Boosting Immunity

By:
Jeffery Towery

 

Boosting Your Immune System Naturally

Medical Definition of Antiviral

        Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

        Antiviral: An agent that kills a virus or that suppresses its ability to replicate and, hence, inhibits   its capability to multiply and reproduce.

Herbal Anti-Virals:

1. Elderberry

Elderberry has a long, rich history of use for medicinal benefits by numerous cultures. It fights infections including influenza, herpes, viral infections and bacterial infections. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concluded that elderberry can be used as a safe treatment for influenza A and B. This is due to its efficacy on all strains of influenza virus that were tested, the clinical results, its low cost and the absence of side effects.

Most every part of the elderberry can be used -- the flowers, bark, roots and leaves are often used for their amazing health benefits. So discover elderberry benefits for your health today.

2. Echinacea

Echinacea has become one of the top-selling herbs of all time; that's because regular use of echinacea is beneficial for immune support and overall health. There is considerable evidence suggesting that phytochemicals in echinacea have the capacity to reduce virus infections and tumors. This powerful herb contains a compound called echinacein that inhibits bacteria and viruses from penetrating healthy cells. This greatly reduces the chances of contracting any type of infection while consuming echinacea.

Some more echinacea benefits include its ability to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, improve skin problems, treat upper respiratory issues and improve mental health.

3. Calendula

The flower petals of the calendula plant, which is sometimes called pot marigold, have been used for medicinal purposes since at least the 12th century. This antiviral herb has high amounts of flavonoids, which are plant-based antioxidants that protect cells from being damaged by free radicals; it also fights viruses, inflammation and bacteria. The dried petals of the plant are used in tinctures, ointments and washes to treat infections, burns, wounds and heal cuts fast.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ear drops containing calendula are sometimes used to treat ear infections in children, and scientific studies have found no side effects.

4. Garlic

Experiments have shown that garlic -- or specific chemical compounds found in garlic -- is highly effective at killing countless microorganisms responsible for some of the most common and rarest infections, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, thrush and herpes. Because of its antiviral properties, garlic can be used to treat eye infections and as a natural ear infection remedy.

Some more raw garlic benefits include its ability to reduce the risk of cancer, control hypertension, boost cardiovascular health and fight hair loss.

To make a garlic oil infusion at home, crush garlic cloves and add them to a carrier oil (like olive oil). Let the mixture sit for about five hours, and then strain the bits of garlic and keep the oil in a  jar with a lid. You can also swallow a raw clove of garlic; you might need to cut it in half if it's too large. Bite down once to release the allicin; then swallow with water like a pill.

5. Astragalus Root

Astragalus root, another powerful antiviral herb, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, and its main use is to boost the body's immune system. Scientific studies have shown that astragalus has antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system, suggesting that it may help prevent the common cold or flu.

A 2004 study evaluated the effects of astragalus on herpes simplex virus type 1 and found that the herb has obvious inhibiting efficacy. Another study published in the Chinese Medical Sciences Journal concluded that astragalus is able to inhibit the growth of coxsackie B virus in mice. Astragalus also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is used on the skin for wound care. It's also one the adaptogen herbs to lower cortisol.

6. Cat's Claw

The bark and root of cat's claw have been used by South Americans for centuries to treat health problems including fevers, stomach ulcers, digestive conditions and dysentery. Cat's claw works as a natural arthritis remedy and treats ulcer symptoms as well.

Cat's claw has antiviral properties, and it's can helps get rid of herpes. Early studies are researching its effects on HIV as well.

This powerful herb is also anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. It's used to treat digestive problems such as ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and leaky gut syndrome. The best way to consume cat's claw regularly is by making an herbal tea with a tablespoon of the herb in eight ounces of water.

7. Licorice Root

Licorice is emerging as a prominent player in the search for treatment and prevention for diseases like hepatitis C, HIV and influenza. The Chinese Journal of Virology published a review that confirms the antiviral activity of licorice root due to its triterpenoid content. Another 2010 publication notes licorice's antioxidant, free radical-scavenging and immunostimulating effects.

Some more licorice root benefits include:

Sore throat remedy for fast relief
Cough natural remedy
Protection against leaky gut signs and symptoms
Heals adrenal fatigue
Pain relief

8. Olive Leaf

The olive leaf has antiviral properties, giving it the ability to treat the common cold and dangerous viruses, including candida symptoms, meningitis, pneumonia, chronic fatigue syndrome, hepatitis B, malaria, gonorrhea and tuberculosis; it also treats dental, ear and urinary tract infections and is a natural treatment for shingles.

