Herbs for Good Health: A 101 Guide
Protecting our bodies is the most important thing that we can do. Our survival hinges on the health of our immune system. If our bodies can’t fight bacteria, parasites, viruses, and more, we open ourselves up to illness and poor health. We have to take care of our body if we want to stay healthy, and most of us do this by turning to supplements, water, and nutritious foods. But did we all know that we can also rely on herbs? We have the opportunity to depend on various herbs for protection and good health.
However, many of us don’t have immune-boosting herbs in our medicine cabinet. A few of us might not know which herbs to pick. Some of us might not believe that we can use herbs for protection and health. But herbs can play a crucial part in safeguarding our wellness. We just have to start by understanding our immune system.
What is the immune system?
Our immune system is a vast network of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues that spread across our entire body. This system continually looks for invaders that could weaken our body and launches a complex attack once it spots an enemy.
Our immune system uses various parts of its network to keep itself healthy, but there are a few characters in it that are particularly important. White blood cells are the first.
Also known as leukocytes, white blood cells circulate in our bodies, constantly patrolling and watching out for pathogens. They’re located in various parts of our body and are stored in four types of lymphoid organs:
- Thymus: This gland sits between our lungs and a little below our neck.
- Spleen: This organ is in the upper left of our abdomen and is responsible for filtering blood.
- Bone marrow: This part of the body is in the center of our bones and creates red blood cells.
- Lymph node: These small glands are in various parts of our body, and multiple lymphatic vessels link them together.
In these organs, our leukocytes wait for invaders to enter our bodies and attack when they sense a threat. However, two main leukocytes are responsible for launching and leading the charge.
These cells encircle, absorb, and break down pathogens. There are multiple types of phagocytes. The most common are neutrophils, which typically attack bacteria. Macrophages remove dead and dying cells. Mast cells wear a few different hats like aiding wounds and combating pathogens. And monocytes are the largest phagocytes and play several roles in the body.
These cells are responsible for recognizing previous invaders and attacking them if they come back. There are two main types of lymphocytes, and each one has their own role in achieving the primary goal. B lymphocytes create antibodies and help alert T lymphocytes. Then, T lymphocytes destroy cells that have been compromised and alert other leukocytes.
With all of these players functioning properly, our immune system has what it takes to defend itself. But as we know, sometimes stress, toxins, and bacteria overwhelm our immune system and weaken us, despite our body’s best efforts to stay healthy.
Signs of a weak immune system
When we have a weak immune system, our bodies will let us know. There are plenty of warning signs that alert us, but a handful of them are the most common.
The American Psychological Association released a report that suggested long-term stress weakens the responses of our immune system. The poor response time is due to a decrease in the number of lymphocytes in our bodies, which help fight those unwanted invaders. The fewer lymphocytes we have, the more at risk we are at getting sick.
Constantly catching a cold
While it’s normal to get a cold once or twice a year, it’s not normal to sustain that cold for an extended period of time. We’re supposed to recover from a cold in seven to 10 days. During that time, our immune system will develop antibodies that combat bacteria, toxins, and pathogens. But if we notice that we’re constantly catching a cold or having trouble shaking one, then it’s a clear sign that our immune system is weaker than usual.
Non-stop stomach issues
Frequent diarrhea, constipation, and gas are all signs of a weak immune system. Studies suggest that about 70 percent of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. The cells that live there help support our immune system and defend it from viruses and infections. But if our immune system doesn’t have everything that it needs, we have a higher risk of experiencing a virus, chronic inflammation, or autoimmune disorders.
Slow to heal
It’s not uncommon to get a burn, scrape, or cut. But when we wound ourselves, our bodies should protect the injury by providing nutrient-rich blood to help regenerate new skin. However, what happens if our immune system is weak? In this case, our bodies will have a difficult time regenerating new skin. Instead of healing, our wound will linger.
These are just a handful of indicators of a weak immune system. Many other signs can let us know if our immune system is weak, including frequent infections and constant feelings of tiredness. However, to avoid these warning signs, we need to help protect and boost our immune system. And while there are tons of supplements that we could adopt, we should consider using herbs for protection and good health.
Why we can use herbs for protection and health
Herbal remedies are leaves, barks, flowers, and roots that are extracted in alcohol or glycerin so that we can use them. To get the immune-boosting nutrients that we need, we can drink herbal tea, which is made from real parts of the plant. Or we can ingest a decoction, which includes barks and roots. If we don’t like the taste of either, we can simply opt for a capsule.
