Woven within the body's intricate structure is a protective network that can shield an organism from diseases. Better known as the "immune system," this magnificent biological processing system is responsible for detecting and responding to various pathogens – including cancer cells, parasitic worms, and viruses – so when yours goes out of whack, you're sure to know about it!
Since the world has been struck down with the SARS-CoV-2 (coronavirus) virus outbreak – a contagious virus that suppresses the immune system by disturbing the actions of immune cells and interferon molecules – it is more important than ever before to ensure your body is capable of warding off intruders.
The good news is that you can fast-track your body to good health by bulking up on natural immune system-boosting herbs.
Natural immune system-boosting herbs
Since Mother Nature delivers us a broad scope of potent ingredients, it's well worth incorporating them into your lifestyle.
In particular, herbs pack a punch of goodness, specifically vitamins A, C, and K. Moreover, lots of herb plants contain polyphenols — plant compounds that harbor antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers.
Herbal-based remedies offer a tried-and-tested method of preventing human immunodeficiency among virus-infected patients. Conversely, a study published in the Journal of Patient Experience back in 2017 discovered that the most frequent conditions associated with herbal supplement use were a stroke (48.7%), cancer (43.1%), and arthritis (43.0%).
Let's take a look at some herbs that could safeguard your health amid the pandemic:
Belonging to the coffee family, kratom is a tropical evergreen plant native to Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, and other countries around South Asia. The plant contains many pharmacologic vitamins, flavonoids, terpenoids, and over 40 alkaloids.
Mitragynine is a kratom-derived alkaloid that is most commonly touted for its analgesic, antipyretic, antidepressant, and anxiolytic effects.
Moreover, according to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, kratom can also improve the immune system and lower blood pressure.
2. Goldenseal Root (Hydrastis canadensis)
Also known as "orange root" or "yellow puccoon," goldenseal is a perennial herb from the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. The native American medicinal plant is often used as an immune stimulant.
This traditional herb's historical therapeutic use could be due to reduced pro-inflammatory response. What this means is that the consumption of goldenseal root has the potential to minimize clinical symptoms that may arise during infection.
Research indicates that echinacea can increase white blood cell count, which is essential for fighting infections. The most commonly used species include E. purpurea, E. pallida, and E. Angustifolia.
Claimed to stimulate the immune system naturally, echinacea is a herb that could prove useful in treating upper respiratory tract infections and lower urinary tract infections.
American Indians heavily relied on this plant for several conditions and ailments. It was first introduced into medical practices across the U.S. sometime during the 1880s, mainly for common colds and infections.
A study titled "Immunity - The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids" demonstrated a positive connection between cannabis consumption and reduced production of certain inflammatory cytokines.
Cannabinoids – the active chemical compounds derived from cannabis – have been shown to improve cytokine function and secretion from immune cells. Some studies also suggest that cannabis could ease the symptoms of depression, relieve seizures, reduce chronic pain and even help alcoholism.
5. Dong Ling Cao
Rabdosia rubescens is an herb that has shown its ability to ease pain and boost appetite in sick patients when studied for its therapeutic potential.
The entire plant can be used to make medicine and people often rely on it to treat mild forms of gum disease (gingivitis), cancer, and an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia, BPH,) among various other conditions.
Research states that Dong Ling Cao extract can greatly inhibit the function of cell-mediated immunity and ameliorate the function of humoral immunity in vivo.
6. Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)
Ancient Chinese pharmacists used to incorporate this powerful traditional Chinese medicine into their practices. Andrographis is also renowned for its use in Ayurveda.
The herb, which has a strong and bitter taste, is often referred to as "Indian echinacea." It is laden with andrographolides, which are believed to possess anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant properties.
Andrographis supplementation has even been shown to increase cytotoxic T cells' production — an immune cell that eradicates cancer cells. A study involving mice infected with a type of cancer (thymoma) that affects the thymus gland – which is responsible for producing immune cells – revealed that the rodents lived twice as long after being treated with an Andrographis extract for 10 days!
Don't forget to eat citrus fruits (such as lemons, grapefruit, and oranges), leafy greens (such as kale and spinach), nuts, and yogurt for your daily dose of vitamins, since this will further encourage your immune system to work more efficiently.
Turmeric and ginger are also proven to enhance the immune system, and when taken in conjunction with kratom, some people report stronger effects.
Some other tips to enhance the immune system include getting seven or more hours of sleep each night, eating more whole plant foods and healthy fats, taking probiotic supplements, and avoiding refined sugars.
Engaging in moderate exercise, getting enough sunlight, and staying hydrated will also strengthen the immune system.