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Using immune-boosting herbs and spices is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to support and strengthen the immune system.
Picture this – a sprinkle of golden turmeric, a dash of zesty ginger, and a burst of aromatic basil – all coming together to create a dish that’s packed full of flavor and immunity-boosting goodness!
The best herbs for immunity have negligible calories so that’s one more benefit for the win!
Herbs have long been used in traditional medicine for their medicinal properties, and recent research has shown that they can play a significant role in strengthening overall immune function.
A Look At The Research On Immunity Boosting Herbs And Spices
This research article “Highlighting Herbs and Spices to Improve Immune Support and Well-Being” discusses the potential health benefits of herbs and spices for immune support and well-being.
The authors reviewed 103 scientific articles that investigated the effects of herbs and spices on inflammation, immunity, and other health-related outcomes.
They found that many herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, ashwagandha, and elderberry have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Adding these herbs and spices to a healthy diet can support the immune system and improve overall well-being.
Other studies highlight a few other herbs and spices that play key roles in building immunity.
The ten best immune boosting herbs listed below have been scientifically proven to provide an effective defense against colds, flu, and other illnesses.
1. Turmeric: The Golden Spice of Health
Turmeric tops the list of best immune boosting herbs and spices.
This vibrant, golden-yellow spice is rich in curcumin, an active compound with remarkable anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties work together to reduce tissue inflammation associated with colds and flu while also neutralizing harmful free radicals, providing a shield for your immune system to thrive.
To maximize the benefits of turmeric, it is best to consume it with some fat and black pepper. Research has shown that the absorption of curcumin is enhanced when consumed with fats and piperine, a compound found in black pepper.
By boosting immunity and aiding in fighting infections, turmeric becomes a go-to spice for bolstering overall health throughout the year.
How to use turmeric to boost immunity
One popular way to enjoy the immune-boosting benefits of turmeric is by preparing a glass of turmeric latte. This is a warm drink made with turmeric, milk with fat, black pepper, and other warm spices.
Turmeric tea is an excellent alternative if you’re allergic to dairy. To make turmeric tea, add a teaspoon of turmeric to boiling water along with a dash of black pepper and honey for added benefits.
Add a dash of turmeric powder to curries, soups, stews, and rice dishes to add flavor and reap the immune-boosting benefits.
2. Echinacea: Nature’s Cold Fighter
This immune-boosting herb is thought to work by stimulating the production of white blood cells, which help the body fight off infection.
Echinacea also plays a role in regulating the immune system, so that it does not overreact and cause inflammation.
A meta-analysis of 14 studies found that Echinacea can reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms, making it a valuable addition to your wellness arsenal during seasonal challenges.
As with all immune-boosting herbs, it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking Echinacea if you have any underlying health conditions, such as autoimmune diseases or allergies.
How To Use Echinacea For Immunity
Available in various forms such as teas, capsules, and tinctures, incorporating Echinacea into your routine is easy and convenient.
It is generally safe to take Echinacea for short periods of time – that means no more than 10 days at a time with a break of at least 2 weeks in between.
Follow the recommended dosage instructions on the packaging and stop taking it once you feel better.
4. Garlic: Nature’s Antibiotic
Garlic is another herb that features high on the list of best immune boosting herbs. Its powerful immune-boosting properties stem from its high content of allicin, a compound with strong antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
By stimulating immune cells and combating infections, garlic is an indispensable ally in maintaining a robust immune system.
How to Use Garlic To Boost Immunity
Garlic is a staple in many cuisines and can be easily incorporated into your daily meals. You can eat it raw, roasted, or cooked in various dishes to enjoy its immune-boosting benefits
Crush or mince fresh garlic and add it to sautéed vegetables, pasta sauces, and marinades for meats.
Roast whole garlic bulbs to spread on toast or mix into mashed potatoes for a delicious and nutritious treat.
Garlic is generally safe to consume in dietary doses, but you must exercise caution if you’re on anti-clotting medications.
