My 8 Top Favorite Immune Boosters (Sans The Antibiotics)
Antibiotics are a good thing. They save lives every day. They contribute to a longer lifespan, better quality life, and less threatening infections. In the last few decades, we have seen the reduction of infant and maternal deaths from infections in the delivery room during childbirth. I am always grateful to see many people getting better after taking antibiotics.
However, currently, most antibiotics that are prescribed are not necessary. Viral infections are not treatable with antibiotics. We are learning now that overuse of antibiotics in medicine and in our food is causing more problems for our health.
Antibiotics Resistance and Gut Health
In the current global health crisis, over-prescription of antibiotics and the overuse of antibiotics in meat and fish have created resistance towards them. Bacteria themselves have outwitted the antibiotic so that it is no longer effective in treating anyone that is infected with the resistant strain bacteria.
Also, antibiotics that kill bad bacteria, also kill the good ones too. In our gut, when the good bacteria are gone, they may never fully recover.
Microbiome and Chronic Disease
The good flora (microbiome) is important for immunity, mood balancing, weight management and the ability for our liver and kidneys to detox from environmental toxins and hormones.
When the good flora is diminished, there is an increased risk for developing allergies, eczema, asthma, Crohn’s disease, autoimmune disorders, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, and diabetes.
My 8 Top Immune Boosters
Here are my top eight go-to herbs for an immune booster, prevention of infection and treatment of common cold and flu.
1) Huang Qi, Astralagus Radix: Powerful immune strengthener as it raises the level of immunoglobulins IgA and IgG. Increases interferon, an immune compound that interferes with the ability of viruses to replicate. Duration to take 3 months, then pause for 1 month, then repeat. (yes, unfortunately, herbs need time to work and does not work overnight like medication).
2) Siberian Ginseng, Eleutherococcus senticosus: Enhance the ability to cope with environmental stressors. Taking it for 3 months will increase energy, vitality, and resistance to illness. (KA-POW! kinda herbs. I love to take this during endurance training or trying to keep up with my 2 dogs).
3) Enchinacea, Echinacea purperea: Most effective used as prevention of cold and recurrence. Can be taken during cold and flu season, or during a cold to prevent it from returning. (I stock this in tincture form and always have one in the fridge to take as needed).
4) Garlic, Alium sativum: Antimicrobial and immune boosting. It can fight viral and bacterial infections. Best taken cooked or if raw, mixed with honey and taken during a cold. (I stir fry a lot using garlic + ginger + scallions, which are the 3 pillars of Chinese cooking. Also good to ward off vampires 🙂.
5) Ginger, Zingiber officinale: Antimicrobial and helps with pain, ache and digestive symptoms. Helps to break up internal phlegm. (I drink this every day in hot tea. Grated or sliced and steep in hot water for 10 minutes. Then mix with honey to taste).
6) Green tea, Camillia sinensis: Rich in polyphenols and anti-inflammatory. Take 1-2 cups per day as another way to prevent sinus infections. Also, help to keep the brain healthy and prevent plaque formation that is linked to Alzheimer’s. (This is my morning cuppa-tea. I mix Japanese matcha + honey for more KA-POW!).
7) Maitake, Frifola fondosa: Supports the immune system, and strong adaptogens. May kill cancer cells, balance blood sugar and lower cholesterol. (I stock them from the Asian market like Zion or 99 Ranch Market, and use them in a stir fry or soup).
8) Honey, raw: Antimicrobial and can be added to herbal tea or take 1 teaspoon a day as a way to prevent the use of antibiotics.
I like to combine natural food and herbal ingredients in everyday life as a mean to prevent illness. They not only provide nutrients to support your immune system but can help to prevent and fight infection. Also, one of the benefits of antimicrobial is its non-specificity and its crossover usage. Many are good for bacterial AND viral infections. They are generally safe for adults and children. However, if you are pregnant or have compromised immune disorder, a persistent fever, cough or headache that last for a week, post-surgery or other more serious conditions, always see your physician for more help.
Enjoy Spring and as always, sending you much joy and good health.
P/S: My rescued Cocker Spaniel mixed had a breast mastectomy last year due to cancer. I have to share the good news that her latest tests shown that she is cancer-free! I attributed her recovery to acupuncture, herbs and mostly, tons of love.