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  • Heather D.

Herbal Immunity to Keep Your Respiratory System Healthy and Strong

Updated: Apr 1



TIPS FOR ARMING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC


Healthy lungs and healthy organs should always be a top priority for those seeking to live healthy, active lives. Unfortunately, you don't hear much in the MSM these days about how to eat correctly or what herbs to take. Everything is geared towards a magic pill that will cure you once you've already come down with something.


But Functional Medicine is a bit different. It seeks to prevent one from getting sick in the first place by giving priority to prevention and being proactive, while at the same time looking for the root cause of disease instead of inhibiting symptoms with synthetic pharmaceuticals.


So what steps can we take to arm ourselves against respiratory infections amidst the current environment? Here are some tips we've curated from the experts.




THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM


"The respiratory system is always filtering and removing particles from the air we breathe. Strengthening the respiratory lining, from our nasal passages to the lungs, will reduce the number of foreign bodies able to cause infection. Increasing the body’s ability to produce immune cells and communication between them is another way to protect respiratory health. Immune cells slowly get replaced as we age and the ability to communicate to other immune cells can get inhibited with inflammation or imbalanced hormone signaling," writes Dr. Anju Sodhi.


HERBAL IMMUNE SUPPORT


Astragalus

According to Lindsey Toth, MS, RD, "astragalus has been used by Chinese herbalists for thousands of years. Loaded with over 100 active compounds, including saponins, polysaccharides, amino acids, flavonoids and more, astragalus is used to support the body in many areas, including respiratory health.

Studies indicate that taking an astragalus supplement may give the respiratory system a boost and help soothe the airways. Aside from its respiratory-friendly benefits, astragalus is also a stellar source of antioxidants and supports immune health, cardio function and more."


Lungwort

According to Cambridge Mask Company, "In the early 1600’s, people believed that plants resembling certain human physical attributes could be beneficial to the part of the body they bore similarities to. Lungwort was thought to resemble human lung tissue and was widely used as an effective remedy for respiratory ailments. While this theory was of course eventually discredited, modern research has shown that the antioxidant and secretolytic (mucus clearing) traits in lungwort may be beneficial to boosting lung health.

In modern herbal medicine, it is commonly used as a respiratory aid for its ability to reduce irritation in airways and for its soothing properties. Lungwort’s role as an effective agent for respiratory relief is partly due to its incredible antioxidative powers. Antioxidants are vital for supporting healthy organs and overall wellbeing."


Peppermint

Another helpful plant is peppermint.


"The menthol contained in peppermint can soothe your respiratory tract. Menthol, which is the main chemical component of peppermint, acts as an effective decongestant. Decongestants are known to shrink swollen membranes in the nose, making it easier to breathe. Menthol is also an expectorant, meaning it has the ability to loosen and bring up mucus from the lungs. As peppermint is an anti-histamine and anti-oxidant, it is effective in fighting congested airways and also combats many harmful organisms invading your airways. In an article published by the American Chemical Society in 2015, scientists concluded that: “Based on its wide antimicrobial properties, [peppermint] can be a useful agent for the treatment of uncomplicated infections of the skin and respiratory tract," says Cambridge Mask Co.


BUILD IMMUNITY BY LOWERING STRESS LEVELS

"Ongoing stress makes us susceptible to illness and disease because the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system, which then releases an array of hormones that not only gets us ready for emergency situations but severely depresses our immunity at the same time. Some experts claim that stress is responsible for as much as 90% of all illnesses and diseases, including cancer and heart disease. The way it does this is by triggering chemical reactions and flooding the body with cortisol that, among other things, decreases inflammation, decreases white blood cells and NK cells (special cells that kill cancer), increases tumor development and growth, and increases the rate of infection and tissue damage," writes Andrew Goliszek Ph.D. for Psychology Today.


TOOLS TO HELP YOU COPE WITH STRESS


  • Relaxation exercises. The link between the mind and body can be strengthened by specific relaxation exercises such as meditation and guided imagery. By making them a normal part of our lives, they become a buffer that guards against the breakdown of organ systems.

  • Positive thinking. Evidence shows that people who believe they are doing better actually do better than those who have the same physical condition but aren’t as positive. Research also suggests that anxiety, hostility, and other negative states affect the immune system.

  • Behavior modification techniques. Changing how we act can often break habits that trigger stress reactions.

  • Social support. According to researchers, people with strong social support have better overall health and are more resistant to infection and disease.


IN CONCLUSION

Managing stress by getting adequate rest, proper hydration, exercise and a healthy diet made up of whole foods free from pesticides like Glyphosate along with herbs and meditation can make a huge difference in how health manifests in our lives. Take action today and be proactive.


          


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