Research shows that olive leaf extracts effectively fight against a number of disease-causing microbes, including some viruses that cause influenza and other respiratory infections. The powerful compounds found in olive leaves destroy invading organisms and don't allow viruses to replicate and cause an infection. In fact, the olive leaf is so beneficial to our health that treatment with olive leaf extracts reversed many HIV-1 infection-associated changes in a study done at the New York University School of Medicine.

9. Oregano

Medicinal grade oregano is distilled to extract the essential oil and preserve its healing compounds; in fact, it takes over 1,000 pounds of wild oregano to produce just 1 pound of oregano oil!

Oregano oil benefits are proving to be superior to some antibiotics, without the harmful side effects. That's because oregano contains two powerful compounds, carvacrol and thymol, that have powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties. It's the carvacrol  that reverses viral infections, as well as allergies, tumors, parasites and disease-causing inflammation. Doubting the power of this antiviral herb? Well, there are over 800 scientific studies that reference carvacrol and its amazing health benefits!

How to Use Antiviral Herbs

Herbal Tea

Teas are a great way to get the antiviral benefits of herbs every day. Steep one tablespoon of herbs in hot water for 5-10 minutes.  Echinacea, for example, is a popular herbal tea that's sold in most food stores, so the work is already done for you.

Herbal Infusion

Herbal infusions are stronger than teas because they require a larger quantity of herbs. To make your own herbal infusion, steep a cup of antiviral herbs in water for about 7 hours. Keep the infusion in an air-tight jar, and drink it cold or heated. Because the infusions are strong, don't drink more than one cup a day.

DIY Herbal-Infused Oil

An infused oil is when you heat the herb in a carrier oil for several hours. You can use the oven to heat the mixture, or try leaving it in a hot and sunny place for 12 hours. Use about 1/2 cup of antiviral herbs (you can use one herb or a mixture), and add it to 1 cup of coconut or jojoba oil.

If you heat the mixture in the oven, it should be in an oven-safe dish for 3 hours at 200 degrees. If you decide not to use the oven, put the mixture in an air-tight jar and let it sit in a sunny place for about 12 hours. Once the herbs are infused into the oil, drain the leaves and keep the oil in a jar. You can use the oil topically to alleviate pain and kill infections.

Essential Oils

Many of these herbs are sold as essential oils; make sure to purchase organic and pure essential oils from a reputable company. To use essential oils benefits like their antiviral properties, diffuse 3-5 drops in your home, add 2-3 drops to warm bath water or mix 1-2 drops with a carrier oil and apply the mixture directly to the skin. Massaging essential oils into your feet, abdomen and chest is useful when fighting a fever or flu symptoms.

Anti-Inflammatory Definition:

A drug or substance that reduces inflammation (redness, swelling, and pain) in the body. Anti-inflammatory agents block certain substances in the body that cause inflammation. They are used to treat many different conditions.

 

13 Herbs and Spices That Will Reduce Inflammation in Your Body

                                                Jan. 30, 2016 10:43AM ESTFOOD

Inflammation is your body's protective response to injury or damage. It helps your natural healing and repair processes. A problem starts when your body is chronically inflamed. Many modern stressors, such as pollution, food sensitivities and carrying extra weight, can lead to chronic inflammation.

 

There are many different herbs and spices that can

help you reduce or prevent inflammation in your body.

 

Chronic inflammation has been linked to a wide variety of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease and attention deficit disorder (ADD).

You don't have to accept inflammation as a part of modern life. There are many different herbs that can help you reduce or prevent inflammation in your body.

1. Turmeric (Curcumin)

The anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric is its yellow pigment called curcumin. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines have long used turmeric and curcumin to reduce inflammation as well as treat digestive disorders, wounds and infections.

Studies have shown that curcumin also acts as an antioxidant and may combat cancer. Fresh or powdered turmeric is excellent in curries, soups or other dishes. Fresh turmeric can be added to fresh vegetable juices. Supplements of curcumin are also available.

2. Green Tea

The preventative effects of green tea against cardiovascular disease and cancer are well established. More recent studies have shown that green tea can be an effective anti-inflammatory, particularly in the treatment of arthritis. It can also reduce inflammation of the digestive tract, potentially helping conditions like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

It's recommended to drink 3 to 4 cups of tea daily. Green tea extract can also be found in pill form. And for those who don't want the caffeine, decaffeinated green teas are available.

