Herbs for an immune system under pressure
Its getting to the pointy end of winter, people. We are truly in the thick of it. The tans have faded, its too cold for smoothie bowls and summer seems about four years ago and not likely to roll around for another four years. Unfortunately with the cooler weather comes the dreaded pummeling of the immune system with various winter ills.
We all know about the benefits of vitamin C ( there is a reason citrus is ready right now) and the immune herbs - echinacea and olive leaf for supporting an immune system under pressure but did you know that many of the "stress and energy herbs" have amazing actions to support a healthy immune system?
Yes indeed. In fact, there are many herbs that can say they support the healthy function of the immune system, either by directly promoting immune cell and mediator production, by being an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, by being toxic to microbes, by nutritionally supporting immune tissues and membranes, enhancing sweating or indirectly by reducing the stress response which has significant actions on the immune system.
The beauty of herbs and their numerous phytochemicals means that they often perform many of these duties! Don't get me started but this is why isolating one chemical from a plant often make them less effective! Anyway - lets have a wee breakdown of a few of the herbs that make up our most popular brew - Bliss Brew and how they can not only support a healthy outlook but also help to support a healthy robust immune system.
Turmeric - The yellow spice deserves pride of place in the herb gang. It is highly antioxidant and supports healthy inflammation balance alongside supporting the good immune fight on a cellular level.
Ashwagandha - One of Mistys' favourite herbs, ashwagandha is THE stress herb. In helping to support against the ill effects of stress, it in turn supports an immune system which may be affected by the hormonal outcome of long term stress. Ashwagandha is also thought to directly support immune function on a cellular level.
Astragalus - Not to be beaten in the immune stakes, the Chinese herb astragalus is really second to none for its beneficial effects in supporting healthy immunity. From the legume family, it contains immune supporting polysaccharides which support the body to have a healthy rapid response to a variety of immune assaults. It also supports the resolution of healthy energy levels after a period of illness. Some people believe astragalus is not to be used during acute illness so use it while you are well or at least 70% better.
He Shou Wu - Such a lovely grounding herb, he shou wu supports nourishment of the blood and also contains iron and zinc which are both essential for immune system function. This herb is revered as a rejuvenative herb for the entire system.
Ginger - Like turmeric, this commonplace herb may seem like just a flavour in biscuits or Chinese dishes but it is so beneficial. Ginger, like turmeric has powerful antioxidant actions alongside balancing inflammation. Ginger also has two more tricks up its sleeves - its helps to support a little spike in temperature to make the inner environs less pleasant for bugs and also as it has an expansive action, it aids in the delivery of all these other yummy herbs to where they need to go.
This is definitely the time when we start thinking about our immune system as we all start to come down with the bot and end up in bed. It is though important to realise that having a healthy robust immune system is not just about dosing up vitamin C in winter. Its about making healthy choices through out the year.