Mar 182019

Ginseng is said to resemble a human body in shape, and it has been used for years in Asia.  Recently, it has become a popular item in Western culture. Many claims about this root have been advertised, such as its reputation for extending longevity and its use for stamina and endurance. Let’s look at the types of ginseng and the differences.

There are three main types of ginseng used:

Panax Oriental Ginseng

This ginseng is stronger than American ginseng. It is used as a general tonic, immune booster, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer herb and to calm the mind. The taste, which in Chinese medicine indicates the organ it benefits, is sweet, slightly bitter and warm. This benefits the heart, spleen and lungs. As it is calming, it also helps relieve heart palpitations and insomnia. A main function in Chinese medicine is that this root generates fluids and quenches thirst in heat conditions. Ren shen benefits the “Original Qi,” hereditary energy we are born with and can help rid exhaustion.

American Ginseng

American ginseng nourishes the yin of the body, especially in cases of the deficiency of yin. When one is deficient in yin, there are signs of heat in the yang that has become more exuberant. This ginseng root also helps fire excess, or exuberance of yang, because it generates fluids and helps dryness, heat, thirst and fever. Its taste properties are bitter and slightly cold.

Siberian Ginseng

Siberian ginseng is not in the same category as the previous types mentioned. It is a weed, cheaper, and is used in Chinese medicine to help arthritis due to its benefit of dispelling cold and damp from the body, otherwise known as cold bi syndrome.

It is best to see a Chinese medical specialist or another qualified health care practitioner to get ginseng in a formula appropriate for your particular constitution, as ginseng can have serious side effects such as heart palpitations, dry mouth, dizziness, headache, high blood pressure and anxiety. Those with excess yang energy should not take ginseng. There are also possible drug interactions with ACE inhibitors, blood pressure medications, blood thinners, diabetes medications, stimulants and antidepressants. Ginseng is best used as a preventative tonic rather than a medicine, as it can prevent a pathogen from leaving the body’s “comfortable house”. Your Chinese medical specialist can assess which herb is right for you and how to include it in a formula. It is not advisable to self-diagnose and take new herbs that may harm your health.

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Jan 032019

By Meghan Gemma and Juliet Blankespoor
Photography by Juliet Blankespoor

The cold months of the year bring a flurry of beastly germs to our doorstep. These wee-but-wicked pathogens must sense that our immune systems are vulnerable—especially during the holidays when rich food and drink prevail. I like to start bolstering my family’s immune systems early in the cold & flu season; well before everyone around us is sniffling and sneezing. Practices like eating a nourishing diet; getting plenty of sleep, sunshine, and water; and proper hand washing are essential, but I also rely on a handful of tonic herbs to keep us healthy and resilient.

Herbal immune tonics are traditionally taken on a daily basis during the fall and winter months to strengthen immunity and lessen our chances of succumbing to common viral infections. These herbs are slow-acting with a prolonged effect, so they must be taken regularly to be beneficial. They differ from immunostimulating herbs (also known as immune stimulants) like echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) and spilanthes (Acmella oleracea), which are taken right at the onset of an illness for on-the-spot protection.

Therapeutically, immune tonics are also used to address poor immune resilience—for example, individuals who experience frequent infections—and to boost the immune system in preparation for cold and flu season. You’ll notice that two of the remedies we feature in this article are mushrooms: reishi and turkey tail. This is no coincidencemany of our premiere immune tonics are fungi. We use the term “herb” loosely here at the Chestnut School to include therapeutic medicinal trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, and mushrooms.

Most immune tonics fall into the category of immunomodulators, which are herbs that have balancing, or amphoteric, effects on the immune system (making them more appropriate, in general,  for folks with autoimmune conditions, as compared to immunostimulating herbs). You can read more about both immunomodulators and immunostimulants in our in-depth article on Herbs for the Immune System.

Please note that this article is introductory in scope and doesn’t fully cover each medicinal. If you plan to forage any of these herbs, you’ll need to seek out trustworthy identification tips. You’ll also need to learn foraging ethics before you harvest any plant from the wild! There are deadly poisonous plants and mushrooms out there, so proper identification is paramount. See our Foraging and Wildcrafting resources on the blog for more guidance.

