Your Immune System

It is through the operation of the body's immunity the we are able to protect ourselves from harmful organisms and maintain a balanced internal chemistry. The immune system includes the lymphatic system which carries nutrients, drains toxic waste products and produces lymphocytes and antibodies to combat diseases.

Swollen 'glands' in the neck, armpit and groin during disease are indications that our lymph nodes are working to capacity. A weakened immune system is indicated by small and persistent infections, sudden allergies or food intolerances and general tiredness.

Your immune system is vital to maintaining your health, so take good care of it. Diseases of the immune system can be serious, even fatal, so do obtain assistance from a health professional if you are dealing with these problems

What you can do to help your lymphatic system

Whenever there is the suspicion that the lymphatic system is overloaded and in trouble a cleansing diet my be of assistance. The following foods should be avoided so the lymphatic system can rest.

  • red meats,
  • greasy fatty foods and fried foods,
  • cheese, butter, cream and milk,
  • vinegar and pickles,
  • alcohol,
  • sugar and sugar based products,
  • artificial additives, preservatives, colorings and flavourings,
  • coffee and similar beverages.

Fresh fruit and vegetables should provide the basis of the diet when attempting to cleanse the lymphatic system. White meat and fish can also be consumed if desired.

Herbal remedies for the lymphatic system

The following mixture will assist the lymphatic system whenever problems arise.

  • 2 parts echinacea
  • 1 part cleavers
  • 1 part golden seal
  • 1 part poke root

Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the herb mix and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day. This sort of mixture should also be used in other conditions when it is thought that the lymphatic system needs support.

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Cancers

It has been shown that at any time in a healthy person there may be up to 10,000 cells in the body capable of causing malignancy. They are stopped from developing and are killed by the body's superb defence mechanism. The natural defence ability is so effective that there must be a drastic disturbance in the body's physical integration to allow a malignancy to develop. There is a multitude of factors that can cause this breakdown.

Many claims have been made for the antineoplastic action (antineoplastic means that some blocking or inhibiting effect is shown against a neoplasm or growth) in some plants. Some of the 'miracle drugs' used in orthodox medicine to treat cancers were found in plants. One example is the Madagascan Periwinkle which is the source of drugs such as Vinblastine and Vincristine.

While this is one example of how the active ingredients in herbs can be used, it really sees the problem as being localised to the cancer itself. It is more appropriate to see cancers as a manifestation of a systemic problem and to use systemic treatments as are appropriate in aiding the body to gain control. Herbs can be most effective in supporting the body in this form of transformation through their work in cleansing, strengthening and healing properties.

The herbs that are most often used are alterative and specific antineoplastics. The alteratives work through cleansing and normalising processes which support the body in riding itself of cancerous growths. The remedies that work via the liver supporting its detoxifying activity are:

  • burdock,
  • blue flag and
  • yellow dock.

The kidneys eliminative function is aided by:

  • cleavers and
  • dandelion.

Herbs that have a specific tonic and cleansing action on the lymphatic system are:

  • cleavers,
  • echinacea and
  • poke root.

In addition to the herbs listed above, herbs can be taken that aid the body in reasserting order and structured organisation in affected tissues. These herbs appear to have a specific action in inhibiting and combating the development of tumours. These herbs are:

  • guaiacum,
  • mistletoe,
  • red clover and
  • sweet violet.
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HIV and AIDS

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) weakens the immune system, leaving it susceptible to infections. It can be contracted through unsafe sex, contaminated blood and body fluids or at birth from an infected mother. HIV remains for life and may eventually lead to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).

AIDS responds well to nutritional therapy and herbal treatment would be aimed at boosting the immune response. People who are HIV positive will benefit from these approaches. Studies have shown that a good healthy diet and extra vitamin and mineral supplementation can help delay the onset of AIDS. The following should be undertaken in addition to looking at using the herbal remedies suggested above in the general section on cancer.

What you can do to help

Take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement. This should include selenium as a selenium deficiency is common in AIDS patients.

Coenzyme Q10 deficiency is believed to be one of the causative factors in the development of AIDS and it is recommended that you take 200mg daily.

Magnesium and vitamin A as well as vitamin C will help ease symptoms and may slow or halt the development of the disease.

Increase your intake of yogurt as the acidophilus will encourage the growth of healthy bacteria which assist in the fight against invaders.

The herbs outlined above will assist in boosting the immune system.

References

Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

Shaw, N. 2002, Herbalism. Element

Tyler, Y. E. 1993, The Honest Herbal: A Sensible Guide to the Use of Herbs and Related Remedies. Haworth.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.

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