It’s important to have a properly functioning immune system. It can intervene and protect you from outside invaders, like bacteria. An improved immune response also helps prevent chronic inflammation, which can cause serious health issues, too. Eating healthy, getting plenty of rest, and regular exercise can help improve immune health. Some herbs boost immune functioning.
Beauty comes with benefits.
The purple coneflower, also known as the echinacea, is beautiful, but it also has long been used as a health aid. The Choctaw tribe used it for upset stomach treatment, sore throats, and coughs. The Sioux treated rabies, snakebite, and wounds with it. The Cheyenne treated skin conditions and colds using Echinacea purpurea. Settlers followed their lead and it became a home remedy. The active phytochemicals in echinacea stimulate the immune system to help shorten the duration of colds, sore throats, and the flu.
The warm smell of cinnamon brings holiday memories and an immune boost.
While purple coneflowers boost immune response, cinnamon helps do that job and simultaneously controls inflammation. It’s a potent antioxidant with anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal benefits. The benefits partially come from the E-cinnamaldehyde it contains. Studies found that E-cinnamaldehyde or cinnamon essential oil inhibits the growth of listeria bacteria and salmonella. It simply adds a delicious flavor to apples, tea, or other fruit.
Paprika fires up the immune system.
Paprika comes from chili peppers, which were cultivated over 7000 years ago in an area that’s now Brazil and part of Bolivia. The plants spread to Europe via Columbus. It became a mainstay of Hungarian and Spanish food. Dried red pepper flakes provide the same immune-building response. It comes from capsaicin, vitamin A, and vitamin C in hot red peppers. Vitamin A helps regulate the immune response. Vitamin C keeps immune cells healthy and can reduce the effect of some viruses. The capsaicin gives the peppers and paprika heat. It is anti-inflammatory and relieves pain.
- Ginger beer, ginger ale, and ginger tea have long been used for treatments for nausea, vomiting, and headaches. It’s gingerol and shogaol in ginger that provide the benefits. They are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and help relieve pain while boosting the immune system.
- One well-known immune booster is turmeric. Curcumin in turmeric provides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers. To boost the power of turmeric, combine it with black pepper.
- Just smelling peppermint can help clear your nose. It’s the menthol in peppermint that provides the power to open and relax airways. Peppermint also contains flavonoids that help protect and repair the body.
- Sweet basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme all help boost the immune response and provide many other benefits for the body. One type of basil—cinnamon basil—contains linalool that also fights inflammation and has a delicious scent everyone loves.
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