A strong immune system is key to living a healthy life. Not only do you want to recover quickly when you’re sick, you also want to prevent yourself from getting sick in the first place.
In many ways, being healthy is a prerequisite to being productive. When you’re feeling ill, you’re unable to carry out the things you want to do. You can’t work. You can’t exercise. You can’t hang out with friends and family.
If you find yourself getting sick often, you may want to consider making some lifestyle changes. Eating a balanced diet every day, getting enough sleep, and exercising are a few ways that you can dramatically improve your immune system.
Your immune system is responsible for keeping you healthy. People with weaker immune systems tend to get sick more easily than those who have stronger ones.
Your diet and daily habits are directly tied to the health of your immune system. If you’ve spent any time at all researching ways to improve your immune system, you’ve probably come across a multitude of different products.
Unfortunately, there are a vast amount of immune-boosting supplements out there and it can be extremely overwhelming to pick the right one for you. Today, we’re going to be focusing specifically on plant-based supplements.
Several herbs are antagonists to pathogens, which means they fight against harmful microorganisms like germs, worms, and bugs. Herbs have traditionally been used in Chinese medicine, but as of late, they have also expanded into Western medicine.
Though supplementing certain nutrients can be helpful in maintaining your immune system, it is important to mention that they should not be relied on. Ultimately, your lifestyle and the rate at which you’re in contact with germs will determine the strength of your immune system.
If you’re searching for the perfect herbal supplement to ward off sickness, Shop Hope is here to help!
Here are five accessible herbal medicines you can add to your daily routine to help boost your immune system:
Echinacea, also known as coneflower, is an herb that has been shown to strengthen the immune system. It also has a variety of other benefits. Echinacea can be used to help reduce discomfort and irritations, and also has antioxidant properties.
For the common cold, echinacea can help reduce the duration of how long you’re sick for and how severe it is. This is supported by a 2006 systematic review published in Cochrane Library. Yet, the researchers from the study concluded that the results were inconsistent in all the studies they reviewed.
In addition, a 2020 systematic review published in Advances in Integrative Medicine showed that echinacea could be helpful in battling acute respiratory infections if taken when symptoms first start appearing.
If you’re ever in a situation where you’re exposed to a lot of potential contaminants, or if you feel like you’re about to get sick, consider taking echinacea for two to three days straight. Take the recommended dosage, as instructed by the packaging of your product.
You can also consult a herbalist for further expertise. Echinacea is best consumed in tea or as a tincture. The herb is most effective when used at the start of your sickness, as opposed to its peak.
If you have a ragweed allergy, you may want to avoid echinacea. Some people with ragweed allergies are very sensitive to the herb and may experience symptoms like itchiness, hives, and increased congestion. If you have an autoimmune disorder, avoid echinacea entirely.
Garlic is an antimicrobial herb that is especially great for the gut. Not only can it be used to treat parasites and worms in the gut, it strengthens the digestive system overall. Garlic is believed to help combat chest and respiratory infections.
The most important component of garlic is allicin, which is said to be the compound that gives garlic its antibacterial attributes. A 2014 review published in Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine demonstrated that garlic has the ability to fight germs like salmonella and E. coli, both of which can cause food poisoning.
Most people cannot consume enough garlic to the point it would be harmful, but if you’re taking anti-clotting medications, be wary of consuming garlic.
One essential part of your immune system is the HPA axis. The HPA axis consists of the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal axis. These three counterparts are responsible for controlling the immune system's response to stress.
Chronic or severe stress negatively impacts the immune system, so maintaining a strong HPA axis is crucial. One herb that supports the HPA axis is ginseng, which also regulates many different immune cells like T cells, B cells, natural killer cells, and macrophages. These cells identify threats to your body and reduce them from spreading.
Reishi is a type of mushroom that contains beta-glucans, a fiber believed to stimulate various cells in the immune system like monocytes, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells. When these cells are stimulated, they are better equipped to recognize and reduce germs.
You can buy reishi mushrooms whole or broken down into capsules. Reishi is used for cooking in many Asian cuisines.
Certain berries like elderberry have also been proven to boost the immune system. Elderberry, also known as sambucus.
It’s most commonly consumed as a syrup, but it can be taken as a tincture, lozenge, or gummy also. If you’re healthy and trying to prevent getting sick, it is recommended to take elderberries once a day. If you’re already sick and trying to get better, it is recommended to take elderberries every few hours.
Elderberry is very safe in moderate doses. Just don’t down the whole bottle. You will likely get sick - which is exactly what we’re trying to prevent. Keep your syrup in the fridge to avoid rotting as well.
If you have an autoimmune disorder, it may be best to avoid elderberries. Since it stimulates the immune system, it could cause some negative interactions.
Before starting to take any new supplements, you should consult with your health provider to make sure they’re safe to take; even if they’re all natural like these herbs. If you are taking any prescription medications, ask your doctor if there are any interactions you need to worry about.
If you’re looking for further guidance on these herbs, it might be worthwhile to speak to a qualified herbalist or traditional Chinese medicine practitioner. With their expertise, you can figure out which herbs fit your situation best. They can also help you determine what the best way of consuming these herbs are and where you can find quality products.
If you’re looking for a balanced, well-rounded immune booster, check out our immune+ capsules on the Shop Hope website. We use an all-natural formula consisting of elderberry, vitamin c, and moringa. This supplement is non-GMO, organic, and 100% cruelty-free.