From enhancing the taste of our meals to aromatherapy, healing herbal teas and other medicinal tools, herbs are potent plants with a wide variety of uses. It’s little wonder that more and more people are now choosing herbal medicine for immune system support and better overall wellbeing.
ffective herbal medicine for your immune system involves using a plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark and flowers for their therapeutic properties. By gently nudging the body to repair, defend itself and recover, herbal medicine is a powerful way to strengthen your immune system naturally.
Here are 10 reasons to consider herbal medicine for a stronger immune system.
Humans have always healed with herbs
Herbs have been found in burial sites from 60,000 years ago, suggesting that herbal medicine was practised long before recorded history. These potent plants have also played an essential role in the Ancient Greek humoral system of medicine, as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Indian Ayurveda, and countless other healing traditions around the world.
Today, around 80% of people in developing countries rely on herbal medicine for some part of their primary healthcare. However, the Western world tends to disregard old systems whenever a new one appears.
Slowly but surely, scientific research is revealing the value herbal medicine has always had, and the reemergence of medicinal herbs in the mainstream is finally gathering momentum.
Nature was excluded and shunned to benefit big business
Although developed countries around the world have a long history of herbal medicine, the turn of the 20th Century saw a reform in medical education. Before 1910, medical schools taught very different curriculums, and many of the practices now considered ‘alternative’ were all part of the conventional systems of medical education.
A medical monopoly was established to patent petrochemical medicines, dominate medical education, and to eliminate the credibility of the more natural, holistic systems. As natural health practices were of no benefit to the new pharmaceutical industry, these once-respected establishments were vilified and shut down.
By the middle of the 20th Century, herbalist and other natural medicine practitioners were out of business, and many were prosecuted for not promoting chemically manufactured drugs. Schools teaching drug intensive medicine, on the other hand, began to receive enormous financial backing.
Have you’ve ever wondered why medical doctors today are often heavily biased towards pharmaceutical treatments and tend to know very little about herbs, nutrition, mindfulness, and other natural ways to heal the mind and body? The answer is simple; unlike plants, pharmaceuticals can be patented to produce a great profit for their producers.
Herbal remedies treat the cause from physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and mental perspective
Herbal medicine is holistic
In the pharmaceutical world, the general focus is to take a drug to eliminate a symptom. Working on a holistic level, herbal medicine is very different. Expecting immediate relief from symptoms, people are often quick to decide herbal medicine doesn’t work. However, herbal remedies treat the cause from physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and mental perspectives, rather than only masking the symptoms.
Although it may take longer to notice the improvement of symptoms, the long term improvement in your health will be worth the wait. Herbal medicine aims to return the mind, body and soul to a state of balance so that healing can take place naturally.
Herbs often have fewer negative side effects
Compounds found in herbs are often extracted or synthesised for use as the active ingredients in pharmaceuticals. However, a single, isolated compound is more likely to trigger adverse side effects.
These compounds generally work better in synergy with the other compounds, nutrients and other beneficial substances found naturally in herbs. For this reason, herbal medicines are often more safe and effective when the whole plant is used.
When we use plants for their healing properties, we embody connection to the Earth
Herbal medicine can be environmentally sustainable
Do you have a deep love and respect for planet Earth, with her amazing landscapes and abundant plant life? This may be why you feel drawn to herbal medicine. When we use plants for their healing properties, we embody connection to the Earth.
Many of us are actively striving to be sensitive to the needs of the environment; in part because a healthier planet means we can all enjoy better health in the future. Sadly, when we buy products and support industries that deplete natural resources, our purchases harm the long-term ecological balance.
When it comes to herbal medicine, sustainable farming practices and sustainable harvest of wild plants is of critical importance. To sustainably support your immune system with herbal medicine, be sure to purchase certified organic herbs that are grown and packaged in an environmentally aware manner.
Many herbs are naturally antimicrobial
Antimicrobial herbs have compounds that directly deter harmful bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoans, depending on whether their properties are antiviral, antibiotic, anti-fungal or anti-protozoan.
Calendula and lemon balm are two examples of antimicrobial herbs. While both lemon balm and calendula have antiviral and antibiotic properties, lemon balm is also anti-fungal and anti-protozoan.
Most people have taken a course of prescription antibiotics, so you may have first-hand experience with negative side effects such as bloating, nausea, cramps, and poor appetite. Prescription antibiotics can also kill the good bacteria that protect us from fungal infections and maintains a healthy gut microbiome.
