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Home / Articles / Columnists / Healthy Living /  Mother Nature’s Most Powerful Herbal Immune Boosters
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Tuesday, February 4,2020

Mother Nature’s Most Powerful Herbal Immune Boosters

By Karen Ellis-Ritter  
It’s winter, and people are sick with colds and flus all around us. It’s an important time to preemptively give ourselves a natural immune boost. Let’s face it – antibiotics are overused, if not abused.

Repeated or long-term antibiotic use can destroy our gut biome, and kill the good bacteria along with the bad, leaving us with an overgrowth of Candida, leaky gut, and other dangerous conditions. When they are truly needed they can be miraculous, but it is wise to try the less risky, natural approach first, so we can still rely on antibiotics’ efficacy when we truly need them. Here is my list of go-to antimicrobial herbs to boost immunity during precarious times when exposure to illness is high:

Oregano Oil is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, antiinflammatory, and rich in antioxidants. It is one of the most potent natural treatments for colds, flu, various infections, and respiratory illnesses. It has an incredibly strong flavor, so I highly recommend you get it in capsules (veggie caps or plant-derived gel caps, of course!) Take it with food, as some people might experience stomach upset if taken on an empty stomach.

Echinacea flower is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to improve immunity, reduce inflammation, and lower blood sugar levels. You can find it in liquid (tincture) form, as a dried tea, or in capsules.

Goldenseal root has a multitude of healing applications, including treating colds, various respiratory issues, stomach issues, and immunosuppressed infections. It is often popularly paired with Echinacea.

Cat’s Claw comes from the root and bark of a woody vine found in the tropical jungles of South and Central America. It has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic properties, and is popularly used to treat arthritic symptoms, various digestive system and bowel disorders, as well as viral infections. It is thought to stimulate the immune system, fight viruses, and even fight cancer cells!

Astragalus is a root-derived herb that is most popularly used in traditional Chinese medicine for its immune-boosting, anti-aging, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory effects. Astragalus purportedly helps to lower blood sugar levels, aids in achieving weight loss, and is also used to treat many autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis

Elderberries (Sambucus) have potent antioxidant qualities and boost the immune system, diminishing the duration and severity of coughs, colds and flu, as well as other bacterial and viral infections. Other popular uses include helping to lower cholesterol and improve vision.

Olive Leaf Extract, also known as Oleuropein, has been commonly used to help lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. In clinical trials, it was shown to have disease-fighting characteristics, helping to treat cancerous tumors and prevent inflammation, another major promoter of tumor growth.

Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is rich in essential oils and antioxidants and has powerful antimicrobial properties that can protect your body from oxidative damage and aid in fighting off infections. This is a very bitter-tasting product and I recommend getting it in capsule form. Or take the drops in a sweet juice like orange.

Please note: If you are taking probiotics, make sure that you stagger them (at least two hours before or after taking these supplements), as their efficacy may be reduced when taken together.

Next month I will talk about the most potent immune-boosting mushrooms. Stay tuned!

 

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