Regardless of the method, we should use herbs for protection and health because they have antiviral properties. Studies indicate that certain herbs, like oolong tea garlic, ginger, black cumin seed, licorice, and St. John’s wort are natural immune boosters. These herbs provide ingredients that offer multiple modes of actions, including:
- Boosting the immune system
- Helping the immune system function
- Activating and suppressing specialized immune cells
- Improving the immune system’s responses and defense
These herbs also carry anti-inflammatory properties that fight against the insurgence of cancer. Some of my favorite herbs carry great nutrients, as well. For example, my favorite immune-boosting formula has herbs that are high in vitamins and nutrients that my body needs to fight infections and viruses.
I also include what I like to call synergistic herbs, which help my body calm itself. These types of herbs harmonize the rest of the herbs in my formula and help my immune system work a little bit harder. These synergistic herbs also offer a rallying cry by trying to get my immune system and all of the herbs to work together to fight off invaders.
When we use herbs for protection and health, we increase our bodies’ chances of protecting itself against harmful pathogens, bacteria, and toxins. What’s even better is that immune-boosting herbs are safe for any age. They’re easy to use, and when they work as a whole, they help complete an action instead of a single part of it.
Take aspirin, for example. It comes from white willow bark. If we take white willow bark for a headache, it has many different components, but none of them lead to any side effects. However, if we extract the aspartic acid from the bark, we might notice some unwanted side effects. One of those side effects is blood thinning, which could be useful in some situations, but not for relieving a headache or boosting the immune system.
Combining CBD with herbs
If we want to boost our immune system, it’s important to have a natural pharmacy at our disposal, and that pharmacy should include CBD and herbs for protection and good health.
While research is still underway, studies indicate that CBD can also protect against a weak immune system. Studies show that CBD can help mitigate cancer, which greatly diminishes the immune system. A recent study found that taking CBD allowed patients to have more success in fighting the condition.
Another study also found that high doses of cannabinoids, including CBD, can help the body kill cancer cells through a process called apoptosis. When we have a healthy immune system, apoptosis is naturally triggered when our bodies detect infectious cells. But when we have an unhealthy immune system, the cancer cells can avoid apoptosis and multiply and spread in our bodies.
CBD can potentially play a crucial role in boosting our immune system, which is why we should take it along with herbal remedies. At Kat’s Naturals, we use our organic full-spectrum CBD oil called Restore to boost our immune system. However, taking a few herbs alongside it is a great idea as well.
One go-to herb for protection against a weak immune system is astragalus, an important herb in Chinese medicine. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. And research suggests that the root can boost resistance to infections and regulate our body’s immune responses.
Another go-to herb is echinacea angustifolia, which is linked to various health benefits, including lower blood sugar levels, reduced inflammation, and of course, improved immunity. Echinacea is known for its benefits on the immune system and is loaded with antioxidants. In fact, after reviewing 14 studies, researchers found that echinacea may lower the risk of getting a cold by more than 50%, and the herb can shorten the duration of colds by one and a half days.
How to take and when to take herbs for protection and health
When we make the decision to take herbs for protection and good health, we need to understand how to take them. The good thing is that it’s super simple to get herbs into our bodies. There are three main strategies.
- We can purchase a capsule
- We make an herbal tea
- We can buy a tincture and put the correct number of drops into a drink.
The form we take will depend on personal preference. However, tinctures tend to offer a more immediate response because the herbs go directly into the bloodstream.
Once we figure out the method we want to use, we need to determine the correct dose. There’s one simple rule that we generally want to follow: take one drop for every five pounds of body weight. However, when it comes to immune-boosting herbs, our bodies can handle a slightly higher dose because the herbs are very, very gentle.
For example, consider Echinacea. We might want to take three times the amount of what we’d normally take because Echinacea is a gentle herb. If we’re currently fighting an infection, we might also want to consider tripling our dose because we’re targeting an acute situation with gentle herbs.
To experience an effect, especially when we’re battling an illness, a higher dose of immune-boosting herbs is helpful. But once that illness runs its course, we should decrease our dose and continue to use the herbs as a long-term supplement.
Relying on herbs for protection against a weak immune system
Evidence proves that we can rely on herbs for protection and good health. As such, immune-boosting herbs are a great addition to every medicine cabinet. They’re safe for any age. They don’t leave side effects. And we can combine them with our favorite organic remedies like CBD.
With herbs, we give our bodies the nourishment it needs to continue functioning properly. The immune system is too important to neglect. If we want it to defend itself, we must use all of the tools available to us, including herbs for protection and health.
However, there are other types of herbs that we should include in our medicine cabinet to experience optimal health and wellness. To find out which herbs we suggest, check out the next article in our series The Complete Medicine Cabinet.