Immune-boosting herbs: the best herbs to strengthen your immune system
Which immune-boosting herbs can help us fight off colds and the flu? These 11 medicinal herbs support a strong immune system and can easily be grown at home.
With the change in seasons comes a rise in colds and flu cases. Maintaining a strong immune system will help you in fighting viruses and staying healthy throughout the winter. Vitamin supplements and pharmaceutical remedies can help, but what about natural remedies? Herbs have been used since ancient times to strengthen the immune system and support our health in a natural and sustainable way. Best of all, you can easily grow medicinal, immune-boosting herbs at home in your garden, on your balcony or even on your windowsill. Discover eleven herbs that do wonders for our immune systems and that you can easily grow yourself.
Indigenous to the Mediterranean, thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is one of the most important medicinal herbs for supporting the immune system against colds and respiratory diseases. Thyme is high in essential oils and zinc, and it can be used fresh, dried, and as an oil or a tincture. Try infusing thyme with water to make a lovely herbal tea for an immune system boost.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is well-known in Asian cuisines. But did you know that it is also a medicinal herb that strengthens the immune system? This is due to the herb’s contents − coriander is full of essential oils, coumarins, phenolic acids and sterols. Not only is coriander seed oil antibacterial, but it is also a natural antibiotic. Whether as a tea, oil, or tincture, coriander can be extremely beneficial to your health.
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is high in vitamin C, which helps to boost our natural defences. This sour herb is also rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6 and E. Whether used fresh in salads or dried to make tea, sorrel is a powerful medicinal herb.
Caraway (Carum carvi) is not only used as a spice, but also for medicinal purposes. The seeds are antibacterial, germ-inhibiting, naturally antifungal and aid digestion. Caraway is, therefore, also an immune-boosting herb.
Tip: it’s easy to grow some popular herbs for colds in your own garden. Find out more about how to do this in our separate article.
One of the most popular herbs for the immune system is Echinacea. Echinacea originated in North America but has been around on this side of the pond for a while now and grows very well in our climate. The plant contains numerous essential oils, flavonoids, polysaccharides and vitamin C, all of which help to strengthen the immune system and prevent colds. Medicinally, Echinacea can be used as a tincture or tea.
Another natural antibiotic that can be grown in your own garden is oregano (Origanum vulgare). Although primarily known to be delicious on pizza, pasta and the like, the healing properties of oregano should not be underestimated. Oregano is antibacterial and thus naturally supports our immune system when enjoyed as a tea or oil.
Whether curly or flat leaved, hardly any other herb is more popular than parsley (Petroselinum crispum ssp. crispum). Full of vitamin C, calcium and zinc, it not only supports our immune system, but it is also beneficial for the bladder and kidneys.
Tip: Healthy herbs need a good soil to grow and develop their full healing power. Our Plantura Organic Herb & Seedling Compost helps your herbs flourish without any chemicals or artificial additives. It is eco-friendly and sustainable for both you and the environment, while also offering the best conditions for your herbs to grow in.
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Salvia, the Latin name for sage, suggests that it has medicinal effects. Afterall, “salvare” means “to heal” in Latin. This Mediterranean herb is particularly effective in treating sore throats, but its immune-boosting properties should not be overlooked. Sage tea has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an effective way to boost the body’s defences.
In our body, white blood cells are responsible for destroying bacteria, viruses and fungi. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) helps the body to produce white blood cells. Therefore, chamomile tea is a wonderful way to boost our immune systems. A steamy bath made with chamomile tea also helps clear the airways and relieve cold symptoms.
With its richness in oil, camphor and bitter substances, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is undoubtedly a powerhouse herb that strengthens the immune system. When enjoyed as a tea, essential oil or tincture, rosemary has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also beneficial to digestion, blood circulation and the circulatory system.
Two of the most common causes for a weakened immune system are stress and lack of sleep. Luckily, there is also an effective herbal remedy for this. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) has a calming effect which helps those with anxiety as well as trouble falling asleep. So, when asked which tea boosts the immune system, we can confidently say “lemon balm tea”.
Not only do herbs nourish and strengthen the immune system. Spices also help to ensure that our immune system is ready for the next wave of cold and flu season. You can grow these yourself too. Ginger (Zingiber officinale), turmeric (Curcuma longa), garlic (Allium sativum) and horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) are particularly popular immune-boosters.