People have been using herbs for immune support for centuries. The idea of tinctures and teas may seem like witchy woo-woo, but herbalism maintains a thriving corner of modern medicine.
And just as there are foods that give your health a boost, you can find quite a few herbs that benefit your body and mind. So let’s head out of the kitchen and into the garden, to check out my Top 5 favorite herbs for staying in tip-top shape right now.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea and angustifolia)
This little flowering plant is perhaps one of the most well-known and most extensively studied herbs. I would even bet you might have tried it once or twice before. And like many herbs, it was used by Native Americans for centuries and brought back into popularity in the US in the 1800s.
Echinacea, also known as purple coneflower, is used to support acute and continual immune health. Studies have shown that various parts of different Echinacea species are active in different ways; that’s why they are used together. Echinacea supports a healthy immune response at onset.
I find that Echinacea is most helpful when used at the onset of symptoms. I often use it in combination with the next herb on the list, Astragalus.
Astragalus (Astragalus Membranaceua)
As I mentioned, I often use this herb for immune support in combination with Echinechea. Studies show that it supports immunity on a deep cellular level. It has antioxidant effects that inhibit free radical production. In the body, free radicals damage cells and are linked to many health problems associated with aging.
Astragalus has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Its main use has been to boost the body’s immune system. It’s also an amazing adaptogenic herb that supports your body’s adrenals by helping your body better adapt to daily stress. It helps promote a healthy resistance to physical and emotional stressors.
And if that’s not enough, Astragalus has been used to support the liver and treat other conditions including heart disease.
Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
Black Elderberry is a potent combination of immune support and powerful antioxidants. It has a high concentration of anthocyanins—the antioxidants that give it that deep purple color—and other flavonoids.
Native Americans used the branches of Black Elderberry to make flutes, so it is sometimes called “the tree of music.” Often used to flavor jams, syrups and wine, this tart, bright purple berry provides (delicious!) daily immune support throughout the entire season.
Whenever I feel a lil something coming on, I always start with a tablespoon of Sambucus Elderberry Syrup a few times a day. I’m telling you, not only does it taste great, it’s one of my secret weapons to ward off colds and flu.
Oregano Oil (Origanum vulgare)
In Greek, Oregano (Origanum vulgare) means “joy of the mountain,” and it’s certainly a treat to eat. It’s been used for centuries in European kitchens, but this herb has had an equally long history as an immune system booster.
As a concentrated oil, it’s loaded with powerful antioxidant compounds called phenols, terpenes, and terpenoids that have proven health benefits.
Oregano oil contains phytochemicals that support the body’s natural resistance. It’s also known to help support a healthy microbiome in the intestines and a healthy immune response. Plus, It’s a natural antibiotic and antifungal agent and may help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol levels. I mean, that’s a win-win-win.
Olive Leaf (Olea europaea)
While much attention is given to the heart-supporting aspects and antioxidant support of olives and olive oil, Olive leaf also helps maintain immune function with antioxidant support. Research suggests that olive leaf extract inhibits the replication of viruses that cause colds, influenza and lower respiratory tract infections. It does so by stimulating phagocytosis – the body’s response to a viral infection.
I find that gargling olive leaf tea helps combat the beginning of a sore throat – probably because it reduces inflammation and viral infectivity. Olive leaf’s active constituent oleuropein also supports cardiovascular health, so there’s another heart-happy herb for your kitchen and medicine cabinet.
Have you used herbs for immune support before? Which herb has been the most beneficial? Let me know about your experience by posting a comment in the Badass Beauty Club on Facebook.
LOVE + plant power!