3. White Willow Bark

White willow tree bark has been used as a treatment for pain and inflammation since ancient Egyptian and Roman times. Many studies have shown that white willow bark has a comparable effect to aspirin, but with fewer side effects than aspirin.

The usual dose of white willow bark is 240 mg per day for ongoing conditions. There are also herbal blends that contain white willow bark which can be used for an acute event, such as a headache.

4. Maritime Pine Bark (Pycnogenol)

Bark from the maritime pine tree (Pinus maritima) can be processed into pycnogenol. This extract has been used for more than 2,000 years to help heal wounds, scurvy and ulcers as well as reducing vascular inflammation. It is one of the strongest antioxidants known today.

Studies have shown that pycnogenol is 50 to 100 times more potent than vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals in the body. It has also been found to reduce blood pressure and the risk of blood clots. A typical dosage is 100-200 mg daily.

5. Chili Peppers (Capsaicin)

The countless varieties of hot peppers we have today began as one small shrub (Capsicum annum), native to tropical regions of the Americas. The chemical capsaicin is what makes a pepper hot. And it's capsaicin that's been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in your body.

Any type of chili pepper, such as cayenne or jalapeno, contains capsaicin. You can use chili peppers fresh or powdered in a wide variety of dishes, including desserts. Supplements containing capsaicin are often mixed with other herbs to create natural anti-inflammatory blends.

6. Frankincense (Boswellia serrata)

Boswellia is a tree variety native to India, Somalia, Ethiopia and the Arabian Peninsula. Frankincense is a resin extracted from the trees. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and pain-controlling properties. Boswellia resin is currently used to treat degenerative and inflammatory joint disorders.

One study showed that a combination of Boswellia and curcumin was more effective for treating osteoarthritis than a commonly used synthetic drug. It's recommended to take 300-500 mg of Boswellia extract two or three times a day for ongoing inflammatory conditions.

7. Black Pepper

This unassuming spice actually packs an anti-inflammatory punch. The distinctive flavor of black pepper comes from the chemical piperine. Even at low doses, piperine has been shown to reduce inflammation. It can inhibit the spread of cancer and has been shown to suppress the perception of pain and arthritis symptoms.

 

8. Resveratrol

This is an antioxidant found in many plants. The highest amounts have been found in Japanese knot weed (Polygonum cuspidatum) and in the skins of red wine grapes. Resveratrol has been shown to be a strong anti-inflammatory. It also protects against DNA damage and mutations. You can find resveratrol as a common supplement in natural food stores. A typical dosage is from 50 to 500 mg per day.

9. Cat's Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

This herb is derived from a woody vine native to Peru. The bark of cat's claw has traditionally been used to treat arthritis, bursitis and intestinal disorders. Studies have shown that it can reduce inflammatory responses in the body and it has a protective effect against gastrointestinal inflammation.

You can make a tea from cat's claw from either a prepared tea or use 1000 mg of the bark to 8 ounces of water. It is also available as a dry extract in a capsule. It's recommended to take 20 to 60 mg daily.

10. Rosemary

In one study, participants were given small amounts of various common herbs and spices for a period of 7 days. Rosemary showed one of the strongest protective effects against inflammation and oxidation.

The other top spices were turmeric, cloves and ginger. The researchers noted that the amounts given of each herb were no more than what someone would normally eat in a seasoned soup, sauce or other dish.

11. Cloves

Clove oil can be applied directly to the gums to help with a toothache or for pain control during dental work. Cloves have been shown to reduce mouth and throat inflammation. Cloves can also be used to treat diarrhea, nausea, hernia, bad breath and as an expectorant.

The powdered or whole dried flower buds are delicious in many savory dishes as well as in desserts and hot drinks.

12. Ginger

Research has shown that ginger has a better therapeutic effect than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat pain and inflammation. Ginger also inhibits the activation of several genes involved in an inflammatory response.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ginger may help prevent or treat nausea and vomiting from motion sickness, pregnancy and chemotherapy. It can also be used to reduce osteoarthritic pain and heart disease. Ginger is delicious in many savory dishes, as well as in teas, juices and desserts.

Ginger has a very long history of use in various forms of traditional/alternative medicine. It has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few.