Before we dive into the herbs and mushrooms, we’d like to share a reminder that a healthy lifestyle is the best immune booster! Herbs are excellent supporting players, but we can’t rely upon them to be the only stars in the show. To read up on our suggestions for holistic immune health, visit our comprehensive article on Herbs for the Immune System.

Hemlock reishi (Ganoderma tsugae)

Five Luminary Medicinals to Boost Immunity

1. Reishi (Ganoderma tsugae, G. lucidum, G. curtisii, G. martinicense, Ganodermataceae)

Parts Used: Mushroom fruiting body

Preparations: Long decoction, syrup, preserved concoction

Herbal Actions:

  • Immune tonic
  • Immunomodulator
  • Antiviral
  • Antibacterial
  • Adaptogen
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Cardiotonic
  • Hepatic

Known as the ‘mushroom of immortality’, reishi is an herbal immune tonic and immunomodulator. Taken regularly, it can enhance and fine-tune the body’s immune response. It’s especially helpful as a daily remedy for those who have weak lungs or who frequently succumb to respiratory infections. It strengthens the circulatory system and is a legendary adaptogen, making it a supreme ally for increasing overall resilience. Reishi is also a traditional tonic for anxiety and can help impart calmness in a slow and sustained manner.

Reishi is better prepared as a tea than a tincture, as some of its medicinal properties are destroyed by high percentages of alcohol. Simmer the mushrooms for a few hours to fully extract its polysaccharide compounds, which are the active immunomodulating compounds.  Its flavor is slightly bitter, so I like combining it with pleasant-tasting herbs like astragalus (Astragalus propinquus), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)*, and cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) —it’s particularly delicious in herbal chai blends. I also add a handful or two of dried reishi slices to bone or vegetable broth when I have a pot simmering.

Hemlock reishi mushroom (Ganoderma tsugae)

Reishi can be purchased online or at local health food stores, cultivated at home, or gathered from the wild. There are a number of medicinal species in the genus. We use our local hemlock reishi (Ganoderma tsugae) and artist’s conk (Ganoderma applanatum). If you’d like to try foraging this mushroom, please research which Ganoderma species grows near you—and if they’ve been used medicinally—along with  referencing a good mushroom field guide or reliable online source (I always cross-reference sources when using the internet). Here are a couple online resources to get you started:

Contraindications: Use cautiously with blood-thinning medication. Avoid if you have mushroom allergies.

*Avoid licorice if you have high blood pressure, edema, or a cardiac condition.

Elderberry honey

2. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra var. canadensis and S. nigra, Adoxaceae)

Parts Used: Berries and flowers

Preparations: Syrup, tincture, infusion (flowers), decoction (berries), infused honey

Herbal Actions:

    • Berries:
      • Immune stimulant
      • Immune tonic
      • Antibacterial
      • Antiviral
      • Antioxidant
      • Diaphoretic
      • Anticatarrhal (decongestant)
      • Anti-inflammatory
    • Flowers:
      • Immune tonic
      • Antiviral
      • Anti-inflammatory
      • Diaphoretic
      • Anticatarrhal (decongestant)
      • Astringent

The berries of elder are one of our most treasured immune tonics—they are effective, nourishing, and delicious when prepared as a dark purple syrup. Taken daily throughout the fall and winter, elderberry offers us protection against colds, flu, and other viral infections. One study demonstrated elderberry’s antimicrobial effects against two strains of the influenza virus and several bacteria that are commonly responsible for secondary, or concomitant,  sinus infections with the flu.

And in the case of an illness, elderberry is immune stimulating, diaphoretic (helps to break a fever), and anticatarrhal (decreases mucus in the respiratory passages). Studies show a lessening in the duration and severity of cold symptoms as well as the flu.

I prepare elderberry syrup by combining equal parts elderberry tincture, elderberry tea, and elderberry-infused honey. Children love this remedy, which can be made alcohol-free if you prefer (you can substitute a vinegar extraction for the alcohol-based tincture). Doses can be liberal (by the tablespoon), several times per day. Do not give elderberry honey or syrup containing the honey to babies younger than one-year-old.

