Your immune system is a complex network of cells, organs and antibodies that protects you from infections. When this delicate system is weakened by a lack of proper nutrition or exposure to toxins, viruses and bacteria, you become vulnerable to a host of diseases and health complications.
Fortunately, one way you can strengthen your body’s natural defenses is by eating clean, nutritious foods. Boost your immune system by supplementing your diet with these herbs and spices.
Echinacea is a popular herb mainly used to reduce cold and flu symptoms, like sore throat, cough and fever, due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Echinacea is widely used around the world to treat a range of diseases and infections, including tonsillitis, gum disease, genital herpes, rheumatism and urinary tract infection.
Ginseng is a highly potent antioxidant used as an herbal remedy in traditional Chinese medicine. Ginsenosides and gintonin are two compounds found exclusively in ginseng that have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. Additionally, ginseng may help improve brain functions and regulate mood.
Garlic is known for its powerful anti-microbial properties that help fight infection and reduce cold and flu symptoms. It contains active compounds that have been shown to reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
Bell peppers are rich sources of the anti-carcinogenic chemical lycopene, the bright red carotenoid hydrocarbon that gives foods like tomatoes their vibrant color. It is also found to have antioxidant properties that help reduce the risk of heart disease. Moreover, bell peppers contain beta-carotene, which possesses anti-inflammatory properties. The combination of the two naturally occurring compounds can be beneficial in keeping the lungs clear and healthy.
Like ginseng, ginger is also used to relieve colds and symptoms of the flu. As an antioxidant, it can reduce swelling and control blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. Ginger has also been shown to reduce the amount of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Turmeric is known across Asia for its remarkable antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, is a bright yellow chemical that gives turmeric its potent properties that help fight bacterial and viral infections.
Ginkgo biloba is a common ingredient in many popular herbal supplements due to its antioxidant properties. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the leaves and seeds of the ginkgo biloba tree are used to reduce inflammation in conditions like arthritis, stroke and heart disease.
The ganoderma, also known as reishi mushroom, is a popular fungi used in Eastern medicine to treat infections and lower cholesterol levels. The ganoderma has long been attributed to longevity as well, since it helps white blood cells destroy disease-causing pathogens more effectively.
Astragalus is also a widely used herb in TCM. The active anti-viral compounds in astragalus are believed to help strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation. Astragalus itself is an adaptogen. In herbal medicine, an adaptogen is a plant extract that strengthens the body’s ability to withstand the damaging effects of physical, mental and emotional stress. In addition, astragalus is used to prevent colds and bronchial infections.
Cat’s claw is a tropical woody vine native to the jungles of South and Central America. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is widely used as an herbal supplement to relieve symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
A strong immune system plays an important role in keeping your body healthy and disease-free. Include nutritious foods, herbs and spices in your diet today.