If you want to be healthy, there is one thing that you have to do first. You have to maintain your immune system at its highest functioning. This means that for you to keep this system functional, it requires boosting every once in a while.
The use of drugs and processed chemicals is not very appealing. While they may seem to work, they usually cause some undesirable side effect. The good news is there are 10 best herbs for the immune system to boost and improve its function.
But before we reveal them you need to understand your immune system and how it functions.
What is an Immune System?
Simply defined, this is what defends you against diseases. This defense mechanism works to detect and destroy bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause disease.
The role of the immune system is to keep the body healthy by destroying what it perceives to be non-self.
When the body mistakes normal tissue for non-self and begins to attack the tissue in an attempt to destroy it, the result is an autoimmune disease.
Common Autoimmune Diseases
Building Blocks Of Your Immune System
Your immune system is made up of the following components:
This is what health professionals call immunoglobulin. It is a protein which has a very distinctive Y shape. Antibodies are mainly produced by the plasma cells. Their major function is to neutralize any pathogens which might be present in your body.
The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is made up of various vessels and lymph nodes. Its function is to transport nutrients, waste material, and lymph fluid between your bloodstream and body tissues.
As the lymph fluid flows through the lymph nodes, its job is to filter foreign viruses and bacteria, it cannot recognize as being healthy to your body. Once the lymph nodes have filtered and trapped the harmful micro-organisms, lymphocytes will destroy them.
This is the soft tissue located inside all your long bones that form part of your legs and arms. The bone marrow is also located in your pelvic bones and the vertebrae. Bone marrow is made up of two parts:
The red marrow – This produces platelets and both the white and red blood cells.
Yellow Marrow – This is largely made up of connective tissue and fat. The yellow marrow is also capable of producing a limited number of white blood cells.
The spleen has two major functions in maintaining your health:
The first one is purifying your blood by removing any damaged blood cells.
Second, it aids in the destruction of any foreign bacteria present in your body.
White Blood Cells
These usually act as the soldiers in your body. Once an infection has developed, these cells will attack the microorganism causing this infection and destroy them. This will initiate the healing process.
Ayurveda and The Immune System
In Ayurveda, good immunity depends on good digestion, liver functioning and a substance called Ojas. Ojas is the foundation of the immune system. It is a Sanskrit word that is difficult-to-define but it means “vigor.” The reason it is difficult to define is that it’s the essence of our 7 body tissues and an extremely subtle substance that is dependant on many factors.
The amount of Ojas you have depends on the quality of your digestive strength, past trauma, stress levels, and lifestyle choices.
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What Weakens Your Immune System?
When your immune system is not functioning as well as it should, complications will arise. You will find that you are catching diseases more often than usual. This is because your body can’t fight off pathogens. But, what are the reasons behind your body having low immunity?
Every time you get stressed, your body starts to produce cortisol which is the stress hormone. The primary job of cortisol is to prepare your body to free from the perceived threat. For cortisol to achieve this, it will lower the protein your body requires to signal other immune cells.
This leads to a suppressed immune system because it reduces the lymphocytes in your body. With a reduced number of lymphocytes, your body can more easily pick up diseases.
If you don’t exercise, your immune system will get compromised. Science has proved that when you exercise regularly, you help the neutrophils function in a more effective way. Neutrophils are cell types which help to destroy harmful microorganisms.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
When you deprive yourself of sleep, the result is not just yawning throughout the day. Sleep deprivation will affect your immune system in a negative way. Sleep is one of the three pillars of health. Studies prove there is a high likelihood of you becoming sick if you don’t get enough sleep every night.
Lack of Nutrition
Your immune system requires nutrients for it to function correctly. When you eat junk food, polyunsaturated fats, and too much sugar you will suppress your immune system. These foods usually inhibit phagocytosis. Phagocytosis is the process of your white blood cells working to destroy pathogens.
Some of the drugs that your doctor prescribes may be working against your immune system. For example, research has shown that antibiotics reduce levels of cytokines. Cytokines are hormones which usually act as messengers in your immune system.
Also, the majority of medications have toxins that reduce the functioning of the good bacteria found in your gut. These bacteria are especially beneficial in keeping your body immune.
Excess alcohol in your body will reduce the number of white blood cells present. When your body has a reduced number of white blood cells, it becomes more vulnerable to diseases.
Signs That Tell You Your Immune System Needs a Boost
Waking up every morning tired is a huge indicator that your immune system is compromised.
If you have allergies, it’s a huge indicator that your immune system is not functioning the way it should and it needs boosting.
Pathogens will find it easy to invade your digestive system when your body defense mechanism is down. This will lead to a lot of digestive problems.
