There is never a bad time to boost the immune system. Whether you are worried about the new coronavirus variant, seasonal allergies, or a cold circulating the office, there are myriad ways to strengthen immune response. Where do you turn for immune support, though? There are supplements, diets, specific foods, and therapies that offer support, but the herbs in this article show a lot of promise.
As it turns out, Mother Nature herself can be very beneficial in your quest to enhance immune function. Many wellness experts support the idea of using specific herbs and plants to fight off pathogens, allergens, bacteria, and viruses. These things may not be the cure-all solution you want, but studies confirm their ability to improve immunity. Read on to learn about three herbs that give you immune support throughout the year.
Milk thistle is known for promoting liver detoxification, but how does that aid immune function? Well, the liver is responsible for purifying blood and removing toxins from the body, but it also has to break down histamine, which milk thistle can help with. In fact, people used milk thistle seed extract for centuries to treat hepatic conditions by protecting intact liver cells. Having a healthy liver can help you improve immune response. Several studies found that milk thistle has immunomodulatory effects. The silymarin in milk thistle stimulates the immune system, but it also acts as a suppressive to an overactive immune system. This is extremely beneficial if you deal with chronic inflammation and inflammatory conditions like allergic rhinitis and asthma. More human studies could help scientists determine if milk thistle benefits the immune system, and overall health, in other ways.
Turmeric is a favorite superfood for many reasons. It may help to boost memory, reduce inflammation, and optimize immune function. Researchers attribute turmeric’s health properties to the active compound curcumin, which exhibits antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which support the immune system. One study found that curcumin supplementation may work to lower levels of several acute-phase proteins. These proteins occur when the immune system is in a state of hyper-activation, which can damage your health. The chronic activation of these proteins can suppress the body’s natural antiviral defenses. Curcumin works to normalize certain parts of the immune system that become overactive, helping to keep the immune system functioning optimally and normally.
It stings the body in just the right way! Even though nettle is annoying for gardeners and an enemy to bare skin, it does exhibit powerful health benefits. Well, it has a long history of supporting upper-respiratory health and anti-inflammatory pathways. The leaves of this notorious spring green, just like milk thistle, may support liver detoxification. Several studies also identified that nettle can increase both red and white blood cell counts, an ability that contributes to optimal immune function. One animal study found that nettle was an immune response modulator, stimulating the proliferation of T lymphocytes in vitro. These T-cells are powerful white blood cells that play an integral role in adaptive immune response. More human research is necessary, but preliminary research suggests that it is a great herb to support a healthy immune system.
These herbs may be the unsung heroes of year-round immune support. As is customary with taking any new supplement or herb, consult your doctor to see if these herbs are right for you. As we’ve discussed in this article, these herbs help to support upper-respiratory health, promote anti-inflammatory pathways, and nourish the liver. Enhance their efforts by maintaining a healthy diet, getting sufficient sleep, and exercising regularly.