As Winter approaches, many people, in the UK and elsewhere, start thinking about the how to build the immune system. To provide an immune system booster, herbs can certainly provide a good part of the answer. It is especially valuable if the herbs are supported by exercise which is so important for improving the immune system.
There are various herbal immune programmes available which can provide an excellent course of immune system treatment. This might last for three months or so.
An immune system programme typically consists of several complimentary herbal products and some instructional material, for example a supporting pamphlet. The pamphlet should include a number of measures to help build immune system strength in addition to taking herbs. The main ones are exercise, diet and relaxation.
The ‘immune programme‘ type of approach can be valuable because buying a whole package provides encouragement for you to follow it for a set course of time. The herbs, diet and exercise methods recommended are more likely to be followed every day for the length of the 3 month immune system treatment course.
Many people find that a concentrated approach like this is the best way to boost the immune system. You are much more likely to finish this type of programme than trying to design your own.
Immune vitamins vs. immune herbs
Immune vitamins – such as zinc and vitamin C can certainly be helpful for the immune system. Both approaches help to provide valuable immune nutrition for the immune system; however, a herbal approach is preferred by many people and often seems to produce more certain results.
If you are taking zinc or vitamin C to boost the immune system it is perfectly safe to continue with it while using a herbal immune programme or the herbs mentioned below.
An alternative to an immune programme approach is to use well-known single herbs which help the immune system. These include: echinacea, garlic, cat’s claw and pau d’arco.
When to support your immune system
Some people like to carry out a 3 month programme every year or so just to ‘keep things ticking over’. A great idea.
You especially need to support your immune system if:
- It is approaching a cold time of year
- You suffer from frequent infections
- You want to support your body’s natural ability to keep you free from infections
The immune system and exercise
One essential way to keep the immune system strong is through exercise. Exercise is vital to good circulation of the ‘lymph fluid’. The lymph fluid is a fluid rather like blood, but without the red colouring, which comes from red blood cells.
- By keeping the lymph fluid of the immune system flowing well, you allow it to:
- Help Eliminate Waste: It transports waste products from where the body’s cells excrete them, back into the blood stream. The kidneys, liver and bowel can then take over
- Help Deal With Infection And Cell Damage: It transports white blood cells from the ‘lymph nodes’ in the groin, armpit and neck, to the areas of the body where they are needed. White blood cells are the body’s ‘clean up squad’. They destroy bacteria and mop up cell fragments from damaged cells.
The lymph fluid is therefore a vital part of the immune system, and circulating the fluid is very important. The trouble is – the immune system does not have a heart – and it relies on muscular activity to move it around the body. It is only by the muscles squeezing together, so acting as a pump, that the lymph fluid can move along the lymph vessels.
This is one reason why exercise is so important to keep the body healthy.
The best approach to keeping the immune system strong is through:
- Herbs – take a course of herbs which are know to boost the immune system
- A good diet – Eat plenty of fruit and non-starchy vegetables every day; a salad with every meal; a variety of fruits and vegetables to make sure you consume every vitamin and mineral you need
- A good exercise regime – As mentioned above, exercise is essential for good immune system function. Get exercise every day if you can; walk for a couple of miles, for example. In addition, vigorous exercise twice a week is valuable. A longer walk, preferably over rough ground, is excellent. Or play a sport.
All three of these measures can be combined in a good 3 month immune programme.
Try and find an immune programme which meets your needs and is from a reliable company. A programme for 3 months or so is best, as you are most unlikely to achieve substantial gains in less than this length of time. Also, you can hope that the new, better methods of living (diet, exercise) that you implement during these 3 months will stick with you after you have finished the 3 months course, resulting in better future health for you. Some people repeat this type of programme annually to make sure their immune system can stay at its peak. This is a great idea.
Immune system herbs
There are also other single herbs which might appeal to you. The best know is echinacea which is available in capsules or drops. Echinacea angustifolia is the variety preferred by many herbalists. The other varieties are often used are E. pallida and E. purpurea. However, while cheaper these varieties are generally felt to be inferior. So we recommend you seek out echinacea angustifolia.
Other immune system herbs include a couple of quite recent South American ‘imports’: pau d’arco, and cat’s claw; and of course the ever popular garlic.
Low odour garlic of high quality is available; the cheaper versions may make the vital allicin unavailable; so, as with echinacea, it pays to go for quality in garlic supplements.