A compromised immune system may sometimes behave abnormally. This system may result in attacking your red blood cells thinking them as harmful foreign bodies. This will lead to anemia.
Loss of Hair
Best Herbs For The Immune System
Made in a base of Amalaki fruit, Chyavanprash is an herbal jam with a super-concentrated mix of over 40 vitamins and mineral rich, anti-aging herbs.
The formula improves digestion, helps to protect your body from stress and supports the immune system. One daily serving of this nutritive jam has more than 30 times more than vitamin c than oranges. It protects the body from bacterial, viral, and fungal infections and supports vitality, energy, and well-being.
It has many uses to boost your immune system which includes:
- If you have troubles with your digestion, Chyavanprash is a perfect solution
- Chyavanprash will protect you against flu and common colds
- Helps to relieve stress
- Helps to purify the blood and promotes the elimination of toxins
Many sources report the formula has no specific side-effects. But because Chyavanprash can increase Pitta dosha, take caution if you suffer from Pitta symptoms like diarrhea.
Turmeric is from the same family as ginger and its immune health benefits are many. It is a orange root-like rhizome from Asia that gives yellow curry its color.
The root boosts the immune system through anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. Studies have shown Turmeric to have anti-carcinogenic properties thanks to the active compound called Curcumin.
Turmeric’s healing benefits include:
- Boosts white blood cells
- Supports metabolism
- Detoxifies your body
- Helps you get restful sleep
Also known as Indian Ginseng and Winter Cherry, Ashwagandha has been shown to have a measurable effect on the immune system. In Sanskrit, Ashwagandha means “the smell of a horse,” meaning that the herb gives the strength of a stallion.
Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogen, which means it helps to modify the harmful effects of stress on the body. Studies in animals have suggested that Ashwagandha can restrain the damage of free radicals through its antioxidant activity. Free radicals cause inflammation, speed aging and promote illness. The antioxidant power of Ashwagandha encourages longevity, keeps diseases at bay, and even slows the aging process.
The immune-boosting properties that you will get on using this herb include:
- Increases white blood cell count & platelet count
- Reduces chronic inflammation
- It promotes deeper sleep
- Soothes the nervous system
- Balances thyroid function
- Regulates cholesterol
- Can lower blood glucose levels
- Reduces the chances of cancer
Echinacea increases the number of white blood cells present in your body. It is one of the best herbs for ridding your body of microbial infections. It is effective against both bacteria and viruses.
One major side effect that you might feel after using Echinacea is stomach upset. You may also experience rashes and if you have asthma, you might find that your symptoms may worsen.
To be safe, don’t use this herb if you are also using medications which help you deal with heart problems. Examples of such medications include Pacerone and Cordarone. Combining Echinacea with these drugs can lead to liver damage. When taking this herb, aim at keeping it under eight weeks.
5. Siberian Ginseng
Used by the Chinese as medicine from as early as the 16th century, it has the ability to increase the production of T-lymphocytes in your body. These cells are very important when it comes to your body defense mechanism.
Siberian Ginseng can help with the following conditions:
- Chronic fatigue
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Flu and cold symptoms
- It will help strengthen your immunity against bacteria.
- Known to have anti-cancer benefits due to its anti-inflammatory property
When taken correctly orally, this herb is considered to be safe. Yet, in very rare cases, some side effects such as insomnia and palpitations may arise.
If you are breastfeeding or pregnant, it is not advisable to use this herb.
The berries from this herb can boost the immune system. The herb has been known to help people in dealing with the following conditions:
- Heart disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Swine flu
Elderberry is safe to take for a period of up to 12 weeks. It is not advisable for women who are either breastfeeding or pregnant to use this herb.
Also, since this herb increases activity in your immune system, if you have any autoimmune disease, it will increase your autoimmune disease symptoms.
If you haven’t been eating garlic, you should start. One of the major components found in garlic is alliinase. This is an enzyme that undergoes a couple of changes and it finally ends up forming sulfur compounds. These sulfur compounds are the ones which give your immune system a huge boost. The benefits you will get from eating garlic regularly include:
- It will help in reducing inflammation and hence, you can use it to treat cancer
- Garlic will guard you against flu
- It will help you treat stomach ulcers
- It aids in the treatment of high blood pressure
- It will help you in the treatment of hardened arteries
Some of the side effects that you may get from using garlic include nausea, heartburn, unpleasant breath, and diarrhea.
Ginger root has many immune-boosting abilities.
- It has the ability to destroy viruses which cause cold
- Ginger will help you in killing bacteria
- Since it has anti-inflammatory agents, it has the ability to help in cancer treatment
- It reduces cholesterol in your body
- The herb will help eliminate any clots present in your blood
- For people who deal with osteoarthritis, this herb can help them in reducing the pain
Some of the mild side effects include stomach discomfort, heartburn, and diarrhea.
