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             22 September, 2019
 

    
Category:  Articles » Health & Fitness » Supplements

 

What Benefits the Immune System?

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         Views: 1236
2006-09-12 22:22:28     
Article by Patsy Hamilton

What benefits the immune system should be an important consideration. Many people are concerned about what damages the immune system, but those things that are beneficial are sometimes overlooked. Vitamins, minerals, plant components and herbs to boost the immune system are all available. You just need to know which ones to look for.

The immune system is a very complicated collection of cells, organs and pathways. Specialized white blood cells learn what belongs in the body and what does not. These cells communicate with other cells that destroy those things that do not belong and they are carried out of the body. What benefits the immune system are those things which allow the white blood cells, lymph nodes and even the skin to function properly. In this article, we focus on a few herbs to boost immune system strength. This is by no means a complete list and the essential vitamins, minerals and trace nutrients important for proper nutrition are not listed here.

Of the known herbs to boost immune system strength, the most commonly used appears to be Echinacea. It is however difficult to learn how many people use products, such as these, since they are sold over the counter. A recent study in Canada concluded that of the people surveyed who used health and dietary supplements, more people used herbs to boost immune system strength and specifically Echinacea than all the other dietary and health supplements combined.

Echinacea was the most commonly used medicinal plants by Native Americans of the North American plains. It was used to relieve symptoms and hasten recover from everything from the common cold to influenza and infections of all types. It has often been recommended as what benefits the immune system because of this fact. Echinacea is a common plant that grows in many areas of the world. And while Echinacea supplements may be 100% natural, they may not be 100% safe. Recent evidence suggests that continued use for extended periods of time (more than 90 days) can be toxic to the liver. It should therefore be avoided by anyone who takes prescription or over the counter medications that are known to be toxic to the liver. And extended use should be avoided. This could be a problem for those who are looking for what benefits the immune system, because studies indicate that full effectiveness as a preventative is only achieved after using for three months consecutively. Echinacea may be a better choice for occasional use, as a treatment or to speed recovery time from colds and viruses, as this was its historical use.

One of the most interesting herbs to boost immune system strength is one that is not commonly known. Andrographis paniculata or AP for short was used in traditional Asian medicine to treat fever, laryngitis, pneumonia, respiratory infections, tonsillitis, diarrhea, ulcers, herpes, tuberculosis and a long list of other medical conditions. Scientific studies show that AP contains pain killers, fever reducers and components that prevent and break up blood clots as well as reduce blood sugar. So, its historical use can be supported by scientific fact.

There is also scientific evidence supporting its recommendation as one of the herbs to boost immune system strength. It stimulates antibodies and white blood cells to find and destroy invaders. Extensive chemical studies have shown that AP may be what benefits the immune system, because of antiviral, vermicidal, and antibacterial components. It is rare to find a single plant, which contains all three of these. Clinical studies indicate that people who take AP are less likely to develop colds and flu bugs and recover more quickly if they do. It is also believed to be one of the safest herbs to boost immune system strength. Animal studies have shown that it is non-toxic. It should however be avoided by pregnant women or those who wish to become pregnant, since it was used historically as a contraceptive. There is, however, no evidence that it is an effective contraceptive and should not be relied on for that purpose.

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