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Herbs that boost immunity

There are many natural methods that can be used to strengthen the defence mechanisms of the body. Our immune system depends on the smooth functioning of all our organs, body parts and the various supportive systems such as respiration, digestion, blood circulation and very importantly our mental processes.

The key to resisting infections and ailments lies in appropriate diet, exercise, sleep and a healthy mental outlook. In every culture, herbs have been used to aid in supplementing diet and achieve mind-body well being. The ancients recognized the defense mechanisms and hardiness of certain plants and herbs. When consumed the same protective properties are made available to the human body.

The following are some herbs that help to support and enhance the body's self-defense mechanism against infections:

Garlic - The allicin and sulfides present in garlic are considered responsible for garlic's immune boosting properties. It stimulates the creation of white blood cells that help fight infections and promotes the efficacy of antibodies. A crushed clove of garlic taken with water every day is beneficial in many ways.

Turmeric - A very well known antibacterial and antiseptic agent. It is a powerful detoxicant and blood cleansing agent.

Amalaki - The Indian gooseberry fruit also known as amla has high levels of vitamin C and bioflavonoids which strengthen the immune system. It is a very important herb in ayurvedic medicine and is the base of the famous formulation Chyawanprash known for its protective action.

Spirulina - Various studies have shown that spirulina boosts immunity by increasing corpuscular hemoglobin and due to its high levels of anti-oxidants and B-vitamins. The blue pigment phycocyanin in spirulina has been said helpful in preventing formation of malignant cell colonies. In Russia Spirulina is considered a medical food as it was shown highly effective in improving the immunity of children suffering from radiation illness.

Vasaka - Also known as Malabar nut this herb helps to remove mucus and protects the respiratory system.

Tulasi - Teas made with this herb are very soothing during winter. Tulasi in combination with honey is a home remedy that helps to relieve the throat and chest

Trikatu - This is actually a combination of 3 pungent herbs (black pepper, long pepper and ginger) that helps to loosen phlegm, stimulate the respiratory tract, digestive tract and infuse warmth into the body.

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