Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Maintaining Immunity Naturally

Last week we had a look at one of the immune system boosters, Echinacea, in Fight the Flu Naturally.   It is important to understand how the immune system works and how we can maintain it.
Inside your body there is an amazing protection mechanism called the immune system.   It is designed to defend you against millions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites that would love to invade your body.
About the Immune System
The immune system is the body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders.  Through a series of steps called the immune response, the immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade body systems and cause disease.
The immune system is made up of a network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect the body.  The cells involved are white blood cells, or leukocytes, which come in two basic types that combine to seek out and destroy disease-causing organisms or substances.
Leukocytes are produced or stored in many locations in the body, including the thymus, spleen, and bone marrow.  For this reason, they're called the lymphoid organs.  There are also clumps of lymphoid tissue throughout the body, primarily as lymph nodes, that house the leukocytes.  The leukocytes circulate through the body between the organs and nodes via lymphatic vessels and blood vessels.  In this way, the immune system works in a coordinated manner to monitor the body for germs or substances that might cause problems.
How it works
When antigens, foreign substances that invade the body, are detected, several types of cells work together to recognize them and respond.  These cells trigger the lymphocytes to produce antibodies, specialized proteins that lock onto specific antigens.  Once produced, these antibodies continue to exist in a person's body, so that if the same antigen is presented to the immune system again, the antibodies are already there to do their job.  So if someone gets sick with a certain disease, like chickenpox, that person typically doesn't get sick from it again.
This is also how immunizations prevent certain diseases.  An immunization introduces the body to an antigen in a way that doesn't make someone sick, but does allow the body to produce antibodies that will then protect the person from future attack by the germ or substance that produces that particular disease.  Antibodies also can neutralize toxins, poisonous or damaging substances, produced by different organisms.  Lastly, antibodies can activate a group of proteins called complement that are also part of the immune system. Complement assists in killing bacteria, viruses, or infected cells.
All of these specialized cells and parts of the immune system offer the body protection against disease.  This protection is called immunity.  Everyone's immune system is different.  Some people never seem to get infections, whereas others seem to be sick all the time.  As people get older, they usually become immune to more germs as the immune system comes into contact with more and more of them. That's why adults and teens tend to get fewer colds than kids — their bodies have learned to recognize and immediately attack many of the viruses that cause colds.
Let us look at another natural immune booster that can help fight flu and other immune disorders:

CAT’S CLAW
(Uncaria tomentosa)

Available as
Capsules
Dried Bark
Tea bags

Dosage
Up to 60mg of standardized extract daily or 1000mg whole dried plant

How to use it
Make tea by boiling 1 gram of root bark in a cup of water for ten minutes; cool, strain and drink a cup three times daily.  Alternatively, certified tea bags deliver an infusion equal to 1500 to 1800 mg of plant extract.  The herb is also available in capsules of 500 or 1000mg.

Precautions
There are no reported interactions with other medications and no serious adverse effects have been noted.  However, avoid during pregnancy and breast feeding.

What is it?
Cat’s claw is a vine that grows high into the canopy roof of the Amazonian rain forest and gets its name from the claw-like thorns which protrude from its woody stems.  It is also found in tropical regions of Peru, Columbia, Ecuador and other parts of South America.
Cat’s claw is popular with many Peruvian tribes, who have known to have used it for at least 2000 years, yet it was virtually unheard of in the rest of the world until the 1970s.  At that time, stories began appearing in the press about its use as a cancer medication and the fame of this traditional remedy spread worldwide overnight.  Traditionally the plant has been used as an anti-inflammatory, for wound healing and as a treatment for rheumatism, ulcers and dysentery.  Scientists have also found that Cat’s claw could boost the immune system of patients with HIV.

What does it do?
Cat’s claw is one of nature’s great immune boosters.  It contains some very important chemicals called oxindole alkaloids which have a specific effect of stimulating the immune system.  Other studies have shown tumour and leukaemia fighting benefits too.  The overall immune boosting benefits of Cat’s claw make this rain forest plant an excellent choice as a protector and general help-mate for the body’s natural defence mechanisms.  As yet there is no evidence of its benefits in the treatment of HIV, AIDS or cancer, but it is certainly worth trying as an addition to conventional therapy.

Until next time, always remember to laugh often, love freely, and live your life out loud!

6 comments:

  1. I like the idea of being able to take medicinal herbs as a tea, feels less like medicine and it is relaxing at the same time. I am big on the idea of energy healing.

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    1. I agree but sometimes you have to add lemon or something sweet to make them taste better! Thanks for commenting Mark xxx

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  2. Good post. I use a combination of Echinacea and olive leaf for immune booster. Did not know about cat's claw. Thanks for informative and interesting post.

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    1. Nor had I until I googled immune system haha - was rather interesting. Thanks for commenting Retha xxx

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  3. This information is very useful. I am sure I hit a good blog.

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