Hierbas Buenas: Immune System Boosters

With the change in seasons, now is the perfect time to strengthen your immune system. So how do you boost your immune system? You eat a healthy dieta that includes natural immune system boosters, especially since the immune system and digestive system are linked -- 70 percent of your body’s immune cells are found in your gut!

In addition to healthy foods, herbal remedies can help stimulate your immune system when you are sick. “Some herbs stimulate certain white blood cells that fight the viruses, whereas other herbs and remedies have direct anti-viral or anti-bacterial properties,” says Dr. Paul Gannon, doctor of naturopathic medicine and member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. “Many times, natural remedies are just a little extra push to help the body’s own mechanisms.” Las Fabulosas has the rundown of cinco hierbas naturales that will give your immune system a boost.

1. Oregano

You’ve most likely consumed this herb as an ingredient in many popular dishes. Oregano has been found to contain up to 20 times higher antioxidant levels than other herbs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Oregano oil also has active compounds, including carvacrol and thymol, which have antiviral and antibacterial properties.

2. Turmeric

Found in many types of curry, this herb can strengthen the immune system through its active compound, curcumin. Curcumin works by increasing levels of a protein that is important to the immune system, according to researchers from Oregon State University. Turmeric is an antimicrobial, which makes it help fight off viral infections.

3. Peppermint

Go ahead and have another candy cane. Peppermint and its primary active ingredient, menthol, work to thin and loosen phlegm, and break up a cough. This herb, found in teas and cold medicines, may have the ability to kill bacteria and viruses too.

4. Astralgus

According to researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, this Chinese herbal medicine may enhance the immune system and fight diseases by helping the cells of the immune system. Some studies have also found this herb to reduce the duration of the common cold.

5. Garlic

Found in many recipes, this antimicrobial has antiviral properties. It contains compounds including allicin, ajoene and thiosulfinates, which help attack infections. This flavorful herb works by stimulating natural immune cells found in your body, and may help to prevent colds.

Want to know how to incorporate these ingredients into your dieta? For starters, put that turmeric and garlic to use with these Latin-fusion dishes.
by Lauren Fischer