15 Herbs Beneficial To Your Immune System

15 Herbs Beneficial To Your Immune System

Herbs have a long history of different health uses in various cultures and civilizations. Herbs offer a natural alternative to help boost health and wellness.

Herbs not only boost the strength of your immune system but some might even alleviate symptoms from illnesses like the flu. 

These herbs range from lesser-known ones like echinacea to more well-known options like ginger. 

Read on to learn how adding herbs to your diet can help your body thrive.

 

Cup of tea surround herbs that are beneficial to your immune system

[Related: 20 Foods that Increase Blood Flow and Circulation Naturally]

 

Defining the Immune System

Your immune system is a complex system that is designed to keep your body healthy and functioning correctly. This system works to fight off harmful bacteria, viruses, and other small particles that cause infections.

 

How Herbs can Benefit the Immune System

Overall, each of the herbs on this list has its benefits, but they all help the immune system in different ways.

Some herbs benefit the immune system by supporting the different white blood cells. Other herbs can also help boost immunity by increasing circulation, thereby enhancing the body's ability to fight off infections.

Your immune system has a tough job to do since it fights off bacteria, viruses, and fungi. So using any of these herbs might be a helpful step in optimizing your immune health and overall health, best yet, they're packed with additional nutrients! They're also convenient and versatile as they can come in the form of capsules, tea, or tinctures that can all be taken on an empty stomach. 

 

Herbs to Help Maintain Immune Health

Herbs maintain immunity by strengthening the different white blood cells and enhancing circulation. Herbs can also help reduce stress which is essential for overall health and immune function.

Try adding some of these herbs to your diet.

 

Best in Nature carries several herbal extracts high in purity that are traceably sourced. Check out our full line

 

Astragalus

Astragalus is also called huang qi or milk vetch. It comes from a type of bean or legume. Astralagus is an adaptogen, meaning it helps protect the body against various types of stress, including physical, mental, or emotional stress.

Benefit

It can enhance the production of white blood cells (NIH) and has also been used for its anti-inflammatory properties and could increase energy and stamina. Our immune systems weaken as we age. However, a recent study showed that a primary compound in Astralagus might have an age-reversing effect on the immune system

How to Use/Consume

This supplement commonly comes in a capsule, a powdered extract or in a tincture form.

 

[Related: The Surprising Benefits of Maca]

 

Black Elderberry

This flowing plant is part of the honeysuckle family that's been used medicinally for over 2000 years. 

Benefit

Elderberry has been thought to provide some ability to fight the common cold and the flu although it isn't conclusive. Recent events have renewed interest in elderberry's antiviral properties as cited here. Elderberry also produces anti-inflammatory cytokines that may provide a whole host of other health benefits. 

How to Use/Consume

This liquid supplement can be taken directly from the bottle or added to a drink, such as tea. 

 

Echinacea

Echinacea is a reaching plant in the daisy family.

Benefit

Echinacea is known for its ability to fight off illness and disease. It can be used to prevent colds, treat respiratory infections, and reduce fever. This plant has also been known to help reduce inflammation.

How to Use/Consume

This can be taken as a supplement in pill form or by drinking tea made from the plant's flower.

 

ginger

 

Ginger

Ginger is the root of a flowering plant of the Zingiberaceae family. In Asia, it's as popular for it's health properties as its taste. 

Benefit

Traditionally, ginger is known to help with digestion, combat nausea, and reduce inflammation. It is also used as a supplement during the cold season to prevent illness. There is some evidence to support this use as test-tube studies show that ginger may help with the immune response (NIH) . 

How to Use/Consume

Powders are easy to add to smoothies or drinks. The root can also be cooked and eaten in a variety of ways. The most common way is to cook pieces of the root in water with honey to make tea.

 

Goldenseal

Goldenseal is a perennial plant in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae.

Benefit

Goldenseal is an herb that has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. It's been used to treat illnesses such as sinusitis, throat infections, colds, flu, diarrhea, benefit fungal infections like candidiasis or athlete's foot. As a cold and flu remedy, it's typically paired with echinacea

How to Use/Consume

Goldenseal is commonly applied directly on the skin through salves or creams or found as an ingredient in herbal remedies. 

 

Olive Leaf

Olive leaf is one of the most valuable herbs on the planet. It is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and essential oils.

Benefit

This herb has potent antimicrobial properties that help fight infection. Studies have shown that olive leaf extract is a human immune response modulator. This is more true for extracts because it has a higher concentration of polyphenols. 

How to Use/Consume

Olive leaf is often used as a liquid extract or in powder form.