Next time you have a bacterial infection, remember that there is clinically-proven, effective herbal medicine for your immune system you should try!
Herbs are full of antioxidants
Effective herbal medicine for your immune system provides various phytochemicals, many of which possess powerful antioxidant properties. The antioxidant phytochemicals in herbs protect your DNA, membranes, enzymes, cells and other tissues from the oxidative damage caused by free radicals, and this protection supports your immune system naturally.
The antioxidants in herbal medicine can significantly improve certain immune responses while playing an important role in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases caused by oxidative stress.
Herbs provide the nutrients that enhance immune function
Healthy functioning of the immune system relies on the intake of certain micronutrients. Vitamins A, C, and E, for example, help maintain the structure and function of the mucus lining in the respiratory and digestive tracts that acts as a barrier against infections.
Thyme is one herb that contains all three of these vitamins, as well as the B-complex, selenium, and iron. Deficiencies in these nutrients have been linked to impaired immune response.
Zinc is also critical for the healthy development and function of immune cells, and as it’s not stored in the body, regular intake is vital for a strong immune system. Lemon Myrtle is another excellent herb for a strong immune system, as it contains zinc, along with vitamins A and E.
Herbs can help you sleep better for a stronger immune system
It’s more than just an old wive’s tale; a lack of sleep really is one of the quickest ways to catch a cold. Studies show that insufficient and poor quality sleep can suppress immune system function, meaning that those who don’t prioritise sleep are more likely to get sick after exposure to a virus, such as the common cold.
Sleep deprivation can reduce the production and release of cytokines, which are proteins that help fight infections and inflammation. If you’re not getting enough good quality sleep, you could be impairing your body’s ability to respond to viral and bacterial infections.
Sleep tip: If you’re looking for an organic, naturopath-approved herbal tea for sleep and relaxation, then Sleep Herbal Infusion is ideal! This is an expert-designed blend that will calm your senses and ease you into a blissful night of rest and regeneration.
Different herbs have different effects
There are three main types of medicinal herbs that support the immune system, and they are:
- Immune stimulants,
- Immune modulators, and
- Antimicrobial herbs (which are discussed above).
Immune stimulating herbs are best used on a short term basis to help the immune system fight acute infections. These herbs stimulate white blood cell activity, increase phagocytosis, and moderate communication chemicals like cytokines.
Immune stimulators, such as echinacea, help the body resist infection during the initial stages, as well as throughout an infectious illness. You can also call on immune-stimulating herbs when you’re first exposed to a contagious illness.
Immune modulators, such as elderberry, are herbs that support the immune system with a slow-acting and more prolonged effect than immune stimulants. Rather than stimulating the immune system, immune-modulating herbs harmonise the nervous system and hormonal system to regulate immunity.
These balancing herbs can be used when the immune system is suppressed, in the case of someone experiencing frequent infections. However, they’re also ideal for people with an overactive immune system causing allergies and autoimmune conditions. Many of these herbs are also adaptogens that help with stress!
Effective herbal medicine for your immune system
Now that you know the 10 reasons to consider herbal medicine for a stronger immune system, let’s take a look at the most effective herbal medicine for your immune system you should try.
Drinking herbal teas is one of the safest ways to self-treat, and Protect Herbal Infusion combines some of the most potent medicinal herbs used in many traditional cultures over the centuries.
This delicious herbal tea infusion contains:
- Olive leaf
- Ginger root
- Lemon myrtle
- Fennel Seed
Are you ready to consider herbal medicine to support your immune system?
Proper nutrition and regular exercise also play a central role in immunity, and your body is equipped to send you messages about what it needs. Tune in, listen to your body, and think of herbal medicine as the icing on the cake of a healthy lifestyle.
The field of study, known as psychoneuroimmunology, has revealed that the daily choices that make us feel energised, connected and happy, are the same choices that keep our immune systems in balance. That’s right - happiness hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and relaxin all have a strengthening effect on the immune system!
On the other hand, choices that lead to stress, exhaustion and isolation, will naturally hinder the healthy functioning of the immune system. As you would expect, stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol weaken immune function.
To give your body's defences some extra support during busy, stressful times or colder seasons, choose Protect Herbal Infusion for a safe and effective herbal medicine for your immune system!