Elderflower (Sambucus nigra var. canadensis)

Elder flowers also demonstrate strong antiviral activity against influenza, and can be integrated into your elderberry syrup along with other immune-boosting herbs like cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) and ginger (Zingiber officinale). Curious to see a step-by-step demonstration on making herbal syrups? Visit our video tutorial and download our syrup guide!

Dried elderberries can be purchased online from sources like Mountain Rose Herbs, and fresh, frozen elderberries can be purchased from organic farms (you’ll need to do an online search for these). However, elder is also a classic garden-grown medicinal and forageable herb. If you plan to forage elder from the wild, you will need to do some serious botanical detective work. There are several deadly poisonous look-alikes, including water hemlock (Cicuta spp.).

I highly recommend reading Sam Thayer’s write-up on elderberry and its look-alikes in his book, Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants. You can also reference this online resource for identification tips:

Contraindications: Eating raw (uncooked or untinctured) elderberries can cause nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea in many people. Once the plant has been purged from the system, there is no lasting illness. In general, we suggest starting with small doses and working your way up to assess tolerance. The flowers, tea, tincture, syrup, and cooked berries are unlikely to cause any side effects.

3. Garlic (Allium sativum, Amaryllidaceae)

Parts Used: Bulb

Preparations: Raw, tincture, fire cider and other infused vinegars, honey

Herbal Actions:

      • Immune tonic
      • Immune stimulant
      • Antimicrobial
      • Diaphoretic
      • Hypotensive (lowers blood pressure)
      • Anticatarrhal (decongestant)

This beloved spice has been used medicinally for over 5,000 years; one of the first accounts of its use was to sustain the health of the Egyptian laborers who built the pyramids.1 Later, it was a powerful field remedy in World War I, saving thousands of lives and limbs through its infection-fighting capabilities.2

Garlic is an essential staple in my kitchen as a potent immune system tonic and antimicrobial herb. It can be highly effective in preventing infections such as the common cold and flu, as well as infections of the digestive tract. The volatile oils in garlic are excreted through the lungs, making it especially beneficial for infections of the respiratory system. One randomized controlled study showed that garlic reduced the incidence of common cold. Here’s a review of garlic’s demonstrated activity against various pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and protozoans.

A bouquet of garlic scapes

Our family prepares a special garlic sauce every week made of raw garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, and nutritional yeast. The sauce goes on avocado toast, eggs, pasta, chili, soup, baked potatoes, you name it. We keep it in the refrigerator (important, as garlic oil can harbor botulism and has made people sick) and literally pull it out at every meal. Our family of three goes through a quart a week and we rarely catch colds.

Garlic is easy to add to the diet as a culinary herb, and I always save my garlic skins to toss into broths. The suggested daily dosage is one clove per day, added to food. My favorite garlicky preparation is fire cider—a sweet and spicy tonic made with apple cider vinegar. I recommend trying our ruby-red recipe for Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider. To fully capitalize on garlic’s antimicrobial and blood thinning qualities, it should be eaten raw.

Contraindications: Garlic can aggravate heartburn and gas, especially if ingested raw or in large quantities. It can also aggravate peptic ulcers. Coating garlic with olive oil or preparing it in an oil-based sauce helps minimize these effects. Avoid high doses of raw garlic one week before surgery due to its blood-thinning qualities. If taking blood thinners, consult a cardiologist before taking high doses of raw garlic.

Astragalus pressed roots

4. Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus, Fabaceae [formerly Astragalus membranaceus])

Parts Used: Root

Preparations: Decoction, powder, soup and stew stock, goo balls

Herbal Actions: 

      • Immune tonic
      • Immunomodulator
      • Antiviral
      • Antibacterial
      • Adaptogen
      • Antioxidant
      • Cardiotonic
      • Hepatic

Astragalus has become a renowned tonic in Western herbalism over the past two decades, primarily for its adaptogenic and tonic immune qualities. Scientific studies demonstrate that astragalus regulates white blood cell (immune cell) activity and stimulates our natural killer cells (NK cells)  to present a strong front against pathogens. Astragalus has also demonstrated increased interferon production (an antiviral and immune-signaling agent produced by the body).3

Astragalus is best used as a daily remedy to build immune strength—its medicine is slow and sustained, with full benefits reached after weeks of daily ingestion. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, astragalus augments the Wei Qi, which can be likened to a protective sphere, shielding the body from harmful external pathogens.