 

Oregano

Oregano is related to the sunflower. It is a very soothing herb that helps relax the body and mind.

Benefit

Oregano oil has shown promising results in the study of possible antiviral properties. The main compound thought to provide this benefit is carvacrol, but oregano oil as a whole has been found to be more effective against certain viruses than carvacrol on its own. 

How to Use/Consume

Oregano is often medicinally as an essential oil. But its also used as a tea or added to various dishes.

 herbs and spices

 

Reishi

Reishi mushrooms have been used for a long time in traditional Chinese herbalism. In more recent years, researchers have identified key bioactive polysaccharides that may be the source of their health-supporting properties. 

Benefit

Reishi can be used for colds, coughs, sore throats, bronchitis, asthma, tumors, diabetes mellitus, insomnia, hepatitis B and C infections. It is also anti-inflammatory because of its ability to reduce histamine in the body. 

How to Use/Consume

While traditionally reishi was consumed in tinctures, it also comes in convenient capsules

 

Garlic

Garlic is a common household herb that might be as healthy as it is tasty. 

Benefit

Garlic is known for its ability to fight off viruses and infections. It has many antimicrobial compounds that boost the immune system and help fight off certain bacteria, fungi, and parasites; garlic can serve as a preventative measure against illness and disease.

How to Use/Consume

You can cook with garlic, but the taste and effect on people's breath can be unpleasant for some. We don't suggest eating raw garlic as it can cause digestive upset. If you don't have an opportunity to cook with garlic, we offer an extract in capsule form!

 

Ginseng

Ginseng is a short, slow-growing plant, the roots of which have been used for numerous health benefits in multiple cultures. Ginseng's active ingredients, called ginsenosides, have been shown in animal studies to reduce cytokines related to inflammation and to help regulate cortisol levels.

Benefit

Ginseng is thought to be able to promote higher energy levels, better mental performance, lowering blood pressure, and perhaps most importantly flu prevention. Read more on that here (NIH). 

How to Use/Consume

Ginseng was traditionally boiled into teas or added to soups like Samgyetang. Today, though, there are many more convenient options like our Best American Ginseng



Basil

Basil is a common herb that is used in cooking that produces bright ever so slightly spicy notes. Its oils have been used in perfumes, dental, and other oral products. 

Benefit

Basil, particularly, basil oil has been found to have antimicrobial properties so unlike many of the others on this list, basil oil might offer some protection against bacteria and fungi. 

How to Use/Consume

You can eat fresh basil right from the stem. Or you can add it to a variety of cooking dishes.

 

Rosemary

Rosemary is an herb that is used in cooking.

Benefit

Rosemary has antibiotic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties which are thought to provide some immune-boosting function.

How to Use/Consume

You can use the leaves of the rosemary plant in cooking or make tea with them. You can also buy oil made from rosemary, which you can apply topically to the skin.

 herbs on table

Sage

Sage is commonly used for Thanksgiving dinner as its flavor pairs well with poultry, but it has plenty of health benefits.

Benefit

Sage can be used to help heal wounds and reduce the amount of scar tissue that forms and evidence has been found to support this in placebo-controlled studies

How to Use/Consume

You can add fresh sage leaves to your food or make a tea out of dried or fresh leaves. You should not eat sage if you are pregnant, however.

 

Thyme

Thyme is another herb often used in cooking.

Benefit

Thyme can be used as an antiseptic and has anti-inflammatory properties. Small studies have shown that it was able to boost the number of immune cells in the body which seems promising. Thyme oil also has a strong enough anti-microbial effect that it can be used to mitigate mold and clean dwellings

How to Use/Consume

You can add thyme leaves to your food, make tea with them or use thyme essential oil for topical application or aromatherapy.

 

Turmeric

Turmeric is used commonly in Indian cooking.

Benefit

Turmeric contains a unique compound called curcumin, which is responsible for giving curry its yellow color. Curcumin has been proven to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as cancer-fighting abilities.

How to Use/Consume

You can add turmeric spice to your food or to a drink. 

 

[Related: 10 Benefits of Drinking A Glass of Wine a Day]

 

Bottom Line

As you can see, herbs offer your immune system many benefits. Herbs are great to use in cooking, tea, or even aromatherapy. Herbs can be the perfect alternative when you do not want to use pharmaceuticals in your body. Herbs are also an abundant source of minerals, vitamins, and essential oils. Herbs offer countless benefits for your immune system.

 

Are you ready to make the most out of your immune system? Best in Nature has everything you need. Shop now.