Help Your Immune System

As winter approaches and the coughs, cold and flu symptoms appear, now is the time to build up your immune system!As always please seek medical advice before taking any herbal remedies if you have any condition which is of concern.
There are a lot of remedies to assist the immune system – In this article we are going to focus on: Echinacea, Elderberry, Plantago and Zinc. 
Echinacea (echinacea augusfi Folia, echinacea purpurea). Echinacea’s active compounds enhance immune function due to various mechanisms of action such as; increasing the production of white blood cells (when they are low); stimulating activation of white blood cells and boosting the production of various immune-potentiating compounds. It is considered to be the prime remedy for the immune system. Echinacea works by balancing the immune system so that it works efficiently. This means that you are less likely to catch colds, and may be less prone to allergies. 
It is best taken in a maintenance dose over a period of time to improve immune function. Although it appears that echinacea is most effective taken at the onset of an infection, if the herb is to be used long-term many experts suggest that a one to two week break be taken every eight weeks or so. Also, those suffering from leukaemia or HIV should consult a doctor before using Echinacea. Do not take if you are taking immunosuppressant medication or if you are hypersensitive to Echinacea preparations.
Elderberry (sambucus nigra). These beautiful dark purple/black berries are well known as a delicious ingredient in drinks, providing a dense source of nutrients alongside the tart and stimulating taste.
Black elderberries contain large quantities of flavonoid and anthocyan glycosides, plus essential oils, vitamin C, B complex and minerals. It is a good source of antioxidants. Like Echinacea, it can stop viruses from spreading however it can’t stop viruses infecting cells in the first place which echinacea can. The two herbs can work well together.
Studies show that oral administration of elderberry extract reduces the duration of influenza symptoms from an average of six days down to 48 hours.
Plantago, also known as Lance Leaf Plantain, is a common plant in Europe, and contains mucilage, tannins and silicic acid.
Plantago has the ability to reduce the amount of inflammation present in the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, so helping catarrh, sinusitis as well as earache, ear infections, glue ear and tinnitus.
It has been noted that plantain juice will not go mouldy during storage despite large amounts of sugar. This is due to the presence of naturally occurring antibiotics. This may explain its action in conditions such as middle ear infections and glue ear. If earache persists for more than five days, it is advisable to consult a Doctor. 
Zinc is an important immune nutrient. The lozenge form of zinc has been shown to significantly reduce the duration and severity of common cold symptoms. When dissolved in the mouth, the zinc appears to possess a direct, local anti-viral activity. Zinc is a primary nutrient in immune function, particularly due to its beneficial effects on the thymus gland and white blood cell function. 
All well as the above remedies there is a wide range of other options which can be found at the Body Store. For advice on these and any of the above remedies, call into the store and speak with Raj who can discuss your requirements with you.