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Keep Well in the Winter #2 – The Herbal Way

Oct 23, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, the impending cold and flu season prompts consideration of herbs for supporting the immune system during winter.

In my recent blog, I emphasized the significance of lifestyle choices in boosting the immune system. It’s essential to recognize that actions matter more than supplements.

When turning to herbs for immune support, it’s crucial to note that while many herbs boast a rich history of immune system use, most lack human research due to financial constraints (plants can’t be patented, making such research less lucrative).

Labels like “antiviral” or “antibacterial” don’t elucidate how herbs work or their optimal conditions for effectiveness.

To illustrate, let’s delve into three immune-supporting herbs often deemed antiviral but, upon closer inspection, prove distinct from one another.

Herbs for supporting the immune system in the winter.

Three types of herbs can be used to support the immune system in the winter:

  • Herbal Immune Stimulants
  • Herbal Immunomodulators
  • Herbal Immune Tonic

Herbal Immune Stimulants

Herbal immune stimulants are herbs used for a short time during an acute condition. They stimulate white blood cell activity and, by doing so, help the body fight infections. 

Herbal immune stimulants have an immediate but short-lived effect on the immune system. Therefore they need to be administered frequently during the initial stages of an acute disease.

Because herbal stimulants encourage the immune system to create inflammation, they are usually warming in nature. For people with a warm constitution, namely, people who heat up easily, are hot-tempered, or are passionate, immune stimulant herbs might be aggravating. 

 

Echinacea:

Echinacea has a PR as an antiviral and an immune support herb, But the primary action of Echinacea is as a nervine that stimulates the immune system because it allows the body to di – stress.

When you are under stress, your body channels all its resources to survive the immediate attack. That means that resources are allocated to the muscles and the senses so you can anticipate the threat and fight or flight. Resources are moved away from the body’s digestion, elimination, productive, and immune functions. After all, who cares if you have the flu if a saber-toothed tiger is after you. 

Echinacea will work best in people that get sick because they are depleted, stressed, struggle with insomnia or feel rundown. It is for when you are so burned out that you feel that you can “catch” anything at any moment.

Take Echinacea when you are traveling or when you are depleted.

 

Herbal Immunomodulators

Herbal immunomodulators take longer to affect the immune system, but they affect it for a prolonged time. Generally, their energetics are more neutral, so they are not overly warming or too cooling. That makes them appropriate for use in a long stretch of time. 

Immunomodulating herbs have what, at first glance, might look like an opposing effect, which just proves how complex herbs are.

 For a person with a weakened immune system that is experiencing a recurring infectious disease or that is healing from a long illness that might have depleted the immune system, immunomodulating herbs will help restore immune system function. 

For a person with a hyperactive immune system, such as in allergies and autoimmune diseases, these herbs might calm down the immune system.

Many immunomodulating herbs are adaptogens. Adaptogens help the body harmonize the endocrine and nervous system response. Doing so reduces body, mental, and emotional stress and increases immunity. 

Herbal immunomodulators can be taken daily during the fall and winter months to bolster immunity and lessen the chance of succumbing to common viral infections. 

 

Astragalus

Astragalus was found to increase the number of T helper 1 cells. Th1 is part of the adaptive immune system that acts against pathogens within the cells, like in the case of viruses. 

Astragalus was traditionally used after a long disease when the immune system is depleted, for people that “catch” the cold repeatedly, or for people after a medical treatment that compromises their immune system, as in chemotherapy.

Astragalus was not used during the acute stages of the disease when symptoms like fever and congestion were prevalent. 

To take astragalus root, slice 3-4 grams and simmer with your chai.

 

Herbal Immune Tonic

Herbal immune tonics work in the same way as herbal immunomodulating herbs do. They are used for a prolonged time. 

 

Elder

Although the berries got most of the PR as an antiviral herbal remedy, the dried flowers are a much more reliable remedy. Elder flowers are relaxed diaphoretic. They will help circulate heat from the body’s center to the skin’s pores and induce sweating.

 Elder flowers will also act as an expectorant. They will help the body expectorate phlegm from the lungs, and so are indicated in fevers accompanied by stuffy sinus or lung congestion.

As a relaxant, elder flowers are mildly calming; they will help an irritated child or adult with fever rest so the body can heal.

Herbalist Jim Mcdonald wrote about elderberry.

“Elderberry preparations mildly stimulate immune activity and also directly inhibit the influenza virus by inhibiting the virus’s ability to invade healthy cells and multiply there. Because of this, elderberry is revered as an “antiviral,” though we should remember that elderflower also acts to support the body’s immune responses to viral infections, and remember that “antiviral” doesn’t mean “kills all viruses”… the berries inhibit viral reproduction, which is awesome but doesn’t make them an infallible cure for any and all viruses.”

By doing so, elderberries reduce symptoms and duration of the flu.

You go beyond the symptoms if you practice herbalism as a holistic modality. The three herbs that I shared with you are known as antiviral. But an experienced herbalist treats not the symptoms but the person who has the symptoms.

The immune system is one of the most complex fascinating systems in the body. To learn more about how the body keep dynamic boundaries between self and world join Indigestion – Gut & Immune System Connection

 

 

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Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

Keep Well in the Winter #2 – The Herbal Way

Oct 23, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

Keep Well in the Winter #2 – The Herbal Way

Oct 23, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

Keep Well in the Winter #2 – The Herbal Way

Oct 23, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

Keep Well in the Winter #2 – The Herbal Way

Oct 23, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

Keep Well in the Winter #2 – The Herbal Way

Oct 23, 2022 | Herbalism Blog

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER

Feeling inspired? Want more?

Continue your learning by joining the Bee Fields Farm newsletter and gain access to exclusive content that is sure to nourish your mind, body, and soul.

Example topics include:

  • seasonal recipes
  • how-to’s
  • tips & tricks
  • farm & community updates
  • upcoming programs
  • and so much more…

ENROLL TODAY

Together we’ll transform your health and reach new levels of vibrancy at any age.

Love, Lior

Pencil drawing of bee to separate text

Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

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