4. Ginger: A Versatile Immune Booster
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a versatile herb that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It is known for its ability to soothe an upset stomach, but it also has powerful immune-boosting benefits.
Several studies have found that ginger contains compounds such as gingerol and shogaol, which have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties. These properties help strengthen the body’s defenses and contribute significantly to boosting immunity.
Ginger’s ability to aid digestion and reduce inflammation further strengthens the immune system, making it an essential addition to your kitchen.
How to Use Ginger For Immunity
Ginger is a versatile spice that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Grate fresh ginger and add it to stir-fries, marinades, and salad dressings to infuse a zesty kick.
For a soothing ginger tea, slice fresh ginger and steep it in hot water along with some lemon and honey for added flavor and immune-boosting effects.
5. Peppermint: A Refreshing Immunity Aid
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is packed with flavonoids, which are known for their beneficial effects on immune health. It also contains menthol, a compound that gives the herb its distinctive cooling sensation and contributes to its ability to clear congestion and soothe irritated airways, promoting better respiratory health.
Furthermore, peppermint’s anti-inflammatory properties work wonders in reducing inflammation throughout the body, supporting overall immune function.
How to Use Peppermint to Boost Immunity
Steep fresh peppermint leaves or peppermint tea bags in hot water for about 2-3 minutes. Add a touch of honey or a squeeze of lemon for extra flavor and additional immune support.
Add fresh peppermint leaves to a pitcher of water and let it sit for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld.
To clear congestion, add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a bowl of steaming hot water. Create a tent with a towel over your head, lean over the bowl, and inhale the steam for a few minutes.
Peppermint tops the list of the best essential oils for immune system support. A few drops of peppermint essential oil in a diffuser can infuse the air with its invigorating aroma, providing respiratory relief and strengthening immunity.
6. Cinnamon: A Spicy Immune Support
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum) is more than just a flavorful spice. With its abundance of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system.
In addition, its capacity to regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall health makes it a versatile and valuable spice to incorporate into your daily routine.
Cinnamon contains a compound called E-cinnamaldehyde, which has potent anti-inflammatory effects.
Cinnamon has also been shown to exhibit antimicrobial effects against bacteria like listeria and salmonella
How to Use Cinnamon For Immunity
Cinnamon adds a delightful warmth to both sweet and savory dishes.
Sprinkle ground cinnamon on oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies for a comforting breakfast. You can also use cinnamon sticks to infuse flavor into hot beverages like tea and mulled cider.
Incorporating cinnamon into your diet is a delicious way to boost immunity.
8. Elderberry: The Deep-Purple Immune Booster
Elderberry is among the top immune boosting herbs that have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including the common cold and flu.
This herb works to support the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells and cytokines, which are proteins that help to fight infection.
There is some scientific evidence to support the immune-boosting effects of elderberry. A 2004 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that elderberry extract reduced the duration of cold symptoms by an average of 4 days.
This randomized study showed that oral elderberry extract is a safe and effective way to treat influenza A and B virus infections
If you are considering taking elderberry to boost immunity, it is important to talk to your doctor first. They can help you determine if elderberry is right for you and advise you on the proper dosage.
While elderberry is generally safe, it can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and diabetes medications. It is also important to avoid taking elderberry if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
How To Use Elderberry To Boost Immunity
There are so many different ways to enjoy elderberries and also get their immune-boosting benefits.
– Elderberry syrup is a popular and delicious way to consume elderberries for immune support. You can find pre-made elderberry syrup at health food stores, or you can make your own elderberry syrup at home.
– Elderberry gummies are hugely popular. They are available in various flavors and typically provide a measured dose of elderberry extract.
– Brew a flavorful elderberry tea by steeping dried elderberries in hot water or using elderberry tea bags. Sip on this immune-boosting tea regularly to support your health.