Astragalus, or Huang qi (Astragalus propinquus)

Because astragalus is a food herb, it’s safe to take relatively large amounts regularly. I love adding a handful to broth, integrating the fine-flavored root into herbal chai, and mixing the powder into goo balls, cookies, and other treats. Tincture is not recommended because alcohol doesn’t optimally extract astragalus’ immune-enhancing polysaccharides. These polysaccharides are water soluble and more readily extracted with prolonged decoctions or simmering.

Astragalus root has a sweet, beany flavor (it is in the legume, or bean, family, after all), making it easy to sneak into the diets of picky eaters, including kids. Toss a few of the pressed roots (these look like tongue depressors, and are pictured above) into any simmering stew, soup, or sauce, and it will impart only the tiniest of flavor imprints! The roots can be pulled out of the dish, much as you would pull out a bay leaf, right before serving.

Contraindications: Because astragalus stimulates immune activity, it could potentially weaken the effects of immunosuppressive pharmaceuticals, such as cyclosporine and corticosteroids. This adverse reaction is theoretical in humans but has been verified in animal studies.4 In high doses (30 grams or more) and via injection, astragalus has caused itching and allergic skin reactions. Symptoms of overdose may include headaches, insomnia, dizziness, hot flashes, and hypertension.

Fresh turkey tail

5. Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor, Polyporaceae)

Parts Used: Mushroom fruiting body

Preparations: Long decoction, soup stock

Herbal Actions:

    • Immune tonic
    • Immune stimulant
    • Antiviral
    • Antitumor
    • Antioxidant

Turkey tail is a medicinal mushroom and immune tonic par excellence, with significant antiviral and immune-balancing qualities.5It’s beneficial for anyone who wants to prime their immune system, but especially for those who experience general immune weakness or frequent upper respiratory infections. In addition to boosting immunity, some herbalists believe turkey tail enhances the effects of antimicrobial herbs.6Turkey tail is a foundational herb for supporting the immune system in alternative cancer therapy and prevention.7

Like other medicinal mushrooms, turkey tail is best taken as a decoction or added to broth blends. Again, this is a perfect time to incorporate the warming flavors of chai. Turkey tail is mildly bitter—combine it with other medicinal mushrooms that are pleasant in flavor, such as shiitake (Lentinula edodes), maitake (Grifola frondosa), or lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus).

I make an herbal broth over the winter that contains astragalus, reishi (just a little, so it’s not too bitter), shiitake, turkey tail, calendula (Calendula officinalis), and seaweed. We add the broth to soups, stews, and marinades, and my picky daughter doesn’t notice the herbal flavor.  However, her immune system certainly takes note!

Turkey tail mushrooms

Turkey tail is one of the most common woodland mushrooms in the world—it’s likely growing near you! It can be found exclusively on dead hardwood trees, stumps, and branches (and sometimes on dead conifers).

Turkey tail does have some look-alikes, and proper identification is essential. That being said, many people successfully learn to know and recognize turkey tail. Its fruiting body is fan-shaped—bearing a likeness to a turkey’s opened tail feathers—with colored bands of blue, brown, red, gray, and white. Its undersides are white or tan in color and spotted with tiny pores (NOT gills). False turkey tail mushrooms (Stereum spp.) have a matte, tawny underside with no visible pores.

Here are some online resources to help you with identification:


After you’ve successfully identified it, look for healthy, young flushes of mushrooms to harvest. Leave plenty behind, so the mushroom can make spores and reproduce. Our family likes to chew on a piece or two while hiking for a fun fungal gum alternative.

You can also find turkey tail in medicinal mushroom preparations online and in your local health food store.  

Contraindications: Avoid if you have mushroom allergies.

