Stay well this winter by supporting a strong immune system with immune-boosting herbs and selected supplements and plant extracts.
Tasty culinary herbs such as thyme, oregano, garlic, chiles and shiitake mushrooms can help your body battle illness.
Photo by Thomas Gibson
To take immune support to the next level, consider taking some of these immune boosters on a regular basis, at least through the fall and winter months: mushrooms like shiitake, reishi, chaga and cordyceps, as well as botanicals such as codonopsis, astragalus, elderberry and ashwagandha.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, E. angustifolia) and goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), often paired together, are probably the best-known herbs for immune support, especially for acute illnesses.
Elderberry is a yummy way to boost your immunity. This stalwart has been used for centuries to battle colds and flu.
The best way to use garlic for immune support is to consume fresh, crushed garlic.
Horseradish, cayenne and ginger are all considered "blood movers" in Chinese medicine. They stimulate blood flow and, as you might imagine, can kill off many microbes.
Mushrooms such as maitake, shiitake, reishi and chaga all contain a complex array of nutrients that help support good immune function.
Thyme contains potent antiviral and antibacterial properties delivered right to the lungs and sinuses.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), along with many of these herbs, is also an adaptogen, a natural substance that helps the body adapt to stress.