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Chinese Herbs that Boost Your Immunity

What’s the secret to a long and healthy life? Giving your immune system the TLC it deserves..

Your immune system works for you day and night. Immune cells are constantly scouring tissue and blood to find and eliminate potential threats. Like silent warriors, these cells and organ systems work to defend your health – often without a single sniffle!

But just like us, our immune systems need support from time to time. Rest, a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep are all excellent ways to give the immune system the energy to keep watching out for you. Sometimes, however, we need extra support. That’s where Chinese herbs come in!

Chinese herbs are a natural and effective way to support your immune system from the root. They act as both preventative tonics and disease-fighting medicinals. 

Chinese Herbs that Boost the Immune System

Herbal medicine has been used to support and enhance the immune system for centuries. Ancient Chinese medicine scholars developed entire schools of thought to understand how to cure issues like colds and infections. It’s no wonder why so much attention was placed on building a strong immunity; in a time before modern antibiotics, a minor issue could quickly escalate and become life-threatening.

Thankfully, we do have modern medicine to tackle the severe problems we face. However, we can still use Chinese herbs to stay naturally resilient to stress and disease.

Here are some of the most popular and useful Chinese herbs to support the immune system and conquer mild illnesses:

Astragalus is both an immune-boosting herb and an energy tonic. When the body has plenty of energy, it is much more likely to be able to defend itself against invading pathogens, toxins, or allergens

Aside from being an antiviral and antioxidant herb, astragalus is also considered an adaptogen. This means that it helps the body adapt to stress better.

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Take Jade Screen Teapills (which contain astragalus) during cold and flu season to help preserve your energy and improve your odds of staying healthy.

You can also take formulas that include astragalus, like Shen Qi Da Bu Yin Wan, to prevent getting sick during a particularly stressful or taxing time. As an added benefit, you’ll stay energized and more resilient to stress, too!

If you thought dandelion was just a pesky weed, think again! This humble flower can help fight viruses, cool inflammation, and support the immune system. Its cold nature is best suited for issues that involve excess heat, like infection, sore throat, fever, or rash. Dandelion also has a cleaning effect on the liver and encourages healthy detoxification. 

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You can find dandelion in formulas like Wu Wei Xiao Du Wan for inflammatory skin conditions like shingles or Herpes Simplex,

Honeysuckle & Forsythia, Jin Yin Cao & Lian Qiao

Honeysuckle and forsythia make up a powerful immune-boosting duo. Together (along with a few other helping herbs) they create Yin Qiao San, a go-to formula for the early onset of a cold and sore throat.

Honeysuckle has been shown to reduce fevers and moderate harmful inflammation. Similarly, forsythia has anti-inflammatory effects as well as antiviral effects. Both Herbs help to moderate the immune response and keep colds, flus, and sore throats under control.

Elderberry, Jie Gu Mu

Elderberry is one of the best known natural immunity remedies. This tiny berry is packed with a high amount of antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory compounds – not to mention 60% of your daily recommended vitamin C.

Modern studies have proven that elderberries can help boost the immune system. It’s claim to fame is the ability to shorten the duration and reduce the intensity of a cold or flu.

Andrographis is a potent immune tonic and antimicrobial herb. It is used in formulas to treat viral infections, bacterial infections, colds, flus, and even chronic issues like cancer. Studies show that andrographis likely boosts the immune system by stimulating the immune cells that mount an attack on invaders (like T cells and natural killer cells).

In Chinese medicine, andrographis is a cold and bitter herb that quickly and effectively reduces inflammation. As such, it is often used to treat hot-type symptoms like sore throat, swellings, and acute inflammatory conditions.

This is a must-have formula to manage issues like UTIs, colds, flus, ear infections, and sinusitis. A well-stocked home medicine cabinet will have a packet of Chuan Xin Lian Pian to keep infections at bay.

Ginger, Sheng Jiang (fresh) or Gan Jiang (dried)

Ginger is one of nature’s most useful culinary medicinals. In Chinese medicine, ginger is used both in dietary therapy as well as in herbal formulas to help improve digestion and boost the immune system.

Ginger builds the body’s immunity by acting as a natural antihistamine and a decongestant. It has also been shown to have antimicrobial effects and can reduce infection. Ginger is also a digestive herb that supports a healthy gut microbiome, laying the foundation for a more robust immune system.

You can find ginger in tonics like Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Wan, which helps improve immunity from the root (i.e. the gut!)

Reishi mushroom has been used for centuries by Chinese medicine practitioners. In recent times, it has been popularized for its unique benefits and potential to calm the mind, improve immunity, and promote longevity.

Taking Real Mushrooms Reishi is an excellent way to get a daily dose of stress relief and immune power at the same time. 

For a more immune health-focused option, choose Real Mushrooms 5-Defenders Formula. This blend contains five essential medicinal mushrooms for immune health including reishi, turkey tail, shiitake, maitake, and chaga.

Preserve Your Immune Health with Chinese Herbs

 You’re only as strong as your immune system. The good news is that building up your immunity is easy with Chinese herbal medicine. 

Along with these amazing herbal remedies and tonics, Best Chinese Medicines carries a wide range of immune-boosting formulas to match your body’s unique needs. Shop our entire collection of Chinese herbs for immune support, Chinese herbs for colds, and Chinese herbs for allergies today!

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About the Author

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kaitlan Downes, MSAOM, L.AC

Kate Downes is a Chinese medicine practitioner with a passion for herbal medicine. In fact, it was her love for plant and earth medicine that first drew her to study Chinese medicine.

Kate has a MSAOM (Master of Science, Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine) certification and practiced acupuncture in Indianapolis, IN for five years before packing her bags to roam the world. In order to stay in touch with the wellness community and continue to help others thrive with herbal medicine, she transformed her work from face-to-face patient care to spreading wellness through words. Her life as a remote herbalist and writer has allowed her to work with a variety of wellness brands, health pioneers, and her wonderful clients. She has a special interest in working with women’s health.

Kate thoroughly enjoys writing educational and useful pieces for Best Chinese Medicine. Her goal is to help the public gain a better understanding of the wonders of Chinese herbal medicine so they can be empowered in their own quest for natural, vibrant health.

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