Herbs To Combat The Cold And Flu
The immune system is a hard-working system of defense for the body. It is made up of antibodies, produced in the tonsils and thymus, white blood cells, produced in the bone marrow, the spleen which filters out old blood cells and bacteria, and the lymph nodes and vessels which carry fluids and wastes around the body. All of these parts work together to protect us from invaders and infections.
Experience has shown us that colds and flu's are more prevalent and debilitating in the colder, darker months. So how can we nourish and support the immune system as we head into this time of year? Along with getting enough rest, movement, and nutrient-dense foods, we can also harness the power of herbal medicine. Here are 5 herbs that you may want to have in your immune-boosting arsenal this winter:
One of the most well-known herbs for immune support, echinacea has been shown to increase the number of white blood cells which fight infections. You can take it as a preventative during the cold and flu season. Or, as soon as you notice symptoms you can boost your dosage to help fight off the infection. Echinacea comes in capsules, tinctures, tea and many other forms, making it easy to take for all ages.
Rich in antioxidants, the compounds in elderberry can prevent viruses from attacking our cells and reduce inflammation. Elderberry has been known to shorten the duration of a cold and also help reduce the severity of the symptoms. It is a great product to have at home because kids from age 2 to adults can take it. It comes in syrup, tinctures, gummies, capsules, tea and lozenges.
Oil of oregano contains powerful antimicrobial compounds which inhibit bacteria, fungi, and parasites. It is also full of free-radical fighting antioxidants. It is known for its strong, peppery flavor and it can be used at the onsite of symptoms. It is a great product to use when you are fighting off a cold and have symptoms like a sore throat, it can be incredibly soothing. Oregano isn't suitable for children, but adults are able to take it. It is available in capsules or liquid and the capsules are a great option for traveling or if you want to skip the taste.
Known to increase immune cell activity, production and function, this adaptogen can also help the body adapt to stress, which is another important way to support the immune system. It also has anti-viral properties so it can be used to fight off cold or flu symptoms. However, it works best taken regularly as a preventative. So if you are wanting to boost your immune system before the cold and flu season hits, try taking it in capsule form or in a tincture before the season starts and continue throughout.
Stimulating various cells of the immune system, medicinal mushrooms are powerhouses of immune support. They are also natural antibiotics, amazingly shown to only attack harmful bacteria, leaving the beneficial bacteria in your gut — where close to 80% of your immune system resides. If you are wanting to add some medicinal mushrooms, try any of these five: Maitake, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, Reishi and Chaga. They all have their own unique benefits, but overall are great for boosting the immune system. They can be taken in capsules, tea or tincture.
Support your hard-working immune system with any of these powerful herbs for your healthiest winter yet.