13. Cinnamon

This popular spice is made from the bark of cinnamon trees native to China, India and Southeast Asia. In addition to being anti-inflammatory, cinnamon has been shown to have antioxidant, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer and lipid-lowering properties. It has even been found to act against neurological disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Cinnamon goes well in anything from breakfast grains, to soups and stews, to desserts and drinks. Any pre-made apple pie or pumpkin pie spice mixes will often have cinnamon, cloves and ginger all in one tasty blend.

Definition of adaptogen

: a nontoxic substance and especially a plant extract that is held to increase the body's ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning.

Ginseng is used as a tonic to support stress response and energy.* It is also used to support the immune system.* Ginseng has been noted to work similarly to hawthorn berry on the vascular system.* Ginseng has some general cautions and contraindications to be aware of. Standardized extract of ginseng ranges from 100-500 mg daily.1-3
 
Eleutherococcus senticoccus is similar in adaptogen activity to Ginseng.* It is also used to support stress and energy.* Athletes may use it to support performance, although evidence is weak for this purpose.* It has been used in Russia by soldiers, athletes, miners, and deep-sea divers. 
 
Borage the herb, not the oil, is used to strengthen and restore the adrenal cortex throughout the course of care.* It can be used over an extended period of time.1-3   
 
Ashwagandha is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic for overall health, as well to support the function of the musculoskeletal system.* It is purported to support uterine health.*1-3
 
Wild Yam is a wonderful tonic for the glandular system. It contains diosgenin which is a precursor to progesterone. Although Wild Yam does not contain any hormones, it may support hormone health.*1-3
 
Licorice supports endocrine function as it contains glycosides which have a similar structure to endogenous stress hormones.* Licorice also supports adrenal gland function and is thought to revitalize adrenal glands.*1-3
 
Adaptogens can be used as singles or in combination formulas depending upon the use. They are favorites among many herbalists to include in many different approaches to client's goals. In many ways this is influenced by client's constitution, the practitioner's experiences, and an understanding of how certain systems of the body interact with one another. Herbalism, while developing as a scientific discipline, retains many of the artisan approaches of its roots, pun intended.

Lobelia

Potter's Encyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations considers this pretty, purple-flowered plant as one of the most important discoveries in herbal medicine. More commonly known as Indian Tobacco, it was once used in Appalachian traditional medicine to treat bronchial asthma. We now know it contains an alkaloid named Lobeline, which helps to ease congestion and thin mucus. Due to its anti-spasmodic quality, it's used in over the counter medicine for treating bronchitis, resulting in deeper and easier breathing.

2. Eucalyptus

In 1788, Surgeon-General John White arrived with the First Fleet on Australia's fair shores. Within a few short weeks, he began documenting the uniquely pungent eucalyptus plant. Of course, the incredible healing properties of eucalyptus were well known in many local aboriginal communities, who had used it for time untold to heal wounds, stave off infections and create infusions that ease congestion, colds and fevers when inhaled. Most modern cough and congestion treatments now contain eucalyptus.

It also is a common ingredient in many liquid soaps and antiseptic sprays due to its powerful germicidal properties. Simply placing 1-3 drops of eucalyptus oil into a bowl of hot water and breathing in the steam can help to clear stuffy nasal passages, dilate the bronchioles in your lungs and help shift some of that sticky mucus out of your system. This plant also encourages secretion of sweat glands, which help to reduce fevers. Stock up on the koala bear's favourite snack if you are suffering from conditions, such as sinusitis, fever, bronchitis, and bronchial asthma.

3. Lungwort

In the early 1600's, people believed that plants resembling certain human physical attributes could be beneficial to the part of the body they bore similarities to. Lungwort was thought to resemble human lung tissue and was widely used as an effective remedy for respiratory ailments. While this theory was of course eventually discredited, modern research has shown that the antioxidant and secretolytic (mucus clearing) traits in lungwort may be beneficial to boosting lung health.

In modern herbal medicine, it is commonly used as a respiratory aid for its ability to reduce irritation in airways and for its soothing properties. Lungwort's role as an effective agent for respiratory relief is partly due to its incredible antioxidative powers. Antioxidants are vital for supporting healthy organs and overall wellbeing - especially in the presence of pro-oxidants, or dangerous free radicals, which polluted air is unfortunately chock full of.

