Herbs That Can Strengthen Your Immune System
When it comes to taking care of your immune system, there are a couple of things you can do to give it a little boost. The main way to do it is by taking a holistic approach: eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, limiting your alcohol consumption, and trying to keep your stress in check. But sometimes, you need extra support, and that’s where certain vitamins, supplements, tinctures, teas, etc. can come in handy. A lot of these products contain specific herbs that have been used for centuries for immune and health support.
“Even a glimpse inside traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic, and Native American healing practices will highlight the use of native plants to support health in many ways,” explains Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, chef, nutritionist, Reiki master, and founder of the Culinary Alchemy program. “The scientific community has begun to take more interest in traditional remedies, and we are starting to see a beautiful meeting of science and tradition as it relates to wellness.”
Herbs might be an all-natural addition to your wellness routine, and there are so many options out there with different uses and benefits that you might be able to do some experimenting with to see which work for you. But you don’t want to just jump into it without doing your research first. We asked the experts for some tips and recommendations:
Tea Is Full Of Antioxidants That Support Immune Function
Most tea contains polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that can have been proven to help in the body. According to Harvard Health, these polyphenols can help lower your risk of diseases like diabetes and even cardiovascular disease.
Antioxidants are also key for your immune function. According to Penn Medicine, teas are beneficial for your immune system, which is key for warding off these kinds of diseases. This all has to do with the polyphenol content of the tea , which works to boost your immune system and reduce your risk of chronic disease, says a study published by the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design.
Chamomile Tea May Aid Sleep And Support Immunity
If youre feeling wired at bedtime, consider sipping a cup of chamomile tea to wind down. Since chamomile tea is an herbal tea that contains no caffeine, it can be a calming beverage before bed, says Retelny.
Chamomile is in the daisy family and is widely used all over the world, explains Retelny. Its one of the oldest documented medicinal plants with a variety of healing properties.
Thats not all, though. Chamomile tea may support immune health, which we could all use right about now, says;Retelny. A review;suggests that chamomile tea may help stimulate the immune system, but the researchers do suggest that more clinical trials need to be done.
Drinking chamomile tea may also be beneficial for women experiencing premenstrual syndrome, according to a review published in December 2019 in the Journal of Pharmacopuncture. Researchers noted the teas anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties.
More research suggested that drinking chamomile tea was associated with a decreased mortality risk in Hispanic women over 65.
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What About Black Teas
Black tea offers many of the same benefits as green tea, which makes sense when you consider theyre made from the same plant leaves.
So why are they different? Leaves used to make black tea are allowed to age and oxidize, turning them brown or black. Green tea leaves are processed earlier when theyre still green. Hence, the name.
Black tea generally has more caffeine than green tea, too a key selection factor if youre concerned about limiting your caffeine intake, notes Czerwony.
Exercise: Good Or Bad For Immunity
Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.
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How Other Cultures And Traditions View Tea And Immune Health
Generally speaking, Asian culturesparticularly China and Japanhave a much longer history with tea than Western cultures. For example, sources indicate that the medicinal use of tea in China dates back at least as far as the 3rd century B.C.
And along with millennia-old traditions come respect and reverence for the health benefits of tea. For example, according to a traditional Chinese saying, it is better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.
Traditional Chinese herbalists tout the ability of green tea to relax the body, clear heat and toxins, and boost immune function. But even moreso, traditional Chinese medicine holds that drinking green tea every day is an effective strategy for preventing disease, including infection.
And in Japan, green tea is the go-to tonic any time someones feeling under the weather. Some Japanese people also gargle with salted tea when they think theyre getting a cold.
However, Camellia sinensis-derived teas arent the only teas that enjoy a long traditional history. The 5,000-year-old Ayurvedic tradition from India commends the immune-supporting properties of herbal teas with diverse ingredients including ginger, turmeric, peppermint, hibiscus, lemongrass, licorice, chamomile, and tulsi or holy basil .
Immune Boosting Turmeric Tea
This ginger and turmeric immune boosting tea recipe is the best way to stay healthy during the cold winter months and helps fight off a cold or flu.
