Top 4 Herbs For Immune Function
With the cold fall and winter months settling in, it’s time to start thinking about ways to boost your immune function. Luckily, Mother Nature has provided us with plenty of gifts from the Earth to support your body gently and naturally. Today I’m going to share my top 5 Immune Boosting Herbs and how you can incorporate them into your diet!
This super powered spice has become the darling of the health food and scientific research world, and for good reason! Used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, it’s affordable and super powered addition to the diet that has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and helps support phase 1 liver detoxification.
In addition to liver support, which is crucial for staying healthy and happy, this bright yellow spice has also been found to help support the immune system by modulating the activation of T cells, B cells, macrophages, neutrophils, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells.
All of these parts of the immune system function together to help keep you healthy, happy, and sniffle free all winter long!
It has very little flavour (unless you use too much then it starts to taste suspiciously like dirt, blech!) so you can add a sprinkling to stir fries, eggs, soups, salad dressings, smoothies, coffee, hot cocoa, or my personal favourite, is Turmeric Tea!
Related to turmeric, ginger also grows underground and provides a range of potent health benefits. Though you most likely think of ginger as solely an anti-nausea aid, it’s also a powerful immunosupportive food as well.
Some studies indicate that the volatile oils found in this spice can affect both cell-mediated immune responses and the nonspecific immune system.
It also has great antibacterial properties and one study showed that consuming fresh ginger provides protection against a virus that causes upper respiratory illness.
This broad spectrum approach to immune support gives all the more reason to include ginger in your diet as part of a delicious preventative health plan. You can check out some of my favourite ways to use ginger:
- Ginger Caramel
- Ginger Pear Ice Cream
- Low Carb Ginger Garlic Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Chewy Ginger Granola Bars
Excessive stress depletes immune function and leaves you prone to developing all the nasty colds and flus circulating through school or the office, which is why I love taking ashwagandha daily throughout the winter.
Long used in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic and general rejuvenator, ashwagandha has the reputation as an herbal preparation that promotes a youthful state of physical and mental health and expands happiness. Nutritionists and naturopaths refer to it as an adaptogen, whose primary function is supporting your body and adrenal glands during times of stress by enhancing your body’s natural resilience to physical and emotional stress.
Nothing says fall quite like the beautiful aroma of cinnamon! And luckily for your body, this powerful spice may help to inhibit the growth of certain influenza viruses! And it turns out the volatile oils responsible for its delicious scent also have amazing antimicrobial effects to help ward off any nasty bacteria that may be weakening your immune system. The fewer bacteria your immune system has to fight off during cold and flu season, the better off you’ll feel!
Since cinnamon tastes good in pretty much everything you can feel free to add it to sweet potato hash browns, your delicious Turmeric Tea, cookies, and smoothies!
Finally we come to one of the biggest powerhouse herbs out there when it comes to supporting your immune system. Echinacea is often used in herbal medicine as an anti-infective and immune strengthening tonic, and modern medicine is catching up! A meta-analysis showed that Echinacea may help in the prevention and treatment of the common cold, while more recent studies show that it may help decrease the duration and incidence of the common cold.
If you’re more prone to respiratory infections throughout the cold and flu season, then Echinacea has you covered on that front as well thanks to its immune-modulation, anti-viral & anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
One of my favourite ways to consume Echinacea is as a tea. I like to combine it with ginger, turmeric, and a honey for a super powerful anti-cold and flu remedy.
Armed with the bounty of Mother Nature’s medicinal herbs you’ll be well on your way to making it through cold and flu season with a strong immune system and hopefully fewer illnesses!