Updated: May 22, 2020
Immune support is so much more than antibacterials or antivirals. Our immune system starts with our skin and has many layers and complex actions to prevent or eliminate disease causing organisms and compounds.
This multilayered system is called an adaptive immune system, because all the players (T cells and B cells and such) learn defenses each time they are challenged and the system remembers those challenges, allowing for a faster response the next time.
Many herbal companies and authors are discussing natural antivirals at this point and that is a common Western approach. When looking at our amazing immune system we can see that improving its ability to fight off disease causing microbes is a much better strategy and will encourage an all around stronger immune response as apposed to just finding a compound to kill the virus, which denies the body an opportunity to learn from the attack and develop a defense for the next round.
Some herbal products do a little of both, they have antiviral activity as well as actions which support a complete and appropriate immune response. These herbs will weaken the virus and strengthen the immune response by the body.
One herb that dose both is neem leaf extract. Don’t look for neem oil or neem bark while those are great for other things you want the leaf extract. Neem leaf extracts have been shown in studies to be effective against viruses and demonstrated a positive effect on the bodies immune response. This herb can also lower fertility in both men and women so use with caution during childbearing years.
Another herb that works on both the cause and the system is holy basil which like neem leaf has an extremely long history of use in Ayurveda and has been shown to be quite safe. This herb also impacts cortisol levels and can give you a calming effect.
There are many herbs in ayurveda like these two and some formulas with several herbs actually are the best way to use them. A poly herbal Uses the best of several herbs to give a more complete action and improve the overall results. So some thing like formula #24 Imunade will really deliver. This formula has tinospora cordifoli, ginger, turmeric, amla, neem and Ashwagandha. It is a powerful formula with the best combination, and it is an excellent addition to holy basil.
Remember, never give up, a strong immune system is one that works out and is supported by plants.