Helpful Herbs for Natural Immune Support
by Purple Herbal
My husband woke up the other day with a sore throat and felt like an illness was coming on. I had the same icky feeling a couple of days before, and since this blog is a place where I discuss my personal experiences with herbal medicine, I wanted to talk a little bit about what herbs (in tincture form) my husband and I used in order to feel better.
Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean
Hyssop is an herb that I just recently started to corporate into my herbal medicine regimen. I bought the tincture last winter because I knew it would be very helpful for my family. It is a very powerful body cleanser, because it loosens mucous from the lungs and throat, and it also helps to reduce fever. Hyssop helps to clean the blood and increase circulation, both important factors when it comes to healing.
Astragalus is an herb traditionally used in Chinese medicine. It strengthens the body’s immune system, because of its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It can help cure a variety of different ailments: everything from colds to fatigue to kidney disease and hepatitis. The root of the astragalus plant is the most commonly used part of this plant.
Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs used today. It’s considered a “cure-all” because of it’s wide range of use. Studies have shown that this herb contains anti-viral and anti-oxidant compounds that enhance a person’s immune system. Not only do I love echinacea as an herbal remedy, but the flowers themselves are absolutely gorgeous. An interesting bit of trivia: the name echinacea comes from the Greek work echinos, meaning hedgehog. If you’ve ever touched the center of an echinacea flower, you’ll know why the name is appropriate!
Goldenseal is often times used in conjunction with echinacea. I use a tincture that contains both. Unfortunately, goldenseal has been over harvested in many areas, so oregon-grape root many be substituted for those who wish to substitute a more sustainable herb. Goldenseal is very bitter, and it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Berberine is the compound in goldenseal that has been shown to kill off bacteria and other microbes. Goldenseal is great to take for immune support, skin diseases, and for healing wounds. However, because of how powerful this herb is, children, breastfeeding mothers, and people with high blood pressure and liver disease should probably not use this herb. It can also interfere with some medication because the berberine may change with the way the liver metabolizes the medicine.
I wish to stress how important it is to purchase your herbal medicine tinctures, teas, and capsules from well-established and reputable companies. This is the only way to ensure that you are getting the correct herb and the proper dosage. German studies of several different echinacea herb products alone have shown that sometimes the herb isn’t even in the preparation or it doesn’t contain the amount of echinacea it says it does.
Growing your own herbs would be best, but I started out just going to my local health food store and buying the herbs in bulk to create my own tinctures, teas, and capsules, so that I knew what was in my herbal preparations. A coffee grinder can be used to grind herbs, if you can’t find them already ground. Mason jars can hold the herbal tinctures and empty tea bags can be filled with your herb of choice.