The “immunity” reminderThe immune system is all of the body's defenses. It can be innate or acquired . Innate immunity is the body's first defense against external aggression. It is present from birth. Acquired immunity comes second and is built up throughout our lives . The latter is said to be “specific”, because it will involve antibodies chosen to defend precisely the type of threat that will have to be fought. Innate immunity consists of the physical barriers imposed by our organism in the face of an external aggression . The properties of the skin (PH, sweat, dermis, hairiness) and mucous membranes (secretion of protective mucus). Innate immunity also involves what are called “complement cells” and macrophages, these are non-specific cells that will act quickly in the immune response. Acquired immunity is specific and is built up as and when the attacks the body faces. When it intervenes, it is because the threat in question has already encountered our organization. This is the principle of memorization of the immune system . Vaccination is based on this principle. It allows the body to be brought into contact with the antigen of the microbe in question (bacterium or virus) devoid of toxin, so that the body produces and stores the antibodies concerned. In this way, the body will more easily and effectively fight disease before it has the opportunity to encounter it in its lifetime. It is also thanks to acquired immunity that chicken pox can only appear once in our lifetime. Acquired immunity includes cell-mediated immunity (T-lymphocytes) and humoral-mediated immunity (B-lymphocytes) . It is the latter that allows the memory of antibodies to prevent more quickly a future attack of the same pathogen. Immunity includes, in a broad sense, all the mechanisms that will allow the body to defend itself against threats that could harm its balance. Allergies and immune or autoimmune diseases constitute a dysregulation of the immune system. It is a complex part which is still poorly known. We will not develop this part here.
How do you know if you have a good immune system?When your immunity is weakened, your body will have trouble fighting small everyday infections (viral or bacteriological). Wounds take longer to heal . Your body will find it difficult to undergo physical effort, with difficulty in recovery. You may experience undue fatigue throughout the day, even after a good night's sleep. You may also experience difficulty concentrating and remembering due to this asthenia.
If you think you have a weakened immune system, be sure to consult your doctor so that he prescribes a blood test with a blood count. Pay attention to self-medication, taking food supplements is not without risk if it is poorly adapted. Some dietary supplements cannot be added, there is a risk of excess intake of vitamins and minerals. Speak with a healthcare professional.Discover our Detox & Vitality infusion
What weakens our bodyNot to mention illness, details that accumulate on a daily basis can affect the functioning of our defenses:
- Physical and mental fatigue
- The stress
- Lack of physical activity
- Poor food hygiene
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
- The lack of sun
How to strengthen your immune system naturally?The vitamins and minerals ensuring the proper functioning of the immune system are well known to the general public (Vitamin C, D, zinc, iron, magnesium, selenium, etc.). Fruits have several natural benefits that allow them to boost your immune system. Not only are they rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals, but they also contain nutrients that have the benefits of improving your overall health.But what about plants in herbal medicine?
Here are 10 plants to strengthen the immune defenses1 - Echinacea ( Echinacea purpurea L.): endemic to the plains of North America, this plant contains interesting components for the protection of the body(1). Among them, caffeic acid derivatives and alkylamides are involved in immunoregulation; the polysaccharides stimulate the production of antibodies and the phenolic compounds support the defenses of immunity. Echinacea is characterized as immunostimulant and anti-infectious. 2 - Cypress ( Cupressus sempervirens ) is known to be a natural antiviral (2). Its fruits contain tannins and PACs (proanthocyanidins) which limit the adhesion of viruses to the body's cells and eliminate them. 3 - Asian ginseng ( Panax ginseng CA Meyer): known to have a beneficial role on stress, this plant contains ginsenosides (3), active ingredients that will play a role in inflammation and cell oxidation. Attention, this plant is not recommended for people on antidiabetic treatment (Plant Order of June 24, 2014). 4 - Acerola ( Malpighia glabra ): native to South America, acerola is a red berry that helps maintain immune defenses thanks to its high vitamin C content. 5 - Elderberry ( Sambucus nigra ): elderberries are rich in polyphenols, resources with anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols are also known to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. 6 - Thyme ( Thymus vulgaris ): thyme is a medicinal and aromatic plant, rich in polyphenols, used since Antiquity for its many virtues. Flavor enhancer in everyday dishes, this plant can also relieve respiratory pathologies (cough, bronchitis, allergy), inflammation (acting as an antiseptic and antifungal). Thyme also has spasmolytic properties, it relieves intestinal disorders. 7 - Eucalyptus ( Eucalyptus globulus ): native to Australia, this plant has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial activity. It boosts the immune defenses by contributing to the production of white blood cells, thus increasing, in this way, the production of antibodies and improving the immune response during a microbiological attack. Eucalyptus is also known for its minty scent and its effects on the respiratory system due to the cineol contained in its leaves. 8 - Ginger ( Zingiber officinale ): tropical plant that contains many active ingredients, the main ones being gingerols and shogaols. These resources are found in greater quantity in the rhizomes, there are also many mineral salts and vitamins. These components make ginger a powerful antioxidant and natural anti-inflammatory (4). Be careful, ginger can interact with certain medications, please consult your doctor if you are undergoing treatment. Heavy consumption by pregnant women can be dangerous, the maximum recommended daily dose is 2g. In addition, having anticoagulant effects, the consumption of this plant is not recommended before any surgical intervention. 9 - Turmeric ( Curcuma longa ): a perennial plant native to Southeast Asia, it is particularly rich in curcumin. This active ingredient gives it the particularity of being a powerful antioxidant. In addition, curcumin promotes the growth and activity of immune cells. In this way, curcumin plays a role in inflammation, cell protection, natural defenses and immunity. 10 - Astragalus ( Astragalus membranaceus ): Used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, Astragalus helps to boost immune function. Indeed, this plant has immunomodulating, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. These plants support the immune system. They should be consumed in moderation and in no way replace a balanced and varied diet.
Which herbal tea to boost the immune defences?Some plants mentioned above can be interesting in herbal tea, for their properties, but also for their taste. Here are some tips for homemade preparations of these organic products: Fresh thyme herbal tea :
- Boil 1L of water in a saucepan or kettle
- When the water is simmering, pour the preparation into a container containing the fresh thyme
- Let stand 10 minutes
- Filter, then add flavors according to your preferences: honey, lemon, cinnamon...
- Cut 5 cm from a ginger rhizome, remove the skin and chop finely into slices.
- Start boiling 1L of water in a saucepan.
- When the water begins to boil, add the thin slices of ginger and cook over low heat for approximately 20 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes, placing a lid on it to keep in the heat.
- Then add a teaspoon of honey and two tablespoons of lemon juice (it's even better if squeezed).
Recipe idea to boost your immunityTurmeric, whose virtues have been mentioned above, can very easily season your dishes. Plus, it goes perfectly with ginger! Here is a quick and easy chickpea curry recipe: Ingredients :
- Canned or jarred chickpeas (500g)
- White rice of your choice (100g)
- Coconut milk (20 cl)
- Coriander powder (3 tsp) or fresh (a small bunch)
- Curry powder (3 tsp)
- Turmeric powder (2 tsp)
- fresh ginger
- Lemon juice
- Cook the rice as indicated on the package (the cooking time varies depending on the nature of the rice: basmati rice, Thai rice, etc.).
- In a saucepan, add the chickpeas.
- Add curry, turmeric, coriander and peeled or grated ginger.
- Heat over medium heat for 10 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk.
- Let simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
- Serve with the rice.