Dr. John Christopher once said, “every home should have an herbalist.”
Herbs are another important part of maintaining a healthy immune system. Certain plants can help us fight off disease.
You don’t need a wide variety of herbs to support your immunity, you just need the right few. Herbs should be a part of your total treatment plan. They work well with the simple things you can do to boost your immune system.
Respect the herbs. Just because they are natural doesn’t mean they can’t cause harm. Seek guidance from a trained professional whenever possible. Use only quality herbs from a reputable source. Start slowly at first and work your way up to full doses.
Immune Supporting Herbs
This is my go-to herb when I want to boost my immunity. I also have a special bond with this plant because it is the first medicinal plant that I dug out of the ground and made medicine with as an herbal apprentice. Known as the purple coneflower, Echinacea helps the body quickly respond to an invading bacteria or virus.
- Properties: immunomodulator, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial
- Parts used: flower and root
- Preparations: tea, tincture
- Tea: use ½ – 1 tablespoon of herb per cup of water
A strong second in the immunity herb category. Elderflower and/or Elderberry are an important part of most immune building herbal blends. Black Elder can provide daily immune support. The berries make great flavoring for jams, syrups and wines. Their deep purple color provides antioxidant and immune system support. But be careful, too many berries can irritate the gastrointestinal tract.
- Properties: antiviral, immunomodulator, antioxidant, expectorant
- Parts used: flowers and berries
- Preparations: tea, tincture, syrup
- Tea: use 1 tablespoon flowers per cup of water
One of my top three and it can also be eaten as a food! Not technically an herb but a fungus, Reishi mushrooms have been in Asia for over 2000 years. It is a large, dark mushroom with a glossy exterior and a woody texture. They can sometimes be tough and bitter to eat. Reishi mushrooms not only enhance the immune system but they also reduce the effects of stress and improve sleep, both things that also boost your immunity.
- Properties: antiviral, immunostimulant, expectorant, antibacterial
- Parts used: aerial portion
- Preparations: powder, tincture, tea
- Tea: with a bitter taste and recommended two-hour simmer time for tea, most people opt to take it in a powdered form.
Along with botanicals, it’s important to give the body nutrients that support immune health. Taken as a supplement, vitamin C has a direct effect on bacteria and viruses. Vitamin B6 helps the immune system react quicker and vitamin E helps the body fight off infection. Proper levels of vitamin D also boost immunity.
Zinc in an important part of immune health. But in this case, more isn’t better. Doses higher than 100mg can actually depress the immune system.
Each of us has a unique blend of what it takes to stay healthy and have a strong immune system. Sometimes we can see our path easily and other times we need the help of a coach. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it alone.