infections increases. (R)
Echinacea is renowned for its positive immune-system effects.
It has been shown that echinacea improves immunity, blood sugar, anxiety, inflammation, and skin health. This may even have the properties of being anticancer. Research-based on humans is, however, still minimal. It is considered safe for short-term use and is well tolerated. Although the common cold is widely used to treat it, the findings in this region are mixed.
Although study has shown that it can help prevent colds, shorten their length or provide symptomatic relief, other studies have been poorly designed, or have shown no benefit. That said, there are not many products with similar potential immune-boosting benefits like echinacea, so it might be worth trying it out.
Calendula has long been known for its varied advantages in gardening, culinary and medicinal use. The brightly colored calendula flower petals, a plant that can do it all, make them an eye-catching addition to a garden and their healing properties make them a go-to in the first aid cabinet.
For a long time, Calendula officinalis-also is known as the “Pot Marigold”-is a plant within the Asteraceae family. It is native to Europe’s Mediterranean region, though it can be found worldwide now.
Calendula plants are distinguished by bright petals, usually yellow or orange and grow 1-2 feet tall. The narrow petals are characterized as forming a sunray.
Calendula’s fragile ability may be called upon to knock out the residual infection caused by flu or cold. It has been shown that calendula improves the ability of the immune system to fight off infection. This is possible because Calendula is antimicrobial, meaning it slows down or destroys bacteria to prevent it from spreading.
Some study has identified a link between gut health and mental health like depression. With the capacity of Calendula to restore and enhance gut function, this link will increase Calendula’s influence to also have a beneficial effect on brain activity. (R)
Chinese medicine practitioners have used Astragalus Root for immunity support for centuries and now others around the globe are catching on to the influence of this herb.
Astragalusis is still commonly used in China for chronic hepatitis diagnosis and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer, and as a folk or traditional heart disease remedy. (R)
Astragalus was also marketed for spleen, liver, kidneys, circulatory, and urinary system enhancement, to help cure diabetes, asthma, and nervous disorders, and to lower blood sugar and blood pressure rates.
The Astragalus Root is at the vanguard of immunity building. The root, known in Chinese as Huang Qi, is a legume. It is widely used in Chinese medicine alone or in conjunction with other herbs for stimulating immune responses within the body, with its purple flowers, sweet taste, and warming effect.
When using Astragalus there are three key components that work to our advantage: flavonoids, saponins, and polysaccharides. These are plant-only phytochemical-biologically active compounds. They act as anti-oxidants, anti-viral, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory.
These three active properties were found to kill cancer cells, prevent HIV progression, and combat respiratory and muscle damage. Apart from conventional illness, Astragalus was also used to suppress the cortisol stress hormone, and to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy. (R)
Cat’s claw is a plant. Two cat’s claw species Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis, are of main interest for medicinal use.
Uncaria tomentosa is most widely used in the United States, and Uncaria guianensis is usually used in European countries. Medicinal products are made from the root and bark. In 1997, Cat’s claw was ranked 7th most common herb in U.S. sales.
This powerful herb has properties that are anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and antioxidant. Such health-promoting properties can be useful as a natural cure for arthritis, allergies, asthma, diabetes, disease of chronic fatigue, cancer, viral infections, ulcers, hemorrhoids, and much more.
This woody vine native to the Amazon rainforest can help with several serious health problems by helping the body remove free radicals that cause damage to the cell. Test tube studies show that cat’s claw can activate the immune system, dilate blood vessels, function as a diuretic and relax smooth muscle (like the intestines).
Studies of both animals and humans have shown the strong immune-boosting capabilities of cat claws. In one animal study, researchers gave subjects eight weeks of a water-soluble cat’s claw extract (Uncaria tomentosa). They found that this supplementation significantly increased the count of white blood cells for infection-fighting subjects.
Scientists have observed DNA repair, including single and double breaks in the strands. Such two extremely impressive results emerged in the animal subjects with no signs of acute or chronic toxicity. (R)
Another human study had an adult cat’s claw supplements for two months prior to receiving pneumonia vaccination. The results revealed “statistically significant immune enhancement” in individuals who take cat’s claw supplements compared to the undiagnosed control group. (R)
Another herb that has many health benefits for the immune system is Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), which belongs to the European and Asian family of legumes and grows up to one meter in height. This plant’s flowers are purple to light blue, and the fruit is an extended pod with many seeds.
