Phytotherapy, i.e. the use of active ingredients extracted from plants for the purpose of well-being, is one of the gifts that Mother Nature offers us to help us face the challenges that our daily life sometimes offers us. In this period, it becomes more than ever an important ally, useful and effective by virtue of immunostimulants and antivirals properties that present some plants.
Numerous plants have the ability to stimulate our immune system, and are able to strengthen our natural defenses against the attacks of any pathogens, be they viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc. At this moment, this stimulating action is useful for everyone, given that strengthening immunity is the basis of any response to external aggression.
The other property of the plants that comes in handy at this time is the antiviral one. In fact, some phytoextracts, once taken, help our cells to counteract the action of viruses more effectively. That is, they strengthen defenses specifically against viruses, preventing their proliferation.
Among the plants that have both these properties, the best known is certainly the Echinacea. Immunostimulant, antiviral anti-inflammatory, it exerts its efficacy at its best at the onset of the first symptoms even of simple colds and flu, but it can be used in prevention, by reducing the dosage.
This preventive use in particular is useful now and in every situation in which you need extra help.
Two other plants capable of stimulating the immune system are Astragalus and Eleutherococcus. Both of these plants are also called “adaptogens“, because they improve the individual’s adaptability and endurance in conditions of prolonged stress, be it physical, psychic or emotional.
Astragalus is a remedy also used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is ideal for prevention, but not for the acute phase and its tropism is purely respiratory. Astragalus is also an adaptogen meaning that it helps recovery when there is immune weakness and poor resistance to infectious agents, with a tendency to ulcerations, edemas and abscesses that are slow to drain.
Eleutherococcus is the adaptogen par excellence and its tropism is precisely on the immune aspect, in the sense that it normalizes the immune response when it is altered by a condition of chronic stress. Chronic stress can in fact alter sleep, pressure, heart rate and even go as far as causing one increased susceptibility to infections. The Eleutheroccoccus is useful in this case to normalize the body balance, also including the immune response.
Another plant that boasts immunostimulating and antiviral properties is Lapacho or Pau d’Arco. Originally from South America, the extract of this bark is an excellent antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent. It is also immunostimulant
and immunomodulating and compared to the plants seen above it is also a purifying plant, in the sense that it strengthens the body by working mainly on the liver and lymphatic system. In fact, it is known that the human body has defense mechanisms, but very often these do not function optimally due to the intoxication state in which it pours. Lapacho promotes a deep detox process, which starts from the liver and reaches the lymphatic pathways and skin. In this way the whole organism works better and is therefore more resistant to any external attacks.
These additions in our daily life can be associated with both aromatherapy and other remedies, such as trace elements, which we will discuss in a future post.
This article is written by Elisabetta Torricelli, naturopath and owner of the herbal medicine “L’Antologia” in via Molino delle Armi 3 in Milan: https://www.facebook.com/erboristerialantologia/
Elisabetta offers naturopathy consultancy, and sends herbal products by courier to Milan and on request to other areas of Italy.