Having a well-strengthened and functioning immune system is very important to avoid catching infections that can be caused by viruses, fungi or bacteria.
Although the most effective way to maintain immunity is to adopt healthy lifestyle habits such as having a balanced diet and exercising regularly, there are also some medicinal plants that can be used to improve the functioning of the immune system.
Ideally, medicinal plants should be used in the form of a supplement or extract, as it is easier to know exactly what is the concentration of the active substances in these formulas, but they can also be prepared in the form of tea, provided they are ingested in a moderate and preferably under the guidance of a herbalist or other health professional accustomed to using plants.
1. Echinacea tea
Echinacea is one of the best known plants to strengthen the immune system and, especially, to prevent the appearance of flu or to relieve its symptoms. This is because, according to some studies, echinacea appears to have substances that are immunomodulatory, that is, that regulate the immune system, making it function correctly.
However, there are also some other studies that indicate that the plant does not have such a strong effect on immunity, helping only to relieve symptoms caused by viral infections, such as the flu. Either way, echinacea tea is very safe even in pregnant women and children over 2 years old, and can be used by anyone who wants to regulate immunity.
- 1 teaspoon of echinacea root or leaves;
- 1 cup boiling water
Add the ingredients to the cup and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Then strain, allow to warm and drink up to 2 times a day.
If you choose to use the echinacea supplement, you must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, but without exceeding the daily dose of 1500 mg.
2. Astragalus tea
Astragalus, also known by the scientific name Astragalus membranaceus , is a very popular plant in Chinese medicine that, according to some investigations, appears to be able to increase the production of white blood cells, especially T lymphocytes and macrophages, which are important for the response immune.
When used in studies with laboratory rats, astragalus extract was also able to decrease the duration of infections by viruses and bacteria, and can therefore be a good ally to fight various types of infections.
- 10 grams of dry astragalus root;
- 1 cup of water.
Add the root in a pot of water and bring to the boil for 15 minutes. Then, remove the mixture from the heat, let it warm, strain and drink 2 to 3 times a day.
In case you choose to use the supplement of astragalus in capsules it is important to pay attention to the manufacturer’s indications regarding the dose, but several studies show that the plant is safe in dry extract up to about 30 g per day. Ideally, children and pregnant women should not use this plant, especially without professional supervision.
3. Ginger tea
Ginger contains an important active substance, known as gingerol, which seems to decrease the risk of infections in the body, having a proven effect against the growth of bacteria and the development of viruses, especially in the respiratory tract.
In addition, ginger substances also seem to decrease the body’s overall inflammation, which facilitates the functioning of the immune system, improving immunity.
- 1 to 2 cm of fresh ginger root
- 1 cup boiling water
Crush the ginger and then put it in the cup with the boiling water. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, strain and drink 2 to 3 times a day.
As a supplement, ginger should be ingested in a dose of up to 1 g per day.
4. Ginseng tea
Present in some studies on immunity, ginseng, or Panax ginseng, appears to be a plant that helps regulate the immune system, being able to increase the number of lymphocytes and activate macrophages, which are important defense cells.
In addition, ginseng also has a strong antioxidant action that helps to protect the body’s cells against the effects of free radicals and radiation, which, if not combated, can decrease immunity.
- 5 grams of ginseng root;
- 250 ml of water.
Bring the ingredients to a boil for 15 minutes. Then strain and let it warm. Drink 2 to 3 times a day.
Ginseng can also be used in the form of capsules, in which case it is recommended to take 200 to 400 mg per day, or according to the manufacturer’s guidance.
Watch the following video and also see how to prepare juices that strengthen the immune system:
Care when using medicinal plants
The use of medicinal plants should always be done under the guidance of a health professional or herbalist, as the form of use and the dose may vary from one person to another.
In the case of plants that regulate the immune system, it is even more important that this supervision is done for people who have some type of cancer, are undergoing treatment for cancer or who have an autoimmune disease, since plants can interfere with the results of medical treatments or worsen symptoms.
In addition, the use of teas should also always be regulated for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children under 2 years old.