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Boost Your Immune System

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: Lisa Lambson • updated: 8/28/2010

Learn how to boost your immune system with natural herbal remedies. Learn what herbs safely enhance the immune system, help fight off infections, and so much more.

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    Herbal Remedies

    When you boost your immune system, your body is better able to prevent and fight off illnesses such as colds, infections, and cancer growth. The following natural herbal remedies can safely strengthen the immune system, protect the body from disease-causing organisms, help fight off illnesses (often, better than antibiotics), and maintain good health.

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    There have been hundreds of studies done on echinacea supporting its effect on the immune system. It produces white blood cells, T-cells, interferon, and other important immune cells, as well as stop the growth of most viruses and bacteria. Peter Holmes, author of Energetics of Western Herbs, says it is also effective against anthrax.

    According to Dr. Craig Coleman of the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, "We showed that patients who took echinacea could decrease the risk of developing a cold by 58% as well as decrease the duration of a cold by over a day and half".

    Echinacea also helps prevent the spread of bacteria by stopping an enzyme that is secreted by bacteria which breaks through protective membranes like the skin, allowing organisms to enter the body.


    Astragalus is a powerful and long-lived plant that the Chinese have used for centuries to strengthen the immune system. It is a "non-specific" immune system stimulant, meaning it defends against many harmful organisms instead of against a specific disease organism.

    Clinical studies[1] have shown astragalus to be effective in preventing the common cold. It is also shown to reduce the duration of the cold and the severity of symptoms associated with it.

    Scientists at the UCLA AIDS Institute say it's possible astragalus may be an effective treatment for HIV.

    Astragalus stimulates interferon production, a chemical in the immune system that can help prevent cancer. It also restores a damaged immune system and appears particularly helpful in patients undergoing radiation and/or chemotherapy.


    The berberine alkaloid of goldenseal has strong antibiotic and antiseptic qualities. It will help boost the immune system, fight off viruses and bacteria, and decrease inflammation. It is used to treat strep throat, bladder infections, and acute diarrhea caused by E. coli, salmonella (food poisoning), cholera, and other harmful germs.

    Many other benefits include treating eye infections like conjunctivitis, treating respiratory infections, treating disorders associated with the immune system when it is weakened like shingles, and (as a paste) treating boils by destroying staphylococcus aureus (the bacteria mostly responsible for boils) and by helping it to rupture naturally.


    Other natural herbal remedies to boost your immune system and fight off infections include sage, ginseng, nettle, garlic, St. John's wort, fennel, licorice, and cayenne.

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    [1] Singapore: World Scientific, 1987, 1041-6

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