4. Oregano

It might surprise you to learn that your common kitchen herb oregano is more than just a flavourful favourite in Mediterranean cuisine. It is packed full of powerful nutrients that can give your immune system a boost and contains certain compounds containing anti-histamine and decongestive properties. To relieve a pollution induced headache, try rubbing a small amount of oregano oil on your temples and forehead. A recent article by  Phytotherapy Research asserts that this humble herb is almost as strong as morphine in the pain killing game.

It is also an extremely effective antibiotic and has excellent germicide capable of killing a wide range of fungi and bacteria. So remarkable are the antiseptic properties in this plant that Jean Valnet, author of The Practice of Aromatherapy, describes how oil of oregano is so strong that it is capable of sterilizing sewage...although perhaps don't try this one at home.

5. Plantain Leaf

Rather confusingly, plantain leaf is not found on the banana-like fruit plant of the same name. It is actually a green, weedy plant native to North America, Europe and Asia, which has been relieving health afflictions for millennia. Anglo-Saxon texts dating back to the 1500s tout this plant as a miracle cure for a huge range of ailments. The major components of plantain are believed to reduce irritation, curb the effects of harmful organisms, and alleviate respiratory troubles.

It's used in modern medicine today and can be found in balms and medication meant for soothing the respiratory system, managing cardiovascular problems and treating rheumatism. Recent clinical trials conducted in Germany concluded that plantain leaf is helpful for reducing irritation of lung tissue and curtailing coughs. This has led to its wide adoption as an essential ingredient in many European respiratory medications.

6. Elecampane

Elecampane, also called horse-heal, has long been used by the Chinese, Indians, Greeks and Romans to relax and sooth tracheal muscles. The herb owes its healing properties to two specific compounds called inulin and alantolactone. When the linings of the bronchial tubes are swollen and red, it can be very difficult and painful to breathe. Inulin soothes the tubes, while alantolactone cleanses the congestion making breathing easier.

7. Peppermint

The menthol contained in peppermint can soothe your respiratory tract. Menthol, which is the main chemical component of peppermint, acts as an effective decongestant. Decongestants are known to shrink swollen membranes in the nose, making it easier to breathe. Menthol is also an expectorant, meaning it has the ability to loosen and bring up mucus from the lungs. As peppermint is an anti-histamine and anti-oxidant, it is effective in fighting congested airways and also combats many harmful organisms invading your airways. In an article published by the American Chemical Society in 2015, scientists concluded that: "Based on its wide antimicrobial properties, [peppermint] can be a useful agent for the treatment of uncomplicated infections of the skin and respiratory tract."

8. Osha Root

The roots of the Osha herb contain camphor, phytosterols, saponins and other oils, which make it one of the greatest remedies for supporting lung function. The root increases blood circulation to the lungs making it possible to breathe more deeply and clearly. Its antihistamine properties can also calm irritated sinuses and soothe other respiratory irritations. Historically, the root was hailed for its medicinal powers by Native American and Hispanic cultures.

Native Americans of North America observed bears looking for osha and consuming the plant roots directly after emerging from winter hibernation or when wounded or sick. Today, osha is used to treat sore throats, bronchitis, coughs, common colds, influenza, swine flu, and pneumonia. If you find that your throat becomes very painful in polluted environments, consider this using this herb for its numbing effect, which can help alleviate pain caused by irritated tissues in your respiratory tracts. Depending on the strength of the extract, using 6-12 drops in juice, water, under the tongue or as desired 3 times per day can help your aggravated airways.

While a pollution mask acts as an effective barrier against airborne pollutants, it is important to know how to fully support your immune system. Unfortunately, there's no escaping pollutants in this day and age but nature is on our side. Modern medicine continues to find healing properties in many trusted, old home remedies that are inexpensive and widely accessible. We've said it before and we'll say it again, take good care of yourselves. Check with your physician before medicating yourself at home and make sure that you're not putting anything into your system that your body cannot handle.

by Hannah Marie Webb

As with any medicine, herbal treatments can have serious side effects for some people, so it is always best to consult with your doctor first.

 

Definition :Cough suppressants are medicines that prevent or stop a person from coughing.

Description

Cough suppressants act on the center in the brain that controls the cough reflex. They are meant to be used only to relieve dry, hacking coughs associated with colds and flu.

Honey

Honey is a time-honored remedy for a sore throat. According to one study, it can also relieve coughs more effectively than over-the-counter medicines that contain dextromethorphan (DM), a cough suppressant.

