Herbal Heroes for Immunity
Posted: 30 August 2022
When it comes to viruses and bugs, this season has been more brutal than ever! Although unpleasant, it’s important to understand that it’s healthy to have a mild cold or flu once or twice per year, this is a sign our immune system is doing its thing and creating antibodies!
A Naturopath's Guide to Immunity
When it comes to viruses and bugs, this season has been more brutal than ever! Although unpleasant, it’s important to understand that it’s healthy to have a mild cold or flu once or twice per year, this is a sign our immune system is doing its thing and creating antibodies! the very things that help protect us against future viral infections.
However, when we’re run-down, or have just come out of an pandemic *clears throat*, there’s bound to be an influx of illness. Luckily, mother nature provides a range of herbal heroes to support immunity at all stages of infection. Let’s take a look.
‘I’ve got a tickle in my throat and can feel something looming’
The herbs echinacea and andrographis are my naturopathic go-to’s at the early stages of a cold or flu. Both herbs are anti-viral and immune-enhancing, meaning they may help in the initial and ‘peak’ stage of a viral infection.
‘I’m in the thick of it!’
Your immune system will love herbal support from elderflower, eyebright and echinacea. Elderflower and eyebright are heroes when it comes to nasal congestion and sinus discomfort; combine this with the immune-enhancing actions of echinacea and you’ve got yourself a beautiful recipe for assisting the common cold.
‘I feel like I could cough up a lung!’
Lung-loving herbs include mullein, thyme and marshmallow root. While mullein and thyme get to work at clearing excess mucus and reduce spasmodic coughing, marshmallow helps to soothe a dry and ‘razor-blade’ throat.
‘I don’t seem to be recovering well and keep getting sick’
You’re in need of reishi, astragalus and siberian ginseng. These plants are well-known adaptogens and provide immune-modulating actions. Such actions gently improve immune function (without stimulating it, like andrographis) and increase the body’s adaptation to physical (and mental!) stress.
Of course, we also need to understand why you’re getting sick so often – Are you stressed? Do you have nutrient deficiencies? Is your gut unhappy? (70% of our immune system lies within the gut, so this is crucial to address). A visit to your trusted GP and naturopath is recommended for recurrent illness.
Quality and Dosage Matters
When sourcing herbs, ensure they’re from a reputable company that tests, regulates and standardises their raw ingredients. Chatting to a herbalist or naturopath is the best way to ensure safety and quality. Like always, if you’re taking medication or have a diagnosed medical condition, chat to a naturopath or herbalist first.
About the Author
Laura Ballin is a Clinical Naturopath (BHSc) passionate about empowering individuals to reconnect with their body and return home to their true-self. After battling with an eating disorder and various digestive concerns, Laura has a special interest in the gut, mental health, women’s hormonal health and skin conditions. Laura is available for consultations in South-East Queensland and online.