Traditional practitioners claim that the root of licorice can cure a number of health problems like bronchitis, constipation, heartburn, stomach ulcer, eczema, and menstrual cramps. While the use of licorice is generally safe, overconsumption can lead to severe side effects and even toxicity.
Oregano is a mint plant or family Lamiaceae. For thousands of years, people have used it to add flavor to foods and to treat health conditions. Oregano features in the Mediterranean diet.
People in the Mediterranean region have been using oregano in herbal remedies for centuries to treat several ailments, such as skin sores, asthma, cramping, diarrhea, indigestion, colds to improve overall health.
Oregano and other herbs are providing antioxidants. Dietary antioxidants help the body remove free radicals which are toxic substances arising from natural processes and environmental stress. Free radicals building up can cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can cause damage to the cells that can lead to various diseases including cancer and diabetes.
People around the world have praised garlic as an elixir of wellbeing for thousands of years. It is said that the cloves help to cure a common cold, keep the flu at bay, and even ward off vampires.
This veggie is the bulb of a plant in the sweet-smelling lily family, given its infamous odour. Ancient writings indicate that garlic has been used in India as an aphrodisiac, and in Egypt as a currency.
Today, it’s a low-calorie immunity-boosting powerhouse, at only 4 calories per clove. One clove contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds — potent enough to wipe out bacteria and infection (it was used in both world wars to avoid gangrene).
Raw garlic, not cooked or dried, is most beneficial for health, as heat and water inactivate sulfur enzymes which can reduce the antibiotic effects of garlic. The toxin-fighting staple tends to lower blood pressure and cholesterol in clinical trials and destroy parasites in the body.
Fish oil rich in DHA and EPA is commonly assumed to prevent disease by reducing inflammation, but scientists have not been fully sure of its immune-enhancing effects until now.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, omega-3 fatty acids are present most naturally in fish, as well as some plant sources.
Evidence has shown them to improve cognitive health and to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Omega-3-rich foods are also prevalent in the Mediterranean diet, which has been related to lower cardiac risk and improved longevity.
Researchers at Michigan State University and East Carolina University have found that feeding fish oil high in the omega-3 fatty acid compound DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) tends to improve the activity of a white blood cell called a B cell, a crucial part of the body’s immune response.
And due to the particular way the DHA-rich fish oil behaved in the mice, the researchers noted that the result may have unique implications for people with compromised immune systems. (R)
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning it can not be produced by your body. Today, it has multiple functions and has been associated with remarkable health benefits.
It is water-soluble. You can find it in several fruits and vegetables, including bananas, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach.
The average daily intake of vitamin C for women is 75 mg, and for men is 90 mg (R).
Although getting your vitamin C intake from food is widely recommended, many people turn to supplements to match their needs.
One of the key reasons people take vitamin C supplements is to improve their immunity because vitamin C is active in many parts of the immune system.
First, vitamin C helps to promote the development of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes which help protect the body from infection. (R)
How to Use These Antiviral Herbs
Use as Herbal Infusion
Herbal infusions are stronger than teas because a greater amount of herbs are needed. Take a cup of antiviral herbs in water for about 7 hours, to make your own herbal infusion.
Hold the infusion and drink it cold or hot in an airtight container. Do not drink more than one cup a day, because the infusions are powerful.
Use as Herbal Tea
Teas are a perfect way of getting the herbs ‘ antiviral benefits every day. Move a tablespoon of herbs 5–10 minutes into hot water. For example, Echinacea is a popular herbal tea that is sold in most food stores, so the research is done for you already.
Use as Essential Oils
Most of those herbs are sold as essential oils; make sure that you are buying these organic and pure essential oils from a reputable company.
To take advantage of essential oils such as their antiviral properties, spread 3–5 drops in your house, add 2–3 drops to warm bath water or blend 1–2 drops with a carrier oil and apply the mixture directly to your skin.
It’s helpful to rub essential oils onto your feet, abdomen, and chest while battling a symptom of fever or flu.
When you are using infusions or essential oils, note that they are highly potent and should not be used for a long time. When you use these natural antiviral treatments for their properties, don’t consume them for more than two weeks. It is important that you give yourself a break between long doses.
Beware about using essential oils while you are pregnant and reach out to the health care provider beforehand.
Some of these antiviral herbs communicate with medications, so read on to an herb before you start eating the extract or essential oil.