Bombarding your immune system with the same generic health tonic time after time isn’t giving it the effective, safe support it deserves.
It doesn’t matter how healthy your immune system is, at some point we all get sick. Whether it’s a nasty sinus infection or a particularly aggressive bout of the flu, we all have the same thought on our mind:
“How can I feel better, quickly?”
Consequently, most of us don’t take the time to work out if our ailment is bacterial or viral.
“Who cares! I just want to feel better!”
So, we’ll throw any generic health tonic into our body in an attempt to get off the horrible proverbial rollercoaster we find ourselves riding.
Yet, while these tonics may numb our symptoms and trick us into believing we’re feeling better, they rarely address the underlying cause of our misery; they just paper over the cracks.
In order to truly combat a threat to your immune system, you need to find the most appropriate solution, not the most convenient one.
While both bacterial and viral infections can make you feel lousy and even cause similar symptoms, there’s actually not a whole lot the two have in common.
Bacteria are single-celled organisms that work their way inside your body and multiply rapidly. In fact, it only takes about 25 minutes for one bacterium to divide into two bacteria.
This means that one bacterial invader can become millions in a matter of hours!
Viruses are quite different. Unlike bacteria, they’re not actually alive. Instead, they’re a fragment of foreign DNA that is coated in a protective protein.
So, how do they make you sick?
The virus latches onto your healthy cells and starts injecting the foreign DNA into them! Once the DNA is inside one of your cells, it can hijack it’s machinery and order it to start reproducing the virus.
Fighting these two different types of infections requires different sorts of ingredients. So how can you tell them apart yourself?
There are plenty of “old wives tales” that claim you can discern whether your infection is viral or bacterial by analyzing your symptoms.
One of the more popular theories is to investigate the color of your mucus. It posits that if your mucus is a deep green color (as opposed to yellow), it indicates that the infection is bacterial and requires antibiotics.
If only it were that easy.
Green mucus occurs due to substances released by your immune system in response to any foreign invader, whether it be viral, bacterial, or even seasonal allergies.
Unfortunately, using your symptoms to try and tell if your infection is bacterial or viral is very difficult, and we strongly advocate against it. The only person who should be trusted to do so is your doctor.
There are plenty of people who have misdiagnosed themselves with bacterial infections and started taking antibiotics… which often leads to bigger problems.
Antibiotics are medications that are prescribed to combat bacterial infections, and they can be incredibly helpful.
However, many will also request them to fight viral infections, which can lead to big problems.
The truth is, antibiotics are not only entirely ineffective against viral infections… they can also be harmful.
Antibiotics work by entering your body and killing bacteria. However, not all bacteria in your body are bad, in fact there are plenty of beneficial bacteria that live in your body such as gut flora.
Antibiotics are indiscriminate in the bacteria they exterminate, which means if you take them while suffering a viral infection (remember, viruses aren’t caused by the presence of bacteria) they may end up only targeting helpful bacteria!
On top of this, taking antibiotics unnecessarily can lead to antibiotic resistance.
Every time you expose your body to an antibiotic, it starts to develop a tolerance, which lowers the antibiotic’s effectiveness the next time you use it.
This means that when you actually need the antibiotic, it might not be as effective as it should be.
The lesson we should learn from this? If you have a problem, find the most effective solution, not the most convenient one.
We’ve compiled a list of all-natural ingredients that have been shown to possess properties to help keep your immune system alert and prepared!
Plenty of studies have shown the immense toll that chronic stress takes on the immune system. By reducing your level of stress, you release a burden on your immune system, which will allow it to function closer to its optimal capacity!
Adaptogens are ancient herbs from Traditional Chinese Medicine that have been shown to help reduce the negative impact of stress.
Some popular adaptogens to look for include andrographis and eleuthero. The former has been shown to have antibacterial and antiinflammatory capabilities, while the latter has been shown to inhibit the replication of viruses that cause the cold and the flu.
Your lymph system is your body’s collection of detoxification pathways. You need to keep these clear so your body can easily rid itself of immune system stressors such as toxins, waste, and other unwanted material!
Burdock root is a botanical that will not only assist your lymph system, but will also have incredibly potent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects on the body.
Did you know that over 70% of your immune system is in your digestive tract?
Maximizing gut flora, stomach acid, and antibacterials will help the digestive system take strain off the immune system. This will allow the immune system to operate at a more productive level.
This could be accomplished with the medicinal herb coptis root, both a rich source of berberine and a powerful antibacterial. It is also capable of waging war on drug-resistant gram-negative bugs which cause nasty infections such as cholera and food poisoning!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, qi (pronounced “chi”) is described as our “life force” or “vital energy.” Tonifying is the practice of restoring deficient levels of this energy!
Botanicals such as forsythia and Japanese honeysuckle boast so much more than just these incredible tonifying benefits.
Forsythia provides protection against oxidative damage and immune depression, both common side effects of chronic stress, while Japanese honeysuckle provides antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits against a number of bacteria including strep, staph, and salmonella.
Along with coptis root, all three of these botanicals have the ability to destroy biofilm, which is the slimy protective substance that encases harmful bacteria!
A member of the pea family, astragalus has gained an immense reputation as a potent antiviral and an immune booster!
In a study of 1,000 subjects, it was shown to protect against the common cold by either shortening the duration or decreasing its incidence. Numerous other studies have also confirmed this herb’s immuno-supportive properties and some have suggested it may also ease infection-related inflammation.
Due to this combination of actions it’s considered an herb needed to keep the immune system “combat-ready” during cold and flu season.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, qi (pronounced “chi”) is described as our “life force” or “vital energy.” “Wei qi” is our “defensive qi.” It nourishes the body, regulates our body temperature and helps prevent the invasion of threatening pathogens.
In order to reinvigorate this energy we need to be sure that the respiratory passages are kept clear and that we are breathing at an optimal capacity. Much of our body’s defensive energy is drawn from the quality of air we breathe.
Chinese licorice is also effective against the flu, while ginger root offers antioxidant, antimicrobial, and immunomodulatory benefits!
Building an optimal antioxidant status is going to help keep your immune system safe from foreign threats and free radicals!
European elder is the source of elderberries that are crammed with powerful antioxidants and other compounds that have been shown to mitigate the effects of a wide range of flu viruses. Recent clinical trials have also shown it to be effective against the common cold.