You can create your own remedy at home by mixing up to 2 teaspoons of honey with herbal tea or warm water and lemon. The honey does the soothing, while the lemon juice can help with congestion. You can also simply eat the honey by the spoonful or spread it on bread for a snack.

2. Probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms that can provide a host of health benefits.

While they don't relieve a cough directly, they do help to balance your gastrointestinal flora. Gastrointestinal flora are the bacteria that live in your intestines. This balance can support immune system function throughout the body.

Evidence also suggests that Lactobacillus, a bacterium in dairy, can reduce the likelihood of a cold or flu and sensitivity to certain allergens, such as pollen.

Fortified milk is a great source of Lactobacillus. You should be cautious, however, as dairy may make phlegm thicker. You can also purchase probiotic supplements at most health food stores and drug stores. Each supplement manufacturer may have different daily recommended intakes.

Probiotics are also added to some yogurt types and are present in miso soup and sourdough breads.

3. Bromelain

You don't usually think of pineapple as a cough remedy, but that's probably because you've never heard of bromelain. There's evidence to suggest that bromelain -- an enzyme found only in the stem and fruit of pineapples -- can help suppress coughs as well as loosen the mucus in your throat. To enjoy the most benefits of pineapple and bromelain, eat a  slice of pineapple or drink 3.5 ounces of fresh pineapple juice three times a day.

There are also claims that it can help relieve sinusitis and allergy-based sinus issues, which can contribute to coughs and mucus. However, there is insufficient evidence to support this. It's also sometimes used to treat inflammation and swelling.

Bromelain supplements should not be taken by children or adults who take blood thinners. Also, be careful using bromelain if you're also on antibiotics such as amoxicillin, as it can increase the absorption of the  antibiotic. Always speak to your doctor before taking new or unfamiliar supplements.

4. Peppermint

Peppermint leaves are well known for their healing properties. Menthol in peppermint soothes the throat and acts as a decongestant, helping to break down mucus. You can benefit by drinking peppermint tea or by inhaling peppermint vapors from a steam bath. To make a steam bath, add 3 or 4 drops of peppermint oil for every 150 milliliters of hot water. Drape a towel over your head, and take deep breaths directly above the water.

5. Marshmallow

Marshmallow is made from Althaea officinalis, a perennial that flowers in  summer. The leaves and roots of the herb have been used since ancient times to treat sore throats and suppress coughs. There are no wel lcontrolled studies to support these claims, but the herb is generally considered safe.

The marshmallow herb contains mucilage, which coats the throat and soothes irritation.

Today, you can get marshmallow root as tea or in capsule form. The warm tea can be soothing to a cough that's accompanied by a sore throat.

Marshmallow root is not recommended for children.

6. Thyme

Thyme is used by some for respiratory illnesses. One study suggests that the essence extracted from thyme leaves mixed with ivy can help relieve coughing as well as short-term bronchitis. The leaves contain compounds called flavonoids that relax the throat muscles involved in coughing and lessen inflammation.

You can make thyme tea at home using 2 teaspoons of crushed thyme leaves and 1 cup of boiling water. Cover the cup, steep for 10 minutes, and strain.

7. Salt and water gargle

While the remedy may seem relatively simple, a salt and water gargle can help soothe a scratchy throat that causes you to cough. Mixing 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water can help to relieve irritation.

Note that children under age 6 aren't especially good at gargling. It's best to try other remedies for this age group.

What Are Probiotics?

IN THIS ARTICLE

Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called "good" or "helpful" bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.

Probiotic foods: What to know

Medically reviewed by Katherine Marengo LDN, R.D., specialty in nutrition, on October 11, 2018 -- Written by Rachel Nall, MSN, CRNA

While conventional wisdom may tell a person to avoid bacteria, some bacteria can promote better health, including probiotics.

Probiotics are microorganisms naturally present in the digestive tract that aid in digestion and reduce inflammation.

While a person can take probiotic supplements, there are also many probiotic foods available.

Both dairy and non-dairy yogurt might contain probiotics.

While there are several different classes and types of probiotics, some of the most common include:

Bifidobacterium

Lactobacillus

Saccharomyces boulardii, which is a type of yeast Food manufacturers may also call probiotics "live culture" or "active cultures." Many fermented products contain probiotics, which means the bacteria in them are still living.

Often, the food production process destroys living bacteria. If a product is available on a shelf and is not refrigerated, it may not contain live and active probiotics.

