Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Three herbs that boost our immune system and guard us from infection


The human immune system is a remarkable network of biological structures and processes. When functioning properly, it has the ability to remember diseases that it has previously encountered for more efficient removal, trigger immediate responses to emergencies through its advanced communication systems and much more.

Despite its sophistication, however, the immune system is notoriously fragile, and even the healthiest of us can suffer from compromised immunity from time to time. During these difficult periods, when we're at a far greater risk of infection than usual, it is a good idea to supplement our diets with herbs that are well-known for their immune-boosting properties. Three of the best of these herbs are listed below. 


Astragalus is a perennial plant native to the northern and eastern regions of China, as well as Korea and Mongolia. Its antioxidant-rich root, which resembles a garlic bulb, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to strengthen the body against disease. Moreover, Astragalus's adaptogenic qualities make it effective at fighting disease as well.

Astragalus has been well-studied in the West, and numerous studies confirm its alleged immunity-boosting properties. A study published in Cellular Immunology in 2011, for instance, found that Astragalus polysaccharides could stimulate the body's production of macrophages (white blood cells that tackle foreign invaders and cancer cells).(1) A later study, published in Microbial Pathogenesis in January 2014, also discovered that Astragalus polysaccharides could regulate the production of T cells (white blood cells that defend the body from pathogens) in infected mice.(2) 

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