I can’t stress enough how important vit. C is to our total health. But for this topic, I’m just gonna tell you that as soon as u start feeling bad or run down, etc. take some vit. C. you can take up to 6,000 mg/day when you are sick. Vit. C is water soluble and whatever your body don’t use, it will get rid of it because it is water soluble, so you need to replenish it every day. But be aware that alot of Vit. C comes from gmo's, if you can get rose hips, they are one of top sources for Vit. C!!! Bee pollen is one of the top super foods and has an antimicrobial effect on the body. It also helps people with allergies & helps to strenghthen the immune system as does honey & it’s best to obtain the pollen or honey from a local source, as this increases its antiallergenic properties. But if you can’t get it locally, it’s still better than not having any at all. If you get honey, make sure it’s raw, any type of heating on the honey destroys the health giving benefits. So you got bee pollen, vit. C, honey & foods & probiotics so far.
Herbal immune system builders not only help your body to ward off illness, but they can also teach it how to operate better. The best known one of course is Echinacea and it has been called the king of immune herbs. It helps the body by increasing the activity of 3 of the immune system’s workhorses…T-cells, interferon (a protein produced by virus infected cells that inhibits reproduction of the virus) and natural killer cells which are…the white blood cells. It even makes the cells stronger & more resistant to invasion. Our t-cells make a memory when they fight off things naturally. Drugs shut 'off' the immune system's ability to know what went wrong & how to defend itself the next time. Thing is about Echinacea is that it works best as a preventative…but it’s not the best herb to take for long term use. If you’ve taken Echinacea for a week or so and there’s no difference, then it’s probably not the right herb for you.
In Chinese medicine we have astragalus and it’s is used to promote healing. Licorice is another great one. The tincture is effective against candida & several types of bacteria, including staph. A compound in it increases interferon production. Another Chinese immune herb is bupleurum, the main ingredient in it helps to improve immunity system activity. Chinese skullcap stops the development of certain viruses & makes uninfected cells more resistant to invasion. Siberian ginseng has become very popular too and it’s an adaptogen which helps the body adapt in ways of building the immune system & counter the effects of stress….which we all know can lead to illness. The ayurvedic herb ashwagandha is also an adaptogen and immunity enhancer. Then there is the Chinese herb shizandra, it’s very popular in many herbal blends. The Peruvian rain forest herb cat’s claw is great for the immune system and it helps to fight off infections & degenerative diseases. Cat’s claw also contains a certain alkaloid that enhances the immune system’s capacity to engulf & destroy pathogens. it’s been shown to heal an array of other things as well, it increases the amount of disease-fighting immune cells in the blood. Goldenseal is a very strong immune system helper, but it gained such popularity so quickly that it was over harvested almost to extinction, everybody wanted the roots which is usually where the strongest medicine of any plant is located. It’s made a comeback, but it’s not one of those you should take regularly to keep that immune system up there…I believe it’s 7 days on, then 7 days off. It’s also very bitter, so it will help with digestion too, but it tastes really bad. Goldenseal is a mucous membrane restorative tonic and a topical antimicrobial. Though it does kill bacteria very effectively, it is very poorly absorbed into the blood stream and does not act as an "herbal antibiotic" as it is said to. It can be used to stimulate sluggish metabolism/liver function. Goldenseal & Echinacea should not taken together to help fight any type of cold or infection. They will fight against each other instead of each of them doing their own job. The more information we find out about goldenseal, the more we realize it’s not the go to herb to help fight ALL types of illnesses. Then there’s the infamous essiac that we’ve discussed before…it’s one of the top immune system builders around & has been for many many years!!
Elderberry is a berry & can be used specifically for viral infections and the flu. Elderberry inhibits the ability of a virus to break out and make copies of itself. Though viruses mutate year after year, the mechanism that they use to break into our cells often remains the same, and so elderberry does not lose its efficiency because of viral mutation. It stimulates white blood cell production which is similar to Echinacea and it’s rich in bio-flavinoids & provides excellent antioxidant activity, which helps to reduce tissue inflammation. I’m sure you’ve heard or seen the elderberry syrup…it works well from what I understand, I’ve never made it or taken it. But if you make or buy the syrup make sure if it has honey it, don’t give it to a child under 2 yrs old.
I got asked about andographs and in doing some research on it, I found it’s commonly used in china & India and they use the leaves & fresh juice of the whole plant. In traditional Chinese medicine, it’s used to support digestive & cardiovascular health & the urinary systems. But in Sweden…and them folks got it going on with the herbs & such I’m telling ya…it’s been used for more than 10 yrs as the primary herb for the winter season for immune support.
Now I didn’t know about this about st. john’s wort before I started this research, so I’m kinda excited to be able to share this information. I knew St. John’s Wort had a reputation to help with depression, but I didn’t know that it is a powerful herb for use on the nervous system tissues and injuries. When injuries to the nerves are involved, it is often among the most beneficial and broadly acting herbs available. It is appropriate for conditions ranging from sciatica to atrophy of nerve tissue, and also often relieves the pain of sore muscles. But it’s also antimicrobial and can be effective topically against some strains of bacteria, including staph. It has been used on sunburns & radiation burns. It‘s useful for nerve pain, which is characterized by numbness/tingling and shooting or searing pain. It can also help sciatica and inflammation of nerve tissue, some skin infections & sore, tender, injured, overexerted muscles or joints. The frontline in the body’s defense system is the lymph glands, they filter out foreign materials, especially bacteria and they collect toxins, so if you have had an infection you have probably felt them all swelled up from time to time. They also work to stop cancer cells from spreading, but when they do, they become vulnerable to cancer themselves, kind of a catch 22 thing. They depend on you moving around & getting regular exercise to help them with their drainage and massages are great for lymphatic drainage. Of all the herbs to help with the lymph drainage, cleavers, goldenseal, mullein & Echinacea are some with the best reputation. Others include red clover, prickly ash, and lemon peel. The lymph herbs are safe to give to children who are plagued by constant ear infections too.
There’s so many different ways to help build up your immune system, some of them are rather tasty, others…well….not so tasty, but for your body to run at it’s peak performance it is necessary to make sure you re-enforce & build up that immune system and with foods, climate and so many different things starting to take that downward spiral, it’s vital that one makes that a priority, in my opinion anyway.