Examples of dairy products that contain probiotics include:

aged cheeses, such as cheddar, gouda, or mozzarella

kefir, a probiotic milk drink

traditional buttermilk (must not be cultured)

yogurt

Not all foods must be dairy to contain probiotics. Examples of other probiotic foods include:

non-dairy yogurts

fresh, sour dill pickles

kimchi

kombucha, a fermented tea

miso

natto, a food made from fermented soybeans

sauerkraut

tempeh, a popular meat substitute

water or brine-cured olives

Medical Definition of Antioxidant

Antioxidant: A substance that reduces damage due to oxygen, such as that caused by free radicals. Well-known antioxidants include enzymes and other substances, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene, which are capable of counteracting the damaging effects of oxidation.

Your body produces some antioxidants. You also can get them in certain foods and vitamins. Common antioxidants include:

vitamin A
vitamin C
vitamin E
beta-carotene
lycopene
lutein
selenium.

You can get most of these antioxidants by eating a healthy diet. This includes a mix of colorful fruits and vegetables. Whole grains, seeds, and nuts also provide good nutrients.

Vitamin A is in milk, butter, eggs, and liver.
Vitamin C is in most fruits and vegetables. Eat fruits such as berries, oranges, kiwis, cantaloupes, and papayas. Eat vegetables such as broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
Vitamin E is in some nuts and seeds. For example, almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and peanuts. You can find it in green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. You also can find it in soybean, sunflower, corn, and canola oils.
Beta-carotene is in brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Eat fruits such as peaches, apricots, papayas, mangoes, and cantaloupes. Eat vegetables such as carrots, peas, broccoli, squash, and sweet potatoes. It also is in some leafy green vegetables such as beet greens, spinach, and kale.
Lycopene is in pink and red fruits and vegetables. This includes pink grapefruits, watermelon, apricots, and tomatoes.
Lutein is in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, collards, and kale. You also can find it in broccoli, corn, peas, papayas, and oranges.
Selenium is in pasta, bread, and grains, including corn, wheat, and rice. You can find it in animal products, like beef, fish, turkey, and chicken. You also can find it in nuts, legumes, eggs, and cheese.

Each antioxidant has a different chemical makeup. Each one provides different health benefits. Too much of one antioxidant can be harmful. Talk to your doctor before changing your diet or taking supplements.

 

What are Mushrooms?

Mushrooms are edible fungi with various scientific names; their family name is 'Agaricus'. They are essentially Saprophytes, the organisms (plants without chlorophyll) which thrive by extracting nutrients from dead and decaying plant and animal matter. They vary greatly in their color, texture, shape, and properties.

Nutrition Facts

Mushrooms are healthy foods rich in various nutrients. As per the USDA [4] Nutrient Database, mushrooms are a good source of vitamins and minerals including potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, vitamin C, B-vitamins (niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate) and vitamin D. 

Boost Immune System

Ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant present in mushrooms, is very effective in providing protection from free radicals as well as boosting the immune system. [10] It is an amino acid that contains sulfur, which is something that many people are deficient in, despite not knowing it or seeing its effects. That being said, the presence of this "master antioxidant" which is unique to mushrooms, can give a major boost to your immune system health. Ergothioneine helps eliminate free radicals, which are dangerous compounds released during the metabolic processes of cells, and can float throughout the body and cause significant damage and diseases.

Mushrooms also contain natural antibiotics (similar to penicillin), which inhibit microbial growth and other fungal infections. These same polysaccharides, beta-glucans, can stimulate and regulate the body's immune system, as per a journal Medicina. [11] They can also help heal ulcers and ulcerous wounds and provide protection from infections. The good combination of vitamin A, B-complex, and C that is found in them also strengthens the immune system.

Rich in Selenium

The selenium content in mushrooms is one of its most beneficial elements that is often overlooked. The primary source of selenium is in animal proteins; however, due to their classification as fungi that feed on animal and plant matter, mushrooms are the best way for vegetarians to obtain the necessary amount of selenium. Selenium is found in large quantities in mushrooms, according to the journal Europe PMC. [15] It can benefit bone health by adding to bone strength and strengthens the teeth, hair, and nails. Furthermore, this essential nutrient is a powerful antioxidant, which rids the body of free radicals and generally strengthens the immune system. The bioavailability of selenium in mushrooms differs from one species to another, but the majority of commonly consumed mushrooms have significant levels of this important mineral.

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