Did you know that between 100-200 different viruses cause colds? Modern medicine has yet to find the cure. Antibiotics have been around since 1942 and have yet to cure a cold. Only the human immune system can whip a cold virus. This is why it is important to keep the immune system strong.
Poor diet, long-term stress, smoking, and lack of sleep can weaken the immune system. Other factors that weaken this system are food allergies, additives and chemicals in the food, exposure to pollutants and dry air in a heated building.
So what can you do now to boost your immune system before the flu season starts? You can start to include these foods in your diet. These are known to give strength to the germ fighters , foods like garlic, hot peppers, Shiitake mushrooms, green tea, and foods with high vitamin C content.
You can also power up your immune system with herbs and herbal combinations. Clinical research has shown herbs to be very effective in boosting the immune system and also killing off invaders. Listed are a few herbs that are important and worth learning more about.
ASTRAGALUS: This is a "tonic" herb which hails from China. (tonic means you can take it for a long period of time and actually strengthen the organs)It's Chinese name is Haung-qi or "yellow leader". This herb pumps up the immune system to fight off repeated colds or chronic bronchitis. Studies are showing that it enhances production of the T-cells and it also enhances the effect of other herbs.
This herb has been used for about 3,000 years..so it's not a "fad". The dried root can be sliced into soups and stews . It is also taken in capsule form. Do not take this herb if a fever is present.
ECHINACEA: This is the purple cone flower that is a native plant to the Plains and the Midwest. The Native Americans relied on this herb for their health and even treated rattlesnake bite with it. Studies have shown this herb to be high in poly-saccarides which stimulate a strong immune system response. Echinacea should be taken at the first sign of a cold or flu or fever. I even take this after I have received several mosquito bites, just to ward off anything that might have been transferred in the bite.
ELDERBERRY: This is a real warrior against invaders or viruses. Studies have shown that Elderberry can block the flu viruses from attaching to healthy cells. Elderbery tea is used in Israel in the hospitals to combat flu. Elderberries also bring the gifts of flavonoids, and Vitamin C. I make a pleasant elderberry tea blend called for my family. I drink this tea several times a week and we have not had to take antibiotics for over 15 years
GOLDENSEAL: This is another powerful germ fighter. The active constituents in this herb are berberine and hydrastine, two broad -spectrum antimicrobial and antibacterial agents. Goldenseal works by increasing the blood flow to the spleen, the organ that organizes the fighting cells of the immune system, you could call it command central . Studies have shown that Goldenseal effectively fights E.coli and Streptococcus.
A great herbal blend is Echinacea and Goldenseal, they work together to restore you back to health. After taking a round of Goldenseal one must replace the friendly flora to the lower G.I. tract. You can do this by eating yogurt or taking it in a supplement form.
VITAMIN C: Start upping your doses of Vitamin C now by consuming supplements and foods rich in vitamin C. Those foods would be berries, citrus, avocados, asparagus, collards,dandelion greens,mangos,pineapple, strawberries, green pepper,tomatoes. Alcohol, painkillers,antidepressants, birth control pills, and smoking all rob the body of Vitamin C.
ZINC: This is Viamin C's friend in building and maintain a strong immune system.Studies show that by upping your zinc intake you can cut colds in half . Another benefit is clear skin because zinc regulates the oil glands. Foods high in zinc are egg yolks,fish, kelp,lima beans,pecans,sardines,pumpkim seeds,oysters,seafood, soybeans.
* The information in this article should not replace the advice of your medical practitioner.
Lucinda Jenkins is an LPN & HC as well as a Reiki Practitioner.
She is the owner and Master Soapmaker at Glenbrook Farms Herbs and Such, an on-line herb and tea shop.
Copyright © 1998, Lucinda Jenkins