For people with diabetes, ginger can increase their levels of insulin and hence lead to low blood sugars. Also, high doses of ginger may lead to worsening of the symptoms found in people with heart problems.
9. Ginkgo Biloba
Used in China for thousands of years, Ginko has antioxidant compounds to protect your body from free radicals. Some of the health problems which Ginkgo Biloba has the ability to treat include:
- Heart disease
- Multiple sclerosis
For safety purposes, you should only consider using this herb orally. Some of the mild side effects reported from using this herb include a forceful heartbeat, headache, constipation, and stomach upset.
For both breastfeeding and pregnant women, it is advisable to stay away from Ginkgo Biloba.
10. Green Tea
Green tea has an antioxidant property which is essential in boosting your immune system. By neutralizing free radicals in your body, green tea helps protect your immune system against any damages.
Green tea also can produce compounds which are very necessary for fighting diseases and infections. For example, green tea will increase the amount of interferon produced by your liver.
Green tea has also known to aid in dealing with the following health conditions:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Endocrinal cancer
- Clogged arteries
- Ovarian cancer
The side effects of Green Tea in high doses could include vomiting, heartburn, nervousness, and dizziness.
Breastfeeding and pregnant women are advised to keep the usage of green tea at the bare minimum.
Healing Your Immune System
You cannot live without your immune system. Sometimes, due to factors you can’t control, your immune system may become compromised. If you allow your immune system to stay compromised, you will be placing yourself at a very high risk of getting infected with all kinds of diseases.
You surely don’t want to spend all your time sick or worse yet, in a hospital… Especially, when you have the ability to set a course for healing right here using Ayurveda.
Modern medicine claims there is no cure for autoimmune diseases and that over time your symptoms will get worse and eventually deteriorate the body.
But Ayurveda disagrees!
Ayurveda is based on the Laws of Nature!
Trust the laws of nature first, then trust science. The laws of nature never change, but the conclusions of science are always changing!
Dr. Akil Palanisamy, M.D. is a Harvard-trained physician who combines Ayurveda and Western Medicine in his San Francisco practice. In his course Ayurveda and Autoimmune Diseases, he uses an analogy to explain autoimmune conditions.
“Think of your body as a car, with the immune system controlled by the gas pedal and the brake. Autoimmune disease occurs when the gas pedal is pressed all the way down to the floor, and the immune system is out-of-control. Western medication like methotrexate, steroids, etc., suppress the immune system by slamming on the brakes, but the gas pedal is still pressed, meaning that the underlying disease process is still active. Which means the disease resurfaces when you stop the medications.”
Ayurveda’s approach, on the other hand, takes the foot off the gas pedal by removing the triggers for autoimmune activity.
This gives us an entirely new way of looking at how the disease progresses and can be reversed. And Dr. Akil is talking about this with you here because, in his own words:
“One of the most powerful fundamental principles of Ayurveda is its emphasis on self-healing. Your body has the capacity to repair and heal itself, if provided the correct inputs and stimuli, no matter what its current state.”
This course is for everyone, including:
- Those grappling with chronic health conditions and autoimmune disorders
- Those looking for holistic healing pathways to better their lives and those of their families
- Medical or healing practitioners who want to learn more about integrated treatment approaches
- Anyone trying to maintain their health while navigating stress, anxiety and the pressures of modern living
This program with 3 hours of powerful content by Dr. Akil’s in his trademark warm and down-to-earth style. It is packed with stories and testimonials of healing, just listening to which will suffuse you with positive energy and strong hope!
Through this course, you will learn:
- An Ayurvedic understanding of how the body works – G O L D!
- How to correlate that to allopathy
- Which habits and practices can lead to the development of disease
- How to change your diet and lifestyle to support the management of your disorder and keep future conditions at bay
- How to unblock the channels along which energy flows through your body
- How to get your cells to keep communicating with each other
- How to build a healthy, vibrant gastrointestinal tract – the foundation of wellness
- Living a life in balance with surrounding energies
- Living a peaceful, calm life with the mind, body, spirit axis in optimal tandem
- Bettering your life along with that of your family, children, and patients
Lastly, In Dr. Akil’s words:
“I have seen first-hand the power of Ayurveda in action in successfully treating autoimmune disease. You can see what a tremendous difference an Ayurvedic therapeutic program can make to your life. The biggest takeaway here is that diagnosing and treating digestive imbalances and leaky gut syndrome is the foundation of treating and reversing autoimmune disease. This program helps you to eliminate commonly problematic foods, increase your intake of nutrient-dense healing foods, and begin the process of detoxification. It helps you increase energy, reduce inflammation, burn fat, and begin to reverse autoimmune disease.”
