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    7 Botanicals for Your Immune System

    Mother Nature has provided many plants and fungi that we can use to assist with modulating the responses of the immune system.  Plants have their own reasons for possessing these chemical compounds, used for their defense, but they can be our allies when we are in need.

    Immunomodulators assist to normalize, or modulate, the immune response.  When inflammation is escalating from elevated cytokine levels, it is not something to ignore.  This can happened when pathogens from viral or bacterial infections are rapidly multiplying in the body’s cells.

    Pathogens can initiate a cytokine cascade where the responding immune system goes into overdrive, sending cytokines to the infected area to make it difficult for invaders to survive.  This can cause marked inflammation that may develop into a cytokine storm, causing a whole-body inflammatory state.  If the inflammation becomes systemic, the condition is called sepsis and organ failure is at risk.

    Under normal circumstances, cytokines help coordinate the response of your immune system to take care of infectious substances.  Botanical immunomodulators can be used to interrupt a cytokine cascade and protect the body from damage, such as the endothelium and red blood cells.

    According to Juliet Blankenship / Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, “Herbal immunomodulators work their magic in part through the equilibration of the endocrine and nervous control of the immune system….Another possible mode of action is the regulation of  T helper cell (Th1 and Th2) balance, which involves the equilibrium of cell-mediated (T cells) and antibody-mediated (B cells) immunity.”

    Here are 7 notable plants and fungi that are immunomodulators.
    These are best taken in tincture form.

    Astragalus (root)

    Cordyceps (fruiting bodies)

    Eleuthero (root)

    Japanese Knotweed (root)

    Reishi Mushroom (fruiting bodies)

    Rhodiola (root)

    These tinctures may be employed as an adaptogen or alterative for therapeutic use.  Read more about each tincture’s use by following the link to the product page. 

    It is always best to work with a naturopath, qualified herbalist, or other medical professional to set up a treatment plan. This way you will have a comprehensively directed plan that addresses the specifics for individual illness.

    Further Reading