For years, I have been making this turmeric and ginger immune tea and I really believe it helps keep Dessi and I healthy all winter long. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogen, and ginger not only boosts your immune system but it helps cleanse your lymphatic system.
You can now order the powdered and shelf stable version of this immune tea. Its my first product ever and folks are loving it!
If you have the cold or flu, or want to stay healthy this cold weather season, I really would drink this turmeric tea every day, ideally on a empty stomach. It works best with fresh turmeric root, which you can always find at Whole Foods, or just call around to different markets.
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How To Store Turmeric Tea
This recipe for immune boosting turmeric tea will make enough for five cups, you can keep the tea at room temperature in a covered pot or vessel, or stash it in the fridge for 3 days. Its a good idea to strain the tea after you make it otherwise the flavor gets really strong, which I actually dont mind!
Its best to not drink this tea on an empty stomach. If pregnant, only drink 3 times per week.
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Numi Organic Immune Boost Tea
This tea is made with a blend of echinacea , dandelion, and rosehips to help rid the body of toxins. Rosehips, in particular, have a high concentration of vitamin Ceven more so than most fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C works to support a healthy immune system, as well as vitamin D, vitamin B6, and minerals like zinc and magnesium.
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Immune Support And Cancer Prevention
Its believed that the antioxidants in ginger can help strengthen your immunity and reduce stress. Inhaling the steam from ginger tea may also help relieve nasal congestion and other respiratory issues from the common cold or environmental allergies.
Research has even shown that ginger may help prevent cancer. In laboratory research ginger has been shown to fight several different types of cancer cells, including
Here is an easy-to-follow recipe for making your own ginger tea. Youll need:
- 4 to 6 thin slices of peeled, raw ginger
- 2 cups of water
- juice from half of a lime or lemon, and honey or agave nectar to taste
First, wash and scrub the ginger root. Then, peel the ginger and slice thinly. Fill a medium pot with 2 cups of water. Place the ginger slices in the water and let boil gently for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on how strong and spicy you like your tea.
Remove from heat. Add lime or lemon juice and honey to taste, if desired.
You can also make ginger tea with milk. Boil your ginger root slices in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and add 2 cups of milk. Simmer the milk and ginger for five minutes. Serve in your favorite mug.
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Increase Immunity The Healthy Way
Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity. But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically. In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body immune cells or others is not necessarily a good thing. For example, athletes who engage in “blood doping” pumping blood into their systems to boost their number of blood cells and enhance their performance run the risk of strokes.
Attempting to boost the cells of your immune system is especially complicated because there are so many different kinds of cells in the immune system that respond to so many different microbes in so many ways. Which cells should you boost, and to what number? So far, scientists do not know the answer. What is known is that the body is continually generating immune cells. Certainly, it produces many more lymphocytes than it can possibly use. The extra cells remove themselves through a natural process of cell death called apoptosis some before they see any action, some after the battle is won. No one knows how many cells or what the best mix of cells the immune system needs to function at its optimum level.
Stress And Immune Function
Modern medicine has come to appreciate the closely linked relationship of mind and body. A wide variety of maladies, including stomach upset, hives, and even heart disease, are linked to the effects of emotional stress. Despite the challenges, scientists are actively studying the relationship between;stress and immune function.
For one thing, stress is difficult to define. What may appear to be a stressful situation for one person is not for another. When people are exposed to situations they regard as stressful, it is difficult for them to measure how much stress they feel, and difficult for the scientist to know if a person’s subjective impression of the amount of stress is accurate. The scientist can only measure things that may reflect stress, such as the number of times the heart beats each minute, but such measures also may reflect other factors.
Most scientists studying the relationship of stress and immune function, however, do not study a sudden, short-lived stressor; rather, they try to study more constant and frequent stressors known as chronic stress, such as that caused by relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, or sustained challenges to perform well at one’s work. Some scientists are investigating whether ongoing stress takes a toll on the immune system.
Despite these inevitable difficulties in measuring the relationship of stress to immunity, scientists are making progress.
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Teas To Drink For A Healthier Body And Mind
From black and green to hibiscus and chamomile, tea may help you stave off disease, manage a healthy weight, ease physical discomfort, and more.
