The immune system protects us from sickness and disease. Many parts of the body make up the immune system including the thymus, spleen, lymph glands, tonsils, adenoids, enzymes, proteins, and bone marrow. White blood cells and lymphocytes, constantly searching for harmful antigens, make up the backbone of immune defenses. These little security guards are constantly dealing with viruses, funguses, bacteria, parasites, pollen, insect venoms, chemicals, malignant cells, and foreign intruders.
Symptoms of poor immunity include chronic infection, inflammation, frequent colds, respiratory problems, swollen lymph glands, exhaustion, chronic fatigue, food allergies, and depression. When the immune system is working at peak performance, the body does not get sick. Good diet, restful sleep, and exercise are the main requirements for keeping the immunity in good shape. Breathing fresh clean air, getting morning sunlight, and maintaining low stress levels are also important.
Toxic substances can wreck havoc with the immune system. Avoid junk food (saturated fats and sugars), tobacco, pesticides, herbicides, recreational drugs, antibiotics, and steroids. Many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can contribute to a decline in immunity and should be taken with caution.
“Take time to smell the roses” is a great old saying that holds true today as it did in past ages. Memorable fragrances like baby powder, pumpkin pie, or freshly mowed grass, combined with relaxation techniques like deep breathing can greatly reduce stress and boost immunity. So can smelling lavender, rosemary, and other fragrant herbs. Scheduling time in for relaxation, meditation, and prayer works wonders for the immune system
Aromatherapy is a great way to build up immunity. Use favorite essential oils in massage, bath, and diffusers. Virtually every essential oil is active against bacteria and almost all essential oils stimulate production of white blood cells. It has been found that people who use essential oils have a much higher level of resistance to illness. They catch fewer colds and recover more quickly.
“Laughter is the best medicine” especially holds true in cases of a depressed immunity. Find reasons to laugh. See a funny movie, get together with friends, or read a light-hearted book. Studies show that laughter actually does decrease harmful chemicals that suppress the immune system.
In cases of depressed immunity, take high potency green superfoods daily. The active ingredients in “green drinks” can detoxify the blood. Whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables should be consumed at every meal.
Many herbs can build immunity. Echinacea, ginseng, mushrooms, goldenseal, yellowrrot, rosemary, licorice, astragalus, burdock, milk thistle seed, white willow, elderflowers, catnip, yarrow, boneset, hawthorn, garlic, and dandelion work to improve the immune system.
For added protection during the cold and flu season, start taking immunity building herbal teas and tinctures on a daily basis. Try taking Echinacea for a couple of weeks, then switch to a yellowroot / ginseng mixture. For best results, avoid excessive or prolonged use of any herb.
*Always consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy.
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