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Herbs and Immune Response

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

Herbs and Immune response

In times of infectious challenges and maverick viruses, there is no better time than to turn to the proven and trusted herbal remedies used over thousands of years. These remedies were used long before today’s modern medicine. There is even a well-known formula called Thieves Oil, which was believed to keep the thieves safe whilst they raided the bodies of dead Bubonic plaque victims in 1413.

Most of these herbs are still in use today and indeed many of them are ‘weeds’ or garden and culinary herbs. It is no coincidence that they exist in proliferation in order to supply us with an abundance of natural medicines. Whilst there are too many herbal remedies to discuss in a quick informative read, let us discuss five important ones used to support the immune system. All the herbs mentioned are easily obtainable and come in capsules, tablets and tinctures from most health shops.

Olive leaf extract, with its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, would probably top my list of favourites, due to its ability to fight bacteria, viruses and fungus/mould infections whilst balancing the immune system. When it is uncertain if the infection is viral, bacterial or otherwise, this wonderful leaf will be effective. As it is an immune modulator (balancing as opposed to boosting) is also very safe for people with auto-immune conditions.

Echinacea deserves a definite mention. All of the plant, especially the root has proven white cell immune boosting effects, (so may not be suitable for autoimmune conditions), so encourages the body’s defence system to attack a variety of pathogens, whilst proving to be a valuable blood/lymphatic cleanser. It is no surprise that this herb is high in vitamin D, vitamin C and zinc – the very nutrients known to keep the immune system strong. People allergic to ragweed may not be able to use this herb.

Plants, like Astragalus, are useful to prevent illness and build up immunity. This wonderful, stimulating and strengthening herb contains vitamins A, B, C, E, and many minerals including selenium, also needed by the immune system. It will diminish weakness, build resilience and help nervous conditions, whilst balancing and nourishing the immune system.

Cat’s Claw is a lesser known plant which grows mostly in the Amazon rain forest. It is remarkable for its ability to rid the body of the resistant strep bacteria in throat infections. It is also known for its capability to rid Babesia and Bartonella bacterial infections as well as the infamous Epstein Barr virus. It is also very helpful for irritable bowel, leaky gut and inflammatory conditions, including arthritis.

Lastly, I have selected Pelargonium, due to its wonderful upper respiratory action, and the fact that it is an indigenous South African plant. It is a traditional remedy used for many years by the Zulus, Basuto and Xhosas as a cure for coughs, respiratory tract irritations. Today, it is shown to rapidly improve the symptoms of bronchitis, sinusitis and pneumonia, including headaches, fever and fatigue. It is also antiviral and prevents viruses from multiplying and attaching to the cells of the mucous membranes

As with all herbals, caution should be exercised with nursing and pregnant woman, as their use has not been properly evaluated in these cases. This article is not intended to treat any health conditions and the advice of a qualified health practitioner is recommended.

By Janet Nagel, Wellness Practitioner.

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