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ABCs Of Health- "I" Is For Immune Health
The immune system has been described by scientists, health professionals, and anyone who is aware of its delicate and complex function as one of the marvels of the human body. This sophisticated network, which includes white blood cells, the spleen and thymus gland, all function together to protect the body from disease-causing organisms such as viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria.  

How Does The Immune System Work?
Here's a rather good explanation: "The immune system is a highly specialized front-line defense that identifies, remembers, attacks and destroys disease-causing invaders or infected cells. There are several types of immune cells, each possessing specific duties and characteristics. Several travel through the body killing foreign substances as they find them. Others patrol the gastrointestinal tract lining and blood vessels, safeguarding particular organs. The lymphatic system, which includes the lymph  nodes, the spleen, bone marrow and thymus gland, produces these cells and transports them throughout the body. Lymph nodes and the spleen serve as filters designed to keep harmful organisms out of the blood stream. Most immune cells are produced in the bone marrow, the thymus or the spleen." - Health Supplement Retailer, February 2002. 

Give Your Immune System A Boost
Natural health experts tell us that symptoms of immune deficiency can include fatigue, frequent colds, allergies, yeast infection (candida), and inflammatory conditions, to name a few. 

What contributes to immune deficiency? Any number of factors, including stress, constant exposure to chemicals, and other environmental pollutants, insufficient rest, as well as a diet consisting primarily of refined sugars and saturated fats. 

It has long been acknowledged that proper nutrition, exercise, proper hydration and even supplementation with vitamins and minerals can go a long way toward enhancing individual immunity. But what about herbs? How do herbs affect the immune system? Rob McCaleb, President of the Herb Research Foundation noted, "Most herbs for the immune system don't affect memory cells, but are general immune system stimulators (immunostimulants). They increase the activity of the immune system, but are not specific to a particular disease or "antigen" (a protein against which immune cells act). Rather, they increase resistance by mobilizing "effector cells" which act against all foreign particles, rather than just one specific type (i.e. a measles virus)."

Echinacea: By now we're all quite familiar with this popular cold and flu fighter, and its celebrated ability to boost immune function. However, Echinacea is also viewed by herbalists as one of the best lymphatic cleansers. And as we have already seen, the health and proper functioning of the lymphatic system is vital to good immune response.  

Burdock Root: Without a doubt, Burdock root is almost always described as "one of the best" and "one of the most important" blood purifying herbs, and has been used in traditional herbal medicine as a detoxifier. But how does it affect immune health? "The Natural Physician", Dr. Mark Stengler, noted "An underrated aspect of detoxification is lymphatic drainage, which Burdock also enhances." 

Yellow Dock: Another herb described with superlatives similar to those used to define Burdock , Yellow Dock is also highly esteemed for its reported blood purifying and blood  building actions. It is often combined with Burdock in detoxifying combinations, because both are good sources of vitamins, and are believed to enhance the function of the kidneys, liver, (and yes you guessed it) the lymph glands.

Other Immune Boosting Suggestions
Just a few simple changes in your daily lifestyle can make a big difference in the optimal functioning of your own Immune System- adjustments such as:

    • Including fresh garlic, horseradish or onions in your diet to fight harmful bacteria.

    • Making sure you're getting enough water. Water carries away waste and toxins from our cells and from the entire body. 

    • Getting regular, moderate exercise. It helps improve circulation, ensures a plentiful supply of oxygen throughout the body, helps to reduce stress and elevate mood- all contributing factors for immune support, and healthy immune system functioning.



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Disclaimer: Throughout this website, statements are made pertaining to the properties and/or functions of food and/or nutritional products. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and these materials and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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