Where is my resistance?

To be healthy it is necessary to build up good resistance against bacteria and viruses. But where is that resistance in our body? And how can we improve that resistance? The resistance of our body. This real but somewhat vague term has been given concrete meaning in recent years through scientific knowledge about the immune system.

Resistance

The immune system, like the heart, is not a concrete organ that we can find in the body. But it is bound to different organs and mechanisms. Lymph nodes, spleen and thymus gland together with white blood cells ensure that bacteria, viruses and other threatening mini-beasts do not undermine the body.
Due to the poor functioning of these mechanisms, you become more susceptible to all kinds of infectious diseases, flu, colds, but also to herpes, glandular fever and to the HIV virus and coronaviruses.

The thymus gland

is perhaps the most important organ for our defense mechanism. It produces, among other things, T lymphocytes, which can neutralize yeasts, fungi and also the herpes simplex virus. The thymus gland shrivels with age, a natural process that is accelerated under the influence of stress and chronic diseases. Herbs that improve thymus activity include Coneflower and Licorice.

White blood cells

With names such as neutrophils, basophils, and macrophages, the white blood cells seem like alien creatures. In reality, it is a collection of specialized organisms that emerged and evolved from external attacks. A survival tactic of action and reaction. These white blood cells recognize hostile invaders and neutralize them. Macrophages or feeding cells clean up the remains during and after the slaughter and thus ensure that the liver, spleen and lymph nodes remain clean and healthy. Many medicinal plants such as purple coneflower, but also Panax ginseng and Eleutherococcus have a macrophage-stimulating effect.

Interferon and others

In addition to the foot soldiers of white blood cells, our body produces all kinds of other antibodies at the right time. Interferon and interleukins are important for recognizing cancer cells and viruses. These substances are also used separately in medicine as medicines. In naturopathy we try to promote the body’s own production through healthy nutrition, exercise, but also through the use of stimulating plants. Interferon production can be promoted by purple coneflower, Astragalus membranaceus and Licorice.

Herbs and the immune system

Plants that influence the immune system in various ways are called immunomodulatory plants or immune stimulants. It is clear that purple coneflower is an important immunomodulatory plant, but there are many other herbs with a similar effect. The German official Rote Liste mentions Calendula officinalis (Marigold), Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) and Achillea millefolium (Yarrow), to name just a few simple weeds. Sambucus nigra (Elder) and Thymus (Thyme) are my personal favorites. Elder especially for viral infections such as flu and Thyme for bronchial disorders and for follow-up treatment for infectious diseases to regain strength.

Simple advice for a healthy immune system

  • Lifestyle: alternate healthy effort (exercise) with rest and healthy sleep.
  • Diet: consume little sugar, drink plenty of vegetable juices, fast occasionally (or eat little)
  • Herbal preventive: Twice a year a treatment with Echinacea tincture (1:5), for example 20 drops 3 times a day for 2 weeks.
  • Herbs for acute infections: Elderflower tea, 5 times a day a cup of warm tea with honey, possibly together with real chamomile and lime blossom.

 

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