– Elderberry is available in capsule form, making it easy to incorporate into your daily supplement routine. Make sure to follow the recommended dosage on the product label.
– Add frozen or fresh elderberries to your smoothies for a burst of immune-boosting goodness. Combine elderberries with other fruits, leafy greens, and yogurt for a nutritious and tasty drink.
– Spread elderberry jam or jelly on your toast or pancakes.
8. Astragalus: The Adaptogenic Herb
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) is a herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body adapt to stress and disease.
It is believed to strengthen and regulate the immune system, making it a popular choice for preventing and treating colds.
While research on astragalus is limited, some studies suggest that it may help fight viral infections and improve white blood cell response to infections.
According to this same study, astragalus appears to be safe for oral use when taken appropriately, with doses up to 60 grams daily for up to 4 months showing no reported adverse effects. However, some rare side effects such as rash, itching, nasal symptoms, or stomach discomfort may occur.
Additionally, caution should be exercised when using astragalus alongside medications that suppress the immune system, as potential interactions may occur.
9. Reishi Mushroom: The Immune-Modulating Fungus
Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum), also known as Lingzhi, is a type of mushroom that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.
It contains beta-glucans, which stimulate various immune cells, including monocytes, natural killer cells, and dendritic cells. These cells play a crucial role in detecting and fighting infections.
The benefits of Lingzhi were initially based on traditional use and anecdotal evidence. However, several studies done in recent years are lending scientific support to some of the ancient claims of the health benefits of reishi mushroom, especially with regards to immunity.
How To Use Reishi Mushrooms For Immunity
Reishi mushroom is available in various forms, including powder and capsules. It can be added to your food or drinks to enjoy its immune-modulating benefits.
As with any herbal supplement, it is important to follow the recommended dosage instructions and consult your doctor if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.
10. Cayenne Pepper
The fiery spice cayenne pepper holds capsaicin, which is renowned for its immune-boosting effects. By reducing inflammation and improving circulation cayenne pepper becomes an exciting addition to your immune health regimen.
How to Use Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper’s spiciness adds a punch to dishes.
Use a pinch of ground cayenne pepper to season chili, tacos, and grilled meats. You can also sprinkle it on avocado toast or mix it with honey and lemon for a potent immune-boosting elixir
Bursting with vitamins and minerals, including immune-boosting vitamin C, oregano is a flavorful herb that enhances immune function.
Its antimicrobial properties also provide a natural defense against pathogens, making it an excellent choice to keep your immune system resilient.
How to Use Oregano To Boost Immunity
Oregano is a key ingredient in Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. Add dried oregano to pasta sauces, pizza, and roasted vegetables for a burst of flavor.
You can also create a fragrant oregano-infused olive oil to drizzle over salads or use as a dip for bread.
Beyond its delicious and aromatic flavor profile, rosemary contains rosmarinic acid, a compound known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. By supporting immune function and promoting overall wellness, rosemary is an indispensable herb in your immune health arsenal.
How To Use Rosemary To boost Immunity
Fresh or dried rosemary can elevate the taste of many dishes. Use rosemary sprigs to season roasted meats, potatoes, and vegetables. Finely chop fresh rosemary and mix it with olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice as a marinade for poultry and fish.
Processed foods and sugar top the list of things that weaken the immune system. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat only bland foods. Adding immune-boosting herbs and spices to your cooking can add a healthy dose of flavor and health to any dish.
From enhancing immune function to fighting off infections, each of these 12 best immune boosting herbs and spices offers unique benefits that contribute to overall well-being and vitality.
Experiment with different combinations to find your favorite ways of using these herbs and spices to support your well-being throughout the year.
It’s important to keep in mind that while herbs can be a valuable addition to your wellness routine, they are not a replacement for a healthy lifestyle. Incorporate these 10 healthy habits into your daily routine to boost your immune system naturally.
As with any natural remedy, it is important to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new herbal regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any natural medication or if you experience any unusual symptoms. See Full Disclaimer here.