Last Updated on January 3, 2024 by Richard
I have these five herbs in my house. Four of them I eat every day and the other one is used occasionally for boosting immune health as needed.
In today’s context, prioritizing our immunity has gained increased significance, and fortunately, enhancing our immune system can be simple and inexpensive.
Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RDN, the author of The SuperfoodsRx Diet , emphasizes that the key to a robust immune system lies in the foods we choose.
According to a 2020 study in Integrative Medicine, herbs and spices emerge as potent dietary tools for immune support with their centuries-old history of medicinal use.
While further research is warranted to pinpoint the specific benefits of individual herbs and spices on the immune system, Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN, author of Eat Your Vitamins and based in Rye, New York, underscores that the therapeutic properties, when combined with a healthful and diverse diet, contribute to bolstering overall immune function. This includes the potential benefits of immune support extracts.
Boosting Immune Health with The Potent Benefits of Curcumin in Turmeric
I put turmeric in some cooked foods and I take curcumin capsules with each meal.
Curcumin, the primary active compound found in turmeric, stands out for its remarkable potency. A review and meta-analysis featured in the Journal of Functional Foods highlight its robust anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, demonstrating its ability to enhance oxidative stress markers positively.
Oxidative stress, characterized by an imbalance between free radicals (unstable molecules often generated by environmental pollutants) and antioxidants (molecules countering free radicals), poses a threat, as outlined in an article in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.
This imbalance can lead to damage to various cells in the body, prompting the immune system to trigger inflammation.
Ongoing research suggests a potential link between the immune system’s response to oxidative stress and autoimmune disorders, as discussed in a publication from March 2022 in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.
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Echinacea: Harnessing Traditional Wisdom for Modern Immune Support
I only take echinacea when I need a boost, which is pretty rare. It should only be taken for a few days at a time because its effectiveness is reduced by long term use.
The Native Americans historically utilized Echinacea, a flowering plant native to North America, for its medicinal properties, as the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) documented.
In contemporary times, this herb has transitioned into a promoted dietary supplement, particularly for addressing the common cold and various infections, as endorsed by the NCCIH.
Echinacea is believed to contain active compounds that stimulate the immune system, potentially leading to shortened durations of colds and flu while also providing relief from symptoms like sore throat, cough, and fever, as highlighted by Mount Sinai (A medical organization).
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Ginger: Boosting Immune Health with A Time-Honored Spice Having Modern Health Benefits:
I put ground ginger in my cooked foods or take a capsule of ginger with a meal.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale), a fixture in traditional medicine alongside numerous other herbs and spices, has been relied upon for centuries to address ailments such as headaches, colds, nausea, and vomiting, as outlined in a Complementary Therapies in Medicine paper.
Recent research lends credence to the historical uses of ginger. A study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology demonstrated that fresh ginger could inhibit plaque formation caused by the human respiratory syncytial virus, a common respiratory virus associated with mild cold-like symptoms.
The compounds within ginger, notably gingerol and shogaol, showcase antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, according to the International Journal of Preventive Medicine findings.
These attributes contribute to fortifying the body’s defenses, potentially protecting a spectrum of chronic diseases.
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Cinnamon: A Flavorful Spice Packed with Powerful Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
I put cinnamon in my green tea. I mix them together in an effort to keep the cinnamon from floating before adding hot water. After several cups, the green tea powder is worn out. During that last cup of tea I make sure to eat the leftover green tea and cinnamon.
Cinnamon, celebrated for its warming flavor, is renowned for its exceptional antioxidant properties, surpassing even mint, ginger, and licorice, as revealed by a study, notes Largeman-Roth.
Additionally, cinnamon, derived from Cinnamomum, boasts anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory benefits, according to Largeman-Roth.
The primary active compound, E-cinnamaldehyde, has been identified in research published in Food & Function, showcasing potent anti-inflammatory effects.
Peppermint: A Flavonoid-Rich Herb for Boosting Immune Health
I drink peppermint tea every day. I make sure to swallow the peppermint leaves when I get to the bottom of the cup.
Peppermint, a natural hybrid of water mint and spearmint, is more than just a refreshing herb; it’s a source of various flavonoids and plant compounds with positive impacts on immune health.
Described by Bazilian as “housekeepers,” flavonoids play a vital role in maintaining order in the body by enhancing, repairing when possible, and eliminating debris.
In addition to flavonoids, peppermint contains menthol, a compound recognized for its anesthetic (numbing) and analgesic effects, as highlighted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
This property has led to the standard addition of menthol in over-the-counter cold and flu treatments. According to Bazilian, menthol’s effects extend to opening or relaxing the airways, providing additional respiratory benefits.
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In wrapping up, the path to boosting our immune health introduces us to various natural herbal remedies, each bringing its unique strengths.
Whether it’s the powerful anti-inflammatory kick from curcumin in turmeric, the immune-boosting qualities of Echinacea, or the versatile benefits of ginger, cinnamon, and peppermint, Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet is brimming with options.
These herbal remedies, rooted in traditional knowledge and backed by modern research, highlight how plant compounds like flavonoids and active elements such as menthol play crucial roles in strengthening our body’s defenses.
By embracing these natural allies, we not only enhance the flavors in our meals but also take charge of actively supporting our immune systems.
Exploring the diverse world of herbal remedies allows us to connect with the timeless wisdom that nature generously provides, promoting a well-rounded approach to immune health.
In this journey, we also recognize the significance of immune support extracts, further emphasizing the holistic care we can offer our bodies.