[ Herbal Immunity Helpers: An Ounce of Prevention ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
Spring and summer allergies may be behind many of us, but a new seasonal threat lurks around the corner with the turning of the calendar — viruses that trigger colds and flu.
Now is the time to defend yourself against these invading bugs, before they can get a foothold and compromise your immune system.

[ Herbal Immunity Helpers: Restoration & Preservation ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

a. restoration &

"Nature alone can cure disease. Doctors cannot heal. They can only direct the sufferer back to the pathways of health. Nature alone can create, and healing is re-creation."
—William S. Sadler

Before Dr. Sadler earned his reputation as a noted psychiatrist, surgeon and the author of more than 40 books dedicated to holistic health, he spent several years under the tutorship of John Harvey Kellogg, another renowned 20th century American physician and the co-founder of the classic breakfast cereal made from toasted corn.

Although the pair promoted the restoration and preservation of health from a dietary standpoint, the younger, in particular, drew upon the philosophy embraced by Native American wisdom that recognizes a distinction between a healing and a cure. An understanding of this concept is passed on to every school-age child today when taught that another famous American figure, Benjamin Franklin, wisely cautioned that, “an ounce of prevention is greater than a pound of cure.”

[ Herbal Immunity Helpers: Preemptive & Precautionary ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

b. preemptive &

This means it’s not necessary – nor advisable – to wait until you stumble out of bed one morning complaining of a sore throat, fever, chills and body aches. At that point, the defense system engineered to protect you from invading bacteria and viruses has already fallen under attack.

If you arm yourself now, however, you can provide the soldiers of your immune system, namely the organs, connective tissue, hormones (lymphocytes) and white blood cells that fight off germs that can make you sick, with extra ammunition to win the battle before it can start.

So, in addition to adhering to a balanced diet low in fat and abundant in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, consider adding certain herbs to your daily regimen in the form of tea, capsule or tincture to beef up your immunity.

As with all medicines, exercise common sense. Consult a qualified health care practitioner before using any supplement if you take pharmaceutical medications, have a chronic condition or if you are pregnant or nursing.

Some Herbal Helpers ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
[ Herbal Immunity Helpers: Infusions & Decoctions ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

c. infusions &

If swallowing a capsule isn’t your thing, sip a few cups of herbal tea each day instead. For each cup of tea, steep 1 tablespoon of dried herb in a cup of boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.

Dried roots and bark need to be decocted first to release their beneficial compounds. This simply means to simmer the plant material in boiling water on the stovetop for 10 minutes or so. Then strain off the herb and drink the reserved liquid as tea.

[ Herbal Immunity Helpers: Cleavers ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

Also known as mutton chops, goosegrass and stickywilly, cleavers (Galium aparine) was once used as bedstraw, or mattress filling. In traditional medicine, the herb is used as a diuretic to increase urine output. Herbalist Richo Cech, author of Making Plant Medicine, says that the herb improves lymph drainage, which reduces inflammation and counters swollen glands. Because this herb is slightly bitter, it is usually combined with more palatable herbs such as peppermint when taken as tea.

[ Herbal Immunity Helpers: Eleuthero ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is more commonly known as Siberian ginseng. For more than 2,000 years, eleuthero has been used in Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent and to stimulate an increased production of NK (natural killer) cells to thwart the effects of toxins. It is classified as an adaptogen, which means that it helps to restore balance in all of the systems of the body to achieve what is technically known as a state of homeostasis.

[ Herbal Immunity Helpers: Infusions & Decoctions ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

[ Herbal Immunity Helpers: Eleuthero ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng, has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda, the traditional system of healing in India. In addition to use as a immune system helper, ashwagandha is frequently used in Ayurvedic medicine to combat fatigue and nervousness associated with stress.

[ Herbal Immunity Helpers: Astragalus Root ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company
astragalus root

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus and Astragalus mongholicus) is another herb widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve immune function by stimulating the spleen and liver. Although astragalus is taken as tea or in capsule form, the Chinese often add the sliced, fresh root to soups, sometimes in combination with licorice or ginseng. The dried root can also be added to foods or taken as tea or tincture.

[ Herbal Immunity Helpers: Echinacea ] ~ from Monterey Bay Herb Company

Three species of this herb are used in traditional healing systems: Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea pallida and Echinacea purpurea. Also known as purple coneflower, this member of the daisy family has a long history of use to boost immunity and lymphatic function. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the above-ground parts of the plant have a higher concentration of polysaccharides that are responsible for stimulating the immune system, while the roots contain more volatile oils. In Germany, echinacea leaf is approved and commonly used to treat upper respiratory tract infections and preparations made from the root to ease flu symptoms.