Herbal Immune Support

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Its that time again…cold and flu season.  There are products to have on hand at first signs of an infection brewing.

  • A throat and gland spray – many can contain ingredients like:
    • Propolis – a glue like resin made by bees.  It is one of the best infection fighters for bacteria, fungi and viruses.  Great for sore throats.
    • Echinacea – well-known for its  immune enhancing substances, echinacea can also relieve pain and reduce inflammation.  Some studies demonstrate its influence over hormones in addition to its antiviral and anti-oxidant effects.  Echinacea isn’t good for anyone with autoimmune-related conditions because of its direct effect on immune activity.
    • Silvercillin™  – Silvercillin™ [utilizes a technological breakthrough for the production of a silver particle so small that it can enter a red blood cell.]  Contains particles of silver so small that they can enter capillaries to deactivate viruses at a cellular level.  [This enables the silver to travel through capillaries and deactivate viruses at the cellular level.] Also, Silvercillin™ can permanently distribute the silver into the structure of the water, so it will not fall out of solution or suspension.
  • An antiviral formula – one of my favorites is a formula we carry which contains herbs like:
    • Isatis -an antiviral herb used for a wide variety of viruses including herpes.  It has the ability to stimulate our white blood cells to engulf foreign substances (bacteria and viruses) in the bloodstream.  It also supports antibody production.
    • Andrographis – one of my favorite herbs, commonly used in India and Asia.  It is thought to lessen the duration of colds/flus and is anti-inflammatory.  According to research, one of its constituents, andrographolide,  is recognized for its anti-cancer properties.
  • Herbal antibiotics – we carry a product that contains several Chinese herbs synergistically combined to combat infections without damaging the gut like western antibiotics.
  • Zinc lozenges – research suggests that when taken within one day of first symptoms, zinc can cut down on the duration and severity of symptoms of the common cold.
  • Vitamin C –  also known as ascorbic acid.  Vitamin C comes in different forms, each claiming its own efficacy or bioavailability, (meaning how available the nutrient is to the body after administration). In theory, taking ascorbic acid with food, or taking a slow-release form of ascorbic acid, should increase its absorption. Mineral salts of ascorbic acid are buffered and therefore less acidic making them easier on the digestive tract and better for people who suffer from abdominal pain or diarrhea. For adults, the recommended dosage for vitamin C is 1000 mg, twice a day. You’ll know you’ve absorbed too much dietary vitamin C when you’re stool has become loose, have diarrhea, or nausea. Vitamin C can also lower blood pressure and facilitate wound healing.
  • Essential oils of eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint or specialty blends for lungs and sinuses act primarily as antimicrobials but also possess anti-inflammatory and expectorant qualities.  These can be inhaled with a nebulizer, or used in a steam inhalation to help open up lungs and clear sinuses.

Please make sure to get plenty of rest, hydrate well, and  eat warming foods. Broth-based soups, such as miso, vegetable, and chicken soup, can be nourishing.

Avoid foods that contain dairy, yeast, and sugar; instead focus on organic fruits and vegetables. Consume carrots, spinach, kale, turnip greens, winter squash, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, apricots, papaya, and ginger. In particular, apples and onions contain quercetin which prevents immune cells from releasing histamine, making these foods beneficial for allergies.

Pineapple has bromelain which is anti-inflammatory. Horseradish and cayenne in small amounts can clear the sinuses and enhance immune function.  Also make sure you are optimizing your vitamin D levels.

 In addition, there are many immune enhancing herbs such as astragalus, and medicinal mushrooms that can help prevent colds and flus.  A word of caution:  while Tylenol can help reduce a fever,  when taken for colds, it can suppress your body’s immune system.