12 Herbs To Strengthen Your Immune System Now (Before Flu Season Strikes!)

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Photo credit: bigstock.com

Despite what you might have heard from mainstream medical news, it is your immune system, not flu shots, that can really help you fight off cold and flu germs, not to mention a host of other diseases. Your immune system is your first line of defense when it comes to any type of foreign invader including H1N1 virus, SARS, MRSA, even cancer.

Your immune system is a complicated and advanced system that works 24/7 to keep you healthy and alive. Although drug intervention, such as antibiotics, is sometimes necessary, it should only be a final resort. Antibiotics are a double edged sword — they will kill the bacteria causing your disease, but they kill everything good in your body in the process, ruining your immune system.

If you really want to avoid colds and the flu this coming winter, the time to start strengthening your immune system is now, not after you are sick. There is no magic pill or herb that you can take at the height of the flu season that will work overnight. Like growing vegetables, your immune system takes time to build itself up and strengthen its defense system. If you start now, by the time most people are getting their flu shots in October and November, you will have already fortified your natural defense system.

Herbs are some of the best ways to support and strengthen your immune system. Keep reading for 12 of the best bets around and avoid the flu this fall, winter, and spring!


1. Ganoderma

This is a type of very bitter mushroom that is sometimes called a reishi mushroom. Used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, ganoderma has been associated with good health and longevity. Studies back up traditional beliefs about this mushroom, showing that it fights cancer as well as improves the immune system. Ganoderma has powerful antioxidant compounds as well as being anti-bacterial. You can consume this in a supplement, but be careful about the company you buy from, as some of the cheap imports contain little or no actual ganoderma.


2. Echinacea

This is one of the most popular immune-boosting flowering herbs known to man. Although some studies have argued its effectiveness, most research continues to find evidence that this herb is a great option for both the prevention and treatment of colds, flu, and other types of upper respiratory conditions. Related to the daisy family, this herb has been used by the Native Americans for hundreds, if not thousands, of years to fight infection and improve the immune system. Studies show that Echinacea can increase white blood cells, spleen cells, and even increases core body temperature. This is due to the phenolic compounds in this plant. Most people consume Echinacea as a supplement, but it also makes a fine cup of tea. Be sure to breathe in the healing steam!


3. Gingko Biloba

This very popular supplement is well-known for improving energy levels, but not nearly as well-known for its ability to strengthen the immune system. The leaves of this plant contain potent antioxidants called bilobalides and ginkgolides, which protect your body from the damage caused by free radicals. This herb has even been shown in studies to protect the body from radiation. Studies show that this ancient herb neutralizes the oxidizing agents, as well as free radicals, due to radiation. Gingko biloba can even reduce brain damage and stop premature aging. This is another supplement that is often imported and sold rather cheaply, but tests have shown cheaper supplements have very little, if any, gingko biloba. Be sure you buy from a reputable supplier.

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