Keeping your immune system strong and healthy is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Especially during cold and flu season. For thousands of years, our ancestors used various immune-boosting herbs that helped them live longer and fight off infections. Current research on these herbs has shown just how beneficial they are and have revealed even more of their positive health effects. What better way to boost your immune system and overall health than with such time-tested and all-natural solutions? In this article, we’ll name 7 of the best immune-boosting herbs you can add to your diet today.
Astragalus is an immune-boosting herb that has been used for thousands of years across Asia and is a crucial part of Chinese herbal medicine. Astragalus made its way to the US at the beginning of the 20th century and has been used widely here ever since.
The best way to consume astragalus is by creating a concoction
from some dry root. You can also purchase various forms of supplements or some astragalus tea. A study by Jin et al. suggests that astragalus can effectively boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Other reported benefits include improving heart health, helping treat diabetes, and even reducing the effects of aging. Although astragalus is generally safe, it can occasionally cause some side effects, such as itchy skin, diarrhea, a runny nose, or nausea.
Unlike other immune-boosting herbs that have been used for thousands of years, the history of echinacea dates back to just the 18th century. Echinacea is a flower from the daisy family that is native to North America and was first employed by Native Americans. Echinacea can be consumed in the form of capsules, syrups, sprays, teas, decoctions, or balms.
This plant is extremely high in antioxidants and helps boost the immune system. It is commonly used to treat the common cold, flu, and other viruses (in a study by Shah et al., it was found that echinacea makes you 50% less likely to catch a cold).
We all know and love ginger. But did you know just how much of an amazing immune-boosting herb it is?
Ginger root has been used for thousands of years and originated in China and India, where it was used for treating various illnesses. It arrived in Europe about 2000 years ago. As you know, there are many different uses of ginger. You can make tea, soup, cookies, juices, smoothies, eat them pickled, and pretty much do anything else with them!
Not only is ginger great at boosting the immune system, but it also aids in digestion. Due to its main compound called gingerol, it is anti-inflammatory and has lots of antioxidants.
The first ones to grow and use oregano were the Greeks, who discovered the herb thousands of years ago. It was later adopted by the Romans and soon spread across Europe and Northern Africa. To this day, oregano is an integral part of Mediterranean cooking. Oregano is most commonly used as a dry spice that is sprinkled on various dishes. However, there’s much more to oregano than its unique taste. A study by Gutierrez-Grijalva et al. shows that due to the high levels of phenolic acids and flavonols, oregano is anti-inflammatory, aids in digestion, reduces headaches, and even helps treat cancer and diabetes.
Commonly referred to as the “king of mushrooms” or the “mushroom of immortality”, Reishi is the ultimate herb for immune system support. It was first used in China thousands of years ago but it is native to many parts of the world where there is a warmer climate. Reishi grows on hardwood trees across the South Pacific, Asia, and the Southern parts of Europe and the United States. It can be taken in pills, powders, teas, or extracts. It is a known way to boost the immune system, improve sleep quality, help with stress and depression, and it can even help fight cancer and high blood pressure.
The history of garlic dates all the way back to 3000 BC, which is when people in Middle Asia discovered its amazing healing and immune-boosting effects.
As you know, garlic is a great addition to pretty much any savory dish and can be cooked, eaten raw, or dried for spices. A study by Bayan et al. uncovered that garlic has antimicrobial and antitumor properties, helps in various cardiovascular diseases, and can even help with diabetes. In addition to this, garlic also aids in digestion and is commonly used to treat or prevent the common cold or flu.
Elderberry (more specifically, black elderberry or Sambucus Nigra) is one of the best immune-boosters of herbal medicine. It is a bluish-purple berry native to North America and Europe and has been used for thousands of years due to its amazing medicinal properties. Elderberry can be used for making pies or jams and it also comes in various forms of supplements: syrups, pills, lozenges, sprays, drops, and gummies.
Boosting the immune system is far from where the benefits of elderberry end. Elderberry benefits include fighting off the cold and flu, improving heart health, reducing inflammation, and even reducing wrinkles and acne. Elderberry is also suitable for kids!
Although elderberry is extremely beneficial, it can be poisonous if not prepared correctly. This is because the leaves, branches, and unripe berries contain two toxic chemicals called cyanide and lectin. If you boil the elderberry sufficiently, these toxins are completely flushed out. However, not everyone knows how to do this. For this reason, it’s probably best to choose commercially-prepared supplements where professionals take care of flushing out the toxins.