References and Recommended Reading

      1. Moyers S. Garlic in Health, History, and World Cuisine. Suncoast Press; 1996.
      2. Bergner P. The Healing Power of Garlic: The Enlightened Person’s Guide to Nature’s Most Versatile Medicinal Plant. Prima Lifestyles; 1995.
      3. Denzler K, Moore J, Harrington H, et al. Characterization of the Physiological Response following In Vivo Administration of Astragalus membranaceus. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016.
      4. Chu DT, Wong WL, Mavligit GM. Immunotherapy with Chinese medicinal herbs. I. Immune restoration of local xenogeneic graft-versus-host reaction in cancer patients by fractionated Astragalus membranaceus in vitro. J Clin Lab Immunol. 1988.
      5. Hobbs C. Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing, and Culture. Book Publishing Company; 2002.
      6. Rogers R. The Fungal Pharmacy: The Complete Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms and Lichens of North America. North Atlantic Books; 2011.
      7. Patel, S, Goyal, A. Recent Developments in Mushrooms as Anti-Cancer Therapeutics: A Review. 3 Biotech. 2012.

Looking for more blog articles on herbs for the immune system? We’ve compiled our most comprehensive free herbal resources on the subject, and they’re all right here for your convenience.

Meet Our Contributors:

JULIET BLANKESPOOR founded the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in 2007 and serves as the school’s primary instructor and Creative Director. She's been a professional plant-human matchmaker for close to three decades. Juliet caught the plant bug when she was nineteen and went on to earn a degree in Botany. She's owned just about every type of herbal business you can imagine: an herbal nursery, a medicinal products business, a clinical practice, and now, an herbal school.

These days, she channels her botanical obsession with her writing and photography in her online programs and here on her personal blog, Castanea. She's writing her first book: Cultivating Medicinal Herbs: Grow, Harvest, and Prepare Handcrafted Remedies from Your Home Garden. Juliet and her houseplants share a home with her family and herb books in Asheville, North Carolina.

MEGHAN GEMMA is one of the Chestnut School’s primary instructors through her written lessons, and is also the principal pollinator of the Chestnut School’s social media community – sharing herbal and wild foods wisdom from the flowery heart of the school to an ever-wider field of friends, gardeners, healers, and plant lovers.

She has been in a steady relationship with the Chestnut School since 2010—as an intern and manager at the Chestnut Herb Nursery; as a plant-smitten student “back in the day” when the school’s programs were taught in the field; and later as a part the school’s woman-powered professional team. Meghan lives in the Ivy Creek watershed, just north of Asheville, North Carolina.


Are you intrigued with the idea
of foraging but intimidated by where to start?

The course begins with the basic ground rules of foraging safety and ethics, and then moves on to botany and plant identification. Before you know it, you’ll have the skills and confidence to safely identify and harvest wild plants.

You’ll befriend THE most common edible and medicinal wayside plants, including dandelion, stinging nettles, violet, yarrow, burdock, rose, goldenrod, and many others. The printable manual is hundreds of pages long and filled with close-up photos for identification, medicinal uses, and loads of easy-to-follow recipes. In fact, most of our plant profiles contain more detail than you’ll find in any book on wild foods and herbs.

Sign up for free tutorials (videos + articles) on Foraging and herbal medicine, and to be notified about new course offerings.


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Mar 262018

The human body requires rather steady and frequent intakes of essential vitamins and minerals in order to perform the biological functions that it needs to. A balanced and varied diet is the preferred means of obtaining essential vitamins and minerals, however nutrient deficiencies can occur even amongst those populations with a bounty of food. As such, supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals is an effective means of fortifying one’s diet and boosting nutrient content in a consistent manner.

Are you struggling to prioritise your nutrients? Here are my top 3 recommendations:

One of the most abundant minerals in the body, magnesium is used for a variety of functions including energy production, nervous system function and stress management, muscular relaxation, blood pressure maintenance, blood glucose maintenance and bone health. Avoid taking formulations that include magnesium oxide and magnesium sulfate as they are poorly absorbed and can have a laxative effect. Instead opt for magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate and magnesium citrate which are better absorbed.

