Herbs and functional foods for immune support

Herbs and functional foods for immune support

The most common health conditions that any health practitioner sees on a daily basis are infections, especially of the respiratory system. This is one area that natural medicine can offer the greatest compliment to pharmaceutical medicine as it can support a healthy immune system and largely prevent the majority of infections in young and old. The following synopsis on my immune health protocols are based on 25 years experience as a Medical Herbalist and have benefited thousands of clients worldwide.

Without the protection provided by a healthy immune system, we would not be able to survive the constant attacks from bacteria, fungus, viruses, as well as harmful cancer causing inflammatory reactions, free radicals and toxins from our diets, metabolism and environment. The complex functioning of immunity involves neutralizing and removing all potentially dangerous substances from our body. At different stages in our life we can experience lowered immunity and this makes us more susceptible to falling ill to conditions that our immune systems would normally handle easily on their own. This is where herbal medicine can be of great assistance in raising immunity and preventing disease. Our recommended immune enhancement protocol is achieved through a combination of botanicals, functional foods and system oriented support:

  1. Andrographis paniculata
  2. Curcuma longa / Curcumin
  3. Virgin Coconut Oil
  4. Adrenal Support

Andrographis paniculata (Hempedu Bumi)

Research has focused on its immune enhancing, liver protective and anti-viral properties, even against strains of the HIV virus.  It has shown positive immune enhancing activity in more than 500 laboratory, animal and human clinical trials. To see a summary of these Andrographis immunity studies please click here.

Curcuma longa (Kunyit or Turmeric)

Turmeric is the safest and most effective functional foods that we can consume to support immunity and freedom from disease. Turmeric and its active ingredient Curcumin have intrigued scientists for decades and there’s several thousand laboratory and clinical studies detailing their anti-tumor, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

These 2 herbs enhance immunity via:

  • Supporting a healthy immune system in infections – bacterial, viral & fungal
  • Assisting recovery in sore throat & tonsillitis
  • Assisting return to normal body temperature in fevers
  • Assisting antioxidant & anti-tumor/anti-cancer mechanisms
  • Reducing pain & inflammation
  • Protecting from harmful effects of environmental toxins, i.e. cigarette smoke, haze and industrial pollution

Virgin Coconut Oil

VCO is composed of more than 50% Lauric Acid that is converted in the body to Monolaurin, an antimicrobial agent that protects the immune system from infectious agents (see below). Monolaurin is found naturally in high concentrations only in breast milk and Virgin Coconut Oil. No other compound in nature has such a wide spectrum of antimicrobial effects while also being beneficial to human health. Virgin Coconut Oil and Monolaurin has been shown to have antimicrobial activity against: Herpes simplex types 1 & 2, Cytomegalovirus, Influenza, AIDS virus, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), Rubeola, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus A, F & G streptococci, Chlamydia, Heliobacter pylori, Multiple yeasts and fungi; Candida and ringworm. Odourless Coconut OIl can replace Virgin Coconut Oil in cooking so that the benefits of monolaurin can be enjoyed by the whole family every day.

Strengthening Adrenal Function.

Weakened immunity and frequent infections are often a sign of excess cortisol production due to physical or emotional stress. Getting to the root cause of lowered immunity involves strengthening adrenal function via making improvements to our diets and lifestyle. For more info click here.