In the Platinum version, you get instant digital access to the entire course (which means you can watch the course online on your desktop, smartphone, or tablet! as well as a hard copy (in case you don’t want to use an internet connection and a free text companion too.
Ayurveda and Autoimmune Content
Part 1: Introductory Module: Determining and Analyzing the Root Cause of Ill-Health
- An interesting case study about the transformative power of Ayurveda
- Why is it the nature of the body to heal itself?
- What even doctors don’t know about your body
- What is an autoimmune disease?
- Learn about the dhatus – our various tissues or organs
- How do energies interact to create our unique physiology – learn about Vata, Pitta and Kapha
- Why are autoimmune diseases rising at an alarming rate globally?
- The elephant in the room: Western medicine and its healing deficit
- How does Ayurveda work to close this deficit and heal gracefully?
- What are the six stages of pathogenesis or the way all disease progresses in the body?
- The correlation of Ayurveda pathogenesis with Allopathy
- Why is it already too late by the time allopathic medicine even catches a disease?
- What makes the Ayurvedic perspective on catching and healing a disease so distinct and effective?
- We are energy: the five crucial elements of heat flow in the body
- The paramount importance of Agni or the digestive fire
- What happens when the Agni grows weak?
- And what happens when toxins from your gut enter the bloodstream?
- The fallout of breakdown in cellular communication
- The role your genes play in disease
- Other factors that contribute to autoimmune disease
- Why stress is the spark to the tinder of nascent disease
- Leaky Gut: the one imbalance common to all pathways of autoimmune disease
- Hope begins when we begin to treat Agni imbalance and leaky gut syndrome
Part 2: The Root Cause Leads Us Back to the Solution: Healing the Gut and the Immune System
Dietary Changes to Heal Your Leaky Gut and Restore Your Immune System
Why Cleansing and Detoxification Are Step Two of Healing
- The role of toxins in blocking energy flow
- Eliminating the toxins that have accumulated in your body for decades through:
- The neti pot and Nasya
- Abhyanga and the infused oils you ought to use
- Moving the rasa or lymph
How to Boost Your Immune System and Strategies to Keep Disease Away
- Secret and powerful strategies to build a formidable immunity
- Which rejuvenating formulas can kick-start your sluggish immune system
- Supplements and food habits that harness your Ojas or energy
- Learn the right daily routine to balance your body’s rhythms and cycles
Going Ga-ga Over Ghee: the Therapeutic Use of Ghee
- How to make your own ghee
- How to infuse key herbs and supplements into ghee
The Power of Spices to Heal physiological Imbalances
- Incorporating spices for multiple health benefits
- Spices you cannot omit from your diet
- Which oxygen product is bad for us and how spices can neutralize it
- How spices calm down chronic inflammation
- How spices fight the by-products of metabolism to lift energy levels and give you better skin
- Reversing the biochemistry of aging
- How excess of any kind is bad and how “sweet” energy must be balanced by spices
Part 3: A Detailed, Comprehensive and Intelligent Plan for Treating 5 Common Autoimmune Diseases
Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease
- How Dr. Akil helped normalize one patient’s thyroid levels in six months, restored her energy levels and reversed her stubborn weight gain
- Botanical treatments for balancing Kapha – a key player in thyroid disorders
- Important herbal supplements
- Therapies and diet modifications
- Modify your diet according to affected doshas
- Eliminate food causing allergies and sensitivities
- The herbs and spices that heal the digestive tract in Thyroid disorders
- How topical therapies can get the energies moving and are absolutely essential
Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
- How a patient with painful irritable bowel syndrome was healed, reporting an 80% relief in symptoms in three months of being on Dr. Akil’s treatment
- Which dosha absolutely needs to be balanced to heal all digestive disorders and how
- The role of intestinal bacteria in gut health
- How gluten affects the digestive tract
- Strategies to strengthen the gut
- How to achieve remission
Eczema and Psoriasis
- How food itself is medicine
- Powerful herbs that heal the skin
- Learn about the important concept of gut-skin axis
- Why healing your skin begins in the digestive tract
Breathe Easy: The Right Way to Perform Pranayama and Unblock Energy Flows
- What is Prana
- Why is its flow such an important element of optimal bodily function?
- The benefits of strengthening Prana through pranayama
The Importance of Bringing Mind and Body into Synergy
- The role of stress in precipitating disease
- Purifying nadis or energy channels
- How mental and emotional health mirrors your physical being
- Learning how to calm the parasympathetic nervous system
- What is Neuroplasticity and why is it such an important concept
- How to practice meditation for better health