B Group vitamins
These include vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate (B9) and B12. This group of nutrients have wide spread effects and are used for energy production, nerve tissue conduction, neurotransmitter synthesis (chemicals that regulate mood, concentration, memory, pleasure), red blood cell formation, hormone synthesis and heart health. Whenever possible, select a product that contains B group vitamins in their active forms as these are easily absorbed and can be readily used by the body.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs)
EFAs cannot be produced by the body, yet they are essential for good health. Fish oils are particularly rich in this unique fatty acid. The active ingredients that give fish oil its therapeutic benefits are EPA and DHA. EPA is an essential nutrient that reduces inflammation within our bodies and helps to regulate our mood, whilst DHA supports our central nervous system health and our cardiovascular function. Heavy metals and other impurities easily contaminate fish oils. Thus, when selecting fish oil ensure that your choice of manufacturer maintains a high standard of quality control.

If you’re after additional food and nutritional alternatives, book an appointment with our Naturopath, Julia. Available for consultation on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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Dec 042017

The kidneys in Traditional Chinese Medicine are a vital energy system. They are the root of all yin and yang in the body, and they store our essence. They govern growth, reproduction and healthy progression through the different cycles of life. They play a role in healthy aging and preventing lots of age-related decline. They also control the bones, the low back and the knees. On a mental-emotional level, the kidneys are associated with fear – an imbalance in the kidney energy often leads to irrational or pervasive fear. On a spiritual level, the kidneys are the source of our Zhi, or will-power – our drive to succeed, to thrive and to be alive.

So a weakness in the kidney energy can create any number of problems in the body. An accurate diagnosis of a kidney weakness requires evaluation by a practitioner of TCM, but most people can benefit from some kidney tonification, particularly if trying to get pregnant, when healing from a chronic illness and after the age of 65. Chinese Herbs are safe and effective when prescribed by a licensed practitioner. Below are some of the most common tonic herbs we prescribe in TCM to nourish the kidneys.

Shu Di Huang (Rehmannia Root, Chinese Foxglove Root): Shu Di Huang tonifies and nourishes the yin aspect of the kidneys. It also strongly nourishes the blood energy of the body. Shu Di Huang is used in many herbal formulas for insomnia, hot flashes, night sweats and anxiety.

Gou Qi Zi (Chinese Wolfberry Fruit, Goji Berries): Gou Qi Zi nourishes the yin and blood of both the Kidneys and the Liver. It benefits the essence stored in the kidneys, and has a specific function of brightening the eyes. It can be used in the appropriate formulas for issues such as weakness in the low back, trouble sleeping, dizziness, blurry vision, nocturnal emissions and infertility.

He Shou Wu (Polygonum, Fleeceflower Root): He Shou Wu is another herb to nourish the yin and blood of the liver and kidney. It has a specific function of nourishing the hair to prevent premature thinning and graying. It can also be used in formulas for chronic constipation, dizziness, vertigo, blurry vision, infertility or weakness in the low back and knees.

Rou Cong Rong (Broomrape Stem): Rou Cong Rong strengthens the yang aspect of the kidneys, or the source of warm, fiery energy in the body. As such, it is used in formulas for infertility, impotence and urinary disorders such as urinary dribbling or incontinence. It also has a function of moistening the intestines and can be used for certain types of chronic constipation.

Rou Gui (Dried Cinnamon Bark): Rou Gui also strengthens the yang of the kidneys, and warms the kidneys and the channels. It is used in formulas for symptoms such as a deep feeling of cold, cold limbs, weakness in the low back, impotence, frequent urination, chronic pain worse in the cold, wheezing and certain types of menstrual pain.

Most of these herbs need to be prescribed by a licensed practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine. If you want to nourish the kidneys on your own, consider adding Shan Yao (Chinese Yam) into your diet, and picking up some Goji Berries at your local health store. You can also incorporate kidney-nourishing foods into your diet, such as fish, seaweed, miso, kidney beans, black beans and bone broth.

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Nov 102017

How to boost immunity? You may not know how strong your immune system is. Your immune system is more powerful and extremely protective than you really imagine. The immune system protects you almost every second from threats, infections and microorganisms.

Boost Immunity – Why Should you Focus?

A good immune system is the key to prevent diseases and ensure longevity. How to build immunity against disease? Building immunity against diseases precisely is not a single entity. A combination of various elements creates balance and harmony in the body which strengthen the immunity.

