Cooking: herbs, salt, pepper and garlic

5 Herbs to Boost Your Immune System

As we head into the winter, COVID-19 continues to spread at an alarming rate. Focusing on our overall health and wellness is more important now than ever, and boosting immune health, in particular, is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Truthfully, this should be a priority even without the threat of coronavirus. Taking action to boost our immune system should always be something we’re thinking about and constantly striving to achieve. 

There are many reliable ways to boost immunity, such as upping our intake of vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc; keeping up with a healthy diet; making sure to get enough sleep; and exercising regularly. But sure enough, even if you practice these healthy habits, every once in a while a pesky cold will prevail. And then there’s the 2020 pandemic, the spread of a virus that has managed to make its way into the bodies of countless healthy people. What gives?!

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magic pill that gave us all instant immunity to all the illnesses that pop up during cold and flu season? Of course it would! But as we know, that’s not the case. Sure, your medicine cabinet may be filled with pills and medications that your doctors have suggested in the past, but here at Tunie’s, your go-to natural grocery store and wellness center in Coral Springs, we prefer herbal medicines over prescription medicines. 

We encourage you to look for ways to boost your immune responses using natural remedies, and there are many herbs out there that work wonders. Herbs that also have antiviral properties defend against various viruses and infections, support cardiovascular and digestive health, and help with inflammation in the body.

As you can see, herbs can be beneficial to our health in many different ways. Here are five of our favorite herbs that can be used to boost immune system function:

Astragalus Root

This lesser-known root is very common in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), often combined with other herbs. It’s known to have both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and can help boost the body’s resistance to infection. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Help (NCCIH), astragalus root has been used as a dietary supplement to aid with a variety of conditions such as upper respiratory infections, hay fever, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, and chronic kidney disease. Generally speaking, it is said to have the ability to both strengthen and regulate the immune system. 

Astragalus root is available in capsule or liquid form, or if you can find the actual root, you can actually grind it into a powder and brew it into tea. Additionally, the herb can also be applied topically to improve blood flow and heal wounds more quickly. 

Echinacea

This herb is one of nine types of coneflowers native to North America, all of which are used for medicinal purposes. It’s believed to have a variety of benefits, including reducing viral infections and tumors, relieving pain and inflammation, and generally supporting the immune system and boosting immune function If taken right when symptoms start to occur, echinacea is good for acute respiratory infections because it can decrease the levels of cytokines that worsen inflammation and respiratory infections. You can also take it as a precaution, if you feel like you may have been exposed to potentially harmful germs and could get sick.

Echinacea is available in liquid or powder form. It can be taken as is or stirred into tea.

Garlic

Garlic is a staple spice in just about every kitchen, but did you know that it can be used for way more than simply sprucing up a dish’s flavor and aroma? Garlic is said to be incredibly important for the gut and digestive system, helping to fight off parasites and worms, as well as bacteria that can cause food poisoning. It’s also said to have the ability to fight against viral infections, as well as infections in the chest and respiratory system.

So, go on — eat that second helping of garlicky whole grain pasta or seasoned chicken, and don’t be afraid to add another clove to your homemade salad dressing or sauce. It’s adding much more than just extra taste and smell; it’s providing a boost to your immune system. If you prefer not to eat garlic, it is also available as a capsule.

Ginseng

This root has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and has been widely accepted into Northern American alternative medicine as well. One variety of ginseng, known as Panax ginseng or Korean ginseng, has been shown to enhance not only the immune system, but also psychological function. That may explain why this particular root is said to help regulate how our bodies respond to stress. Too much stress can wreak havoc on the immune system. 

Ginseng can also help to balance the immune system by regulating immune cells, such as natural killer cells and white blood cells, whose main functions are to identify and destroy harmful threats to the body. 

Ginseng is available as a capsule, and there are also many teas made using ginseng root.

Reishi Mushrooms

No, not the Baby Bellas or Shiitake mushrooms you buy at the grocery store to whip up a nice chicken marsala dish with. Reishi mushrooms are a type of mushroom, also known as Lingzhi, that have been said to stimulate cells in the immune system. This increases the cells’ ability to recognize and fight off infections and other diseases, including cancer. Reishi mushrooms have also been shown to improve blood circulation, which in turn improves our overall health, and some varieties can be used to treat conditions such as anxiety, high blood pressure, and insomnia.

Reishi mushroom is available in capsule or powder form.

Boost Your Immune System at Tunie’s

As South Florida’s everyday low-priced natural foods market, Tunie’s has you covered for all your health and wellness needs. You’ll find various herbs and herbal medicines, natural food and beverages, and a variety of other items stocked with your health in mind. Visit us in Coral Springs, and let us provide you with everything you need to keep your immune system strong!

Disclaimer: As we are not medical professionals, please make sure to do your own research based on your personal health and consult with your healthcare provider before taking any of the supplements mentioned here or beginning a new health regimen.

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