We all know the basics: Wash your hands, stay warm, and stay away from crowds when possible. But for those parents who want to do the most they can to build up their child’s immune system through those vulnerable winter months, there are several super herbs available that have surprisingly powerful immune boosting properties.
Note: As with all our Guest Posts, the views are those of the author who encourages you to “Please be sure to consult with your physician before starting your child on any new supplement or herb regimen.”
Herbs that Boost Children’s Immune Systems
- Echinacea increases cell activity of white blood cells, which are responsible for the body’s natural immune defense system. This super herb can be found in tincture form and added to just about any type of drink your child likes.
- Elderberries are used in jams, syrups, juices and various dishes. These super-berries are full of antioxidants and fiber. Back elderberries are by far one of the most significant antioxidant sources on the planet. According to a 1993 double-blind study that appeared in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 1995, elderberry consumption resulted in significant improvement of flu symptoms, which included fever, in 93.3% of the cases in the elderberry treated study group. When the third day of the study came, an amazing 93.3% of the patients were cured completely.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) attacks the nucleic acid in viruses, fighting with bacteria to the death. Vitamin C may also play a significant role in connective tissue, leaving the tissue stronger and more able to resist microbe attack. It may also act as an antioxidant, combating those free radicals and giving your immune system a higher likelihood of combating bacteria and microbes.
- Fish Oil is very rich in DHA & EPA. It reduces inflammation, which could help prevent disease. In the April, 2013 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, suggests that DHA-rich fish oil improves activity of B cells (a white blood cell), suggesting that fish oil is not only immunosuppressive. This discovery opens the door for fish oil to be used effectively for patients with compromised immune systems.
Reacting to Early Signs of Sickness
There are also many natural options available for use when you see the early signs of sickness with your little one.
- Eucalyptus Essential Oils provide quick relief of the dreaded stuffy nose. Just add a couple drops to a pot of hot, boiled water. This oil has anti-inflammatory properties that work quickly once the vapor is inhaled. For extreme cases, you can put a towel over your child’s head and have him lean over the pot in order to direct the steam into the nasal passages.
- Slippery Elm Bark aids in soothing a sore throat. It isn’t quite as well known as many other herbs, but it is effective none-the-less. In the mouth it dissolves creating a gel coating which eases soar, scratchy throats and helps to reduce the pain and discomfort that comes with swallowing while suffering from a soar throat.
- Propolis Extract can be used as a gargle or even a spray and helps support the body’s immune response to throat illness.
- Licorice Root extract aids in moisturizing mucus membranes, which can get irritated and uncomfortable. It also provides adrenal support for children who are stressed dealing with a sickness.
A product from Gaia Herbs, called “Kids Defense Herbal Drops” contain organic Echinacea purpurea as well as marshmallow root and other immune supportive herbs that will help kids get and stay healthy.
All of these herbs and supplements have been shown to help prevent and treat common illnesses that like to peak their ugly heads in the winter months. These natural supplements are not only excellent for children, but for their adult caregivers as well!