To quote an example, every individual lives with cancer cells. Don’t panic. The normal cells turn cancerous under various circumstances and different triggering factors. It literally indicates that every individual pose the risk of getting cancer.  The similar principle applies to different health conditions, more specifically chronic and auto-immune diseases (and it is termed auto-immune diseases as it has no cure. When you have a strong immune system, you can lead a healthy life with no traces of diseases.

Let’s take a look at 10 ways to boost immunity

1. Eat Right 

Building immunity against diseases start from what you eat. Literally, food is everything when it comes to health and wellness. You cannot overlook healthy and nutritious foods.

  • Eat a balanced meal, including foods from all sources like grains, meat or vegetarian proteins, fresh produce, etc.
  • Eat at least two or three cups of veggies and fruits every day.
  • Develop the habit of eating at least one fruit a day.

Vitamin C is called as an immune booster. Adding foods rich in vitamin C stimulates the immune function naturally. A glass of lemon juice or orange juice a day provides you vitamin C and enhances your immunity.

2. Boost Immunity with Yoga 

Yoga is an art of living. It heals from internally. It makes your body toned, stronger, flexible, and healthy. One simple answer, how to boost immunity with yoga! Regular practice of yoga delays aging. It maintains your core strong! When age becomes just a number, you remain energetic and healthy for years

3. 20 to 30 Minutes Exercises 

Not many aware about the effectiveness of physical activity in boosting immunity. It adds a lot of defenses to the immune system which protects the body from diseases and infections.

The term ‘exercise’ is very simple and it literally covers all types of physical activities. When you exercise or even simply walk for a few minutes, your body gets the antibodies. It makes the white blood cells (the immune cells) move faster in the body, which enhances the ability of detecting the illness quicker.

In addition, exercise increases circulation, which releases healthy hormones that protect the immune cells from intruding pathogens.

Don’t involve in high intensity activities. Merely 10 to 15 minutes walking a few times a day is sufficient to boost the immunity against diseases

4. Adequate Vitamin D aka Sun Light 

Yet another most overlooked factor that affects the immune system is low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is closely linked with a lot of chronic disorders and frequent infections. According to Center for Disease Control, adequate Vitamin D could enhance the immune’s response. Vitamin D is found in very few foods, but available in abundance naturally!

Yes, soak in the sun for a few minutes a day and get the daily dose of Vitamin D.

5. De-stress to Boost Immunity 

Stress may have a very long-term effect in the body. Stress releases many hormones which target the immune system. In fact, stress is the major trigger of many diseases. De-stress to boost the immunity.

6. Count on Herbs and Spices to Boost Immunity 

Include a lot of herbs and spices in your diet. Herbs and spices are natural immune boosters.

Spices and Herbs are meant to improve immunity and prevent developing illnesses. Add the aromatic and flavorful ingredients from mild to moderate in daily cooking. For instance, peppercorns, cumin seeds ginger, garlic, cardamom, fennel, fenugreek, etc.

7. Avoid taking nutritional supplements

Unless recommended by a doctor, don’t go for any health or nutritional supplement. You may have low vitamin and mineral levels in the body. In many instances, you can gain the nutrients from foods you eat. Eat nutritious foods and avoid taking supplements.

8. Say no to Antibiotics 

Antibiotics are designed to cure the illness quickly and help in faster recovery. However, in reality, it impacts the immune system. Taking antibiotics suppresses the immunity and resistance.

9. Say no to smoking and drinking. 

Needless to details the toxic effect of smoking and drinking.

10. Enjoy a good sleep.

Having sound sleep is one of the best ways to boost immunity, which regulates the normal mechanisms of the body.

Boost Immunity with Healthy Lifestyle

If you are physically and mentally healthy, you can beat all odds away! Changing lifestyle makes us vulnerable to catch more diseases more often! A minor fluctuation in climate? You catch cold and fever! Not stronger enough to climb or go trek. Poor digestion! And many more.

When the core is not strong, you get diseases. A healthy immune system prevents diseases. How to boost immunity? Can you go for immunity building pills? Drink shakes and protein powders? Try out some supplements? Ignore it all. Stay tuned with nature and stick to healthy lifestyle habits and eating practices.

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