Do you love sipping an energizing cup of green tea when you rise or a calming cup of chamomile before bedtime? Youre in luck: Tea is not just a refreshing drink it may offer a host of health benefits.
Tea is a plant-based beverage that has been shown to have many nourishing properties, says;Vicki Shanta Retelny, RDN, the Chicago-based author of The Essential Guide to Healthy Healing Foods. As a soothing warm or cold beverage, tea contains plant compounds called polyphenols, which are antioxidants that give tea its medicinal benefits.
For example, phytochemicals the plant-based polyphenols in tea may play a role in preventing or delaying cell damage and in protecting cells from cancer-causing substances, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Also, a small study published in June 2019 in the journal Aging found that, compared with those who didnt drink tea, older adults who regularly drank tea had better organized brain regions, which is associated with healthier cognitive function.
Keep in mind, though, that not all studies look at tea in liquid form; some research uses capsules or tablets, which may provide study participants with a more potent dose.
S To Help Support A Healthy Immune System
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Using Tea To Boost Your Immune System
A cup of tea can be a great way to boost your bodys defenses in order to keep from getting sick. Many types of tea have antiviral, antimicrobial, and immune-boosting properties that can help to keep you in tip-top shape. Tea has been used as a component in herbal medicine for hundreds of years in order to ward off illness and soothe the symptoms of colds and sore throats.
That said, tea isnt a replacement for proper medical treatment if you think you might be getting sick. While tea can help to ward off illnesses and soothe symptoms when youre feeling under the weather, you should always check with your doctor and if youre seriously sick.
Vitamin Supplements Arent Beneficial To Your Immune System Unless You Are Deficient
However, there is little evidence to support vitamin Cs mighty reputation for helping us to fight off colds and other respiratory infections. A 2013 review by Cochrane an organisation renowned for its unbiased research found that in adults trials of high doses of vitamin C administered therapeutically, starting after the onset of symptoms, showed no consistent effect on the duration or severity of common cold symptoms.
In fact, many experts consider the vitamin C market to be a bit of a racket, as most people in the developed world get enough from their diets already. Though scurvy is thought to have killed two million sailors and pirates between the 15th and 18th Centuries, the numbers now are far lower. For example, just 128 people in England were hospitalised with the disease between 2016 and 2017. On the other hand, high doses of this vitamin can lead to kidney stones.
Vitamin supplements arent beneficial to your immune system unless you are deficient, says Iwasaki.
Brightly coloured fruits and vegetables tend to contain the most antioxidants, because the compounds are often pigmented
In the developed world, most people get enough vitamins from their diets . However, there is one exception vitamin D. Iwasaki explains that taking this supplement wouldnt be a bad idea.
In fact, many immune cells can actively recognise vitamin D, and its thought to play an important role in both the innate and acquired immune response though exactly how remains a mystery.
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When To See A Doctor About Your Immune System
The immune system protects the body from harmful substances such as viruses, bacteria, and any other potentially harmful invaders.;
“If you’re getting sick all the time, are frequently feverish, or are chronically fatigued, you should see a doctor right away,” Hunnes says.;
- Diarrhea, gas, or constipation
- Frequent infections
It doesn’t pay to wait it out, Hunnes says. “If you are concerned, you should call your doctor and make an appointment sooner rather than later.”
Pine Needles Herbal Tea
Most people are familiar with the pine tree. However, did you know you can make a Herbal Tea from its leaves?
Though a relative unknown, Pine Needles Tea has much to offer. It comes from the Eastern White Pines , which grows to heights of up to 55 metres .
Native to much of eastern North America, including Newfoundland in Canada and the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia, USA, these trees have since been introduced to Europe. There, it has spread from specimens first planted as ornamental trees. When you brew its leaves, however, it becomes less of an ornament and instead one of the best Teas for immune system health.;
Why? Vitamin C. Like Rosehip Tea, indeed like Lemon and Ginger Tea, Pine Needles Tea contains high levels of this beneficial chemical compound. Once consumed to combat scurvy, today its used to generally boost the immune system. And as a bonus, it tastes great!
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