Herbal Immune Boosting

During the winter season, when the cold, rain, and short daylight hours predominate, so does cold and flu season.

When it comes to pharmaceuticals, most work on the level of suppressing specific symptoms. While this may sometimes seem like a good idea, it is important to note that most medications are not effective at boosting the body's own inherent response to viruses or bacteria. Yet, our own immune response is ultimately what we depend on to fight off the cold or flu. Suppressing symptoms may help us temporarily, but this can unfortunately lengthen the time it will take to get over the cold or flu, through suppression of the body's own healing response

The immune system's response to infection is an amazing process which includes the following events:

The immune system's response to infection is an amazing process which includes the following events:

>Additional white blood cells are manufactured.  These cells destroy bacteria and viruses and also remove damaged tissue and irritating materials from the body.

>The activity of the white blood cells increases, and they move rapidly to the site of infection.

>Antibody production increases by as much as 20-fold.

>Sleepiness and loss of appetite conserve energy for natural defense and repair. The elevated body temperature kills certain bacteria and viruses.

Iron is being removed from the blood and stored in the liver. Many bacteria need iron for survival

Many herbs have been used for hundreds of years, showing their effectiveness through the test of time and practice. Three such herbs are Echinacea, Astragalus and Glycyrrhiza. Each herb has been used singly for a variety of ailments.   Echinacea has been shown to decrease the length of time of the common cold and to reduce recurrence.  Glycyrrhiza, also known as licorice, is a powerful antiviral herb, as shown in several studies.  Astragalus has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, often in combination with other herbs, to strengthen the body against disease.

These three herbs have been studied on human subjects singly, and together as a blend, and monitored for immune cell activation. Immune cell activation is a crucial step in the human body's ability to mount an effective immune response, whether to an infection such as a common cold, or to fight a malignant tumor.  The results were promising: each herb activates specific cells of the immune system.  In addition, they are effective when taken in combination, with possible synergistic effects, to activate immune cells which mount defense against both bacteria and viruses.

To learn more about the Immune Herbs studies, please see the following links to publications: http://www.mdconsult.com/das/citation/body/83314205-3/jorg=journal&source=MI&sp=16429844&sid=650887602/N/16429844/1.html, and http://www.mdconsult.com/das/citation/body/85580839-3/jorg=journal&source=MI&sp=20220243&sid=662049513/N/20220243/1.html.

The Immune Boost Tincture available at 2bwell contains the three herbs used in the study: Echinacea, Astragalus and Glycyrrhiza.  For patients who have hypertension (high blood pressure), Glycyrrhiza should be avoided; the tincture is available with Sambucus, another excellent antiviral herb, in its place.

About the Author: Julie Brush, Naturopathic Physician, conducted the Immune Herbs Study at Helfgott Research Center in Portland, OR.  She is co-author of two articles publishing the results in the journal Phytotherapy Research International.  Research based on the initial findings in the Immune Herbs Study continues at Helfgott Research Center.  Dr. Brush is also co-founder of Natural Docs in a Box, featuring safe and effective natural home remedies.

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