The first day of winter is here! Sometimes winter can bring compromised immune systems, common colds and seasonal depression. Here are a few healing herbs and vitamins that can keep you healthy this Winter. Mushrooms have incredible medicinal properties. In fact, an estimated 38,000 species of mushrooms, provide a wealth of protein, fiber, B vitamins, and vitamin C, as well as calcium and other minerals. Two species have demonstrated phenomenal healing potential: maitake and reishi. These medicinal mushrooms have been shown to boost heart health; lower the risk of cancer,; promote immune function; ward off viruses, bacteria, and fungi; reduce inflammation; combat allergies; help balance blood sugar levels; and support the body's detoxification mechanisms.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), commonly known as Ling Zhi in Chinese, is a herbal mushroom known to have miraculous health benefits. Reishi is an Immunomodulator and regulates and fine tunes the immune system. Preliminary evidence suggests that reishi mushrooms may have antiviral benefits. They contain polysaccharides, which have been reported to inhibit direct effects on the influenza virus.
Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) also known as "Hen of the Woods", since its frond-like growths resemble the feathers of a fluffed chicken. Maitake is a medicinal mushroom that grows in clusters at the base of decaying trees, particularly oaks. The fungus is native to the northeastern part of Japan and North America, and is prized in traditional Chinese and Japanese herbology as a medicinal mushroom, an aid to balance out altered body systems to a normal level. It is widely eaten in Japan, and its popularity in western cuisine is growing.
It tastes wonderful and can be used in cooking, whenever you want to give your family a health boost. This would be especially good during cold and flu season.It is thought to be the most powerful mushroom as far as strengthening the immune system. The glucans and polysaccharides in it stimulate the immune system by increasing the activity of the T-helper cells. It is also highly used by cancer patients today.
Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) & Elderflower
Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant properties, to boost the immune system, and for coughs, colds, flu, hay fever, bacterial and viral infections, and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. Elderberries must be boiled thoroughly or they can be considered poisonous.
Elderflowers are also used for their health benefits as well as elderberries. Elderflowers come from the Elder tree. The Elder has been called the ‘medicine chest of the people’ due to the remedies that can be made with either its leaves, bark, flowers or fruit to treat many common complaints. It is reported by herbalists that dried elderflowers when combined with dried yarrow and peppermint to make a tea is effective to use when you have a cold or influenza. The elderflower lowers fever, reduces inflammation, and soothes irritation.
Echinacea-(Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purprea) This herb works wonderfully for colds and flu. Drinking a tea made from echinacea can greatly reduce the severity and duration of these two illnesses. It’s also widely used for treating upper respiratory infections and sore throat. It’s also an effective anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibiotic. Millions of people have used it to boost the immune system to help fight off viral, fungal and bacterial infections. It can reduce inflammation, destroy free radicals and increase white blood cells. Echinacea can also build resistance to respiratory and digestive infections. It is often used to treat infections of the respiratory system and sinusitis.
This special herb can help keep the glands clean and in good working order. For this reason, it can be used to treat prostate troubles, tonsillitis, swollen lymph glands, strep throat and even ear infections.
Echinacea isn’t the type of herb you take every day. You can start taking it at the first sign of illness. Most people use it like they would an antibiotic, just when needed.
It has been proven in modern science that the lack of vitamin D, can lead to illnesses disease and even cancer. Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and other minerals which help reduce colds, flu, and many other infectious diseases. With the stripping of our modern diet's minerals and lack of exposure to sunlight in the winter months. It's imperative we take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D drops are the easiest to absorb.
You can find all of these essential organic herbs and vitamins at Luna's studio at South Congress Massage. Don't forget to stock up for the winter!