An overactive or underactive immune system creates problems within the body. An overactive immune system can present with allergies, acne, eczema and even arthritis. An underactive immune system can cause illnesses and infections; chronic and acute.
The goal of any herbal warrior is to find balance. Using adaptogens and immunomodulators and immunostimulants, we can hope to achieve harmony and balance.
According to the Naturopathic Herbalist:
“Adaptogen: Herbs in this group work through some hormonal modulation of the immune response. The field of Psychoneuroimmunology describes the numerous endocrine functions that can be effected by stress, our mental/emotional health, and it is largely at this levels the herbs demonstrate their actions. For example, adaptogens exert their effects through saponins (steroidal & triperpendoi) via the adrenal glands which is foundational component of healthy immune status. Herbal examples include:
Immunomodulator: Immune modulation denotes any effect a herb will have on immune system responsiveness. For example, these herbs may stimulate T-supressor cells (thereby reduce immune resistance), and stimulate macrophages and natural killer cells. Others will enhance the production of antibodies within acting as antigens themselves. Immunomodulators have potential contributions to the treatment of malignancies as they play a central role in supporting those cells involved in our immunological defenses.
Immunostimulant: Immune stimulants lead to a non-specific stimulation of our immunological defences. They generally do not effect our immune memory cells, and because their pharmacological effects fade relatively quickly, they must be administered at regular intervals or continuously. These herbs are more akin to conventional drug therapies for infections, and are valuable options when wanting to boost the body’s innate immune mechanisms in immunocompromised patients and in autoimmune disease.”
Grind or chop the plant material as finely as possible. I use my juicer to grind the dried plant material and my grain mill to grind the dried roots.
Add the plant material to the jar: Dried- fill 1/2 of jar
Fresh- fill the entire jar
Add the alcohol. Fill to the brim. Keep an eye on it for the next several minutes and keep adding alcohol until all the plant material is covered.
Seal well and label with the plant name, date, percent and type of alcohol and the date 6 weeks out.
Shake the jar daily and store in a cool, dark place.
After 6 weeks, strain out plant material and decant the tincture into sterilised bottles for use.
Label bottles with the tincture name.
Adult dose: 3ml 3x day as a preventative, or 5 ml 3-5x day during the onset of a cold or flu.
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus): adaptogen, antioxidant, immunostimulant, anti-inflammatory, rejuvenative
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous): immune enhancing, adaptogen, tonic, adrenal tonic, hypotensive, cardiotonic, antiviral, antibacterial.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): adaptogen, tonic, adrenal tonic, antiallergenic
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): adaptogen, tonic, immunomodulator
Oh, I would not have though of that. People are so interested in boosting immunity that there is not much concern about imbalance. (One of my colleagues is planting elderberry at home so we do not need to take it from the wild. I am pleased that there is interest in such herbal remedies.)
I have quite a few clients who suffer from an overactive immune system. This comes out as eczema, acne and allergies. I think for all of us, balance is the clear goal.