Herbs to Keep You Healthy

There is so much fear about disease in the world that I thought I would do a blog on herbs that can help you stay healthy.  Don’t get me wrong, these herbs are not a cure for Ebola, but to my mind the best way to cure any disease is not to get it in the first place.  These are a number of herbs that can help with your general health and wellbeing.

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Calendula

Calendula or pot marigold is possibly my favourite herb for immune system support.  It stimulates lymphatic drainage which allows toxins to be removed from your body.  It kicks up the immune system.  A study done in the late 1990’s shows that an organic extract from calendula flowers produces anti HIV properties of therapeutic interest. 

Calendula is also anti-inflammatory.  Modern medical thought is that most disease is actually caused by inflammation.  If you reduce the inflammation you give your body the chance to heal.  The antioxidant properties of calendula prevent free radical damage of your cells.

For a more complete picture of Calendula see my blog here.

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Echinacea

Echinacea is a fabulous immune boosting herb.  It contains alkamides which improve immune system function.  It actually increases the number and activity of immune system cells.

Echinacea is effective for:

  • Acne
  • Bacterial infections
  • Viral infections
  • Eczema
  • Ear infections
  • Swollen glands
  • Lymph cleanser 

 Many people use echinacea when they feel a cold coming on.  This is an excellent idea however, combining echinacea with vitamin C will undue any good that the herb provides.  Echinacea and vitamin C work against each other so “remedies” that include both should be avoided.

 

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Vitamin C

While Vitamin C is not an herb I still include it in my list of immune system boosters.  Perhaps the most important activities of vitamin C are it’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant actions.  

According to an abstract from the NIH phagocytes and t-cells need vitamin c to function and vitamin c actually enhances the performance of several immune system parameters.

Vitamin C can be taken as a supplement and is easily obtainable at most pharmacies.  There are two cautionary notes.  First mixing vitamin c and echinacea simply wastes your time and money as they work against each other.  Secondly, contrary to popular myth it is possible to take too much vitamin C.  Yes in most cases the excess is generally voided in the urine.  I have however witnessed a case in the late 1970’s where the person actually took so much vitamin c that she was diagnosed with a vitamin c overdose.  One of the best ways to get your vitamin c is through your diet.

Doses up to 1000 mg are generally fine for most people.  Anyone with chronic health issues such as diabetes and heart disease should talk to their doctor prior to taking any over the counter supplements or medicines. 

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Garlic

Last but not least is the magical “stinking rose” garlic.  Garlic is one of those herbs that has a history of treating almost everything.  It is

  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti fungal
  • Antibiotic
  • Anti viral
  • Antithrombic

 It is the breaking of the cellular wall of garlic that is beneficial. Allicin is the substance that contains the medicinal properties of the garlic.  It is most potent when eaten raw.  This is good news for those that enjoy caesar salad but not so good if you don’t like the smell.  

Fortunately there are a number of naturopathic freeze dried garlic supplements that can help with this.  For more information on garlic see my blog here. 

As you can see there are a number of simple easy ways to maintain your immune system.  One major key to staying healthy is a healthy lifestyle.  Exercise, stay hydrated, eat fresh whole food and make sure you get plenty of rest.

THIS BLOG IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE THE ADVICE OF YOUR DOCTOR.