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These Herbs and Spices Will Strengthen Your Immune System

When it comes to fighting viruses, practicing good hygiene, keeping your house disinfected, and social distancing is key. However, experts suggest that boosting your immune system may also give you an upper hand in these uncertain times. While there’s no magic pill that can prevent colds, flu, and viruses, certain herbs and spices have always had their place in boosting immunity. Why not keep these herbs and spices in your pantry to help ward off illness?

Ginger

Ginger has been used for centuries to boost immunity and help speed up recovery from illness. A study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine reviewed the current evidence on ginger and its effects as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative agent. The study concluded that ginger could help treat a wide range of diseases through immunity and anti-inflammatory responses. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties have been shown to reduce muscle pain after intense physical activity. Additionally, ginger’s active compounds gingerol, shogaol, and paradol have shown some anticancer potential. Research also indicates that ginger may help improve cardiovascular ailments, diabetes, and gastrointestinal health.

Ginger tea, anyone?

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 min

Ingredients:

  • 1-inch fresh organic ginger root — unpeeled  
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed organic lemon
  • 1 Tbsp raw, unpasteurized honey

Instructions:

  1. Add ginger root to boiling water. Let steep for a minute.
  2. Add lemon juice and honey. Stir and enjoy!

Panax Ginseng

Panax ginseng is one of the most commonly used and highly researched types of ginseng. Native to China, Korea, and Russia, it’s been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat weakness and fatigue. Often touted for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, numerous studies have shown how ginseng may also help regulate blood sugar levels, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, and high blood pressure. And when it comes to the immune system, research suggests that Ginseng may boost immunity, thus improving resistance to illness or viruses. 

Chamomile

Chamomile has numerous medicinal uses.  It’s been widely used for centuries for many ailments including:

  • Hay fever
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Menstrual problems
  • Insomnia
  • Ulcers
  • Wound healing
  • Gastrointestinal ailments
  • Rheumatic pain
  • Hemorrhoids 

Studies also suggest that sipping on chamomile tea may actually boost immunity, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties.

Cinnamon

There are two types of cinnamon: Cassia cinnamon, most commonly used, and Ceylon cinnamon, the higher quality of the two. Both cassia and Ceylon are healthy and tasty. However, if consumed in larger amounts, it’s best to stick to the more expensive, higher quality type — Ceylon — since cassia contains a lot of coumarin, which can be toxic in large quantities. 

Traditionally, cinnamon has been used for inflammatory, respiratory, digestive, and gynecological ailments. By adding a teaspoon of cinnamon to your coffee grounds each morning, you can give your immunity a little boost.

Turmeric

India has known for centuries what Americans are just now realizing…turmeric taken fresh or ground has amazing anti-inflammatory properties that can boost immunity. In fact, beyond its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, is also known for its antioxidant, antiviral, and antifungal abilities. Here’s how to take it.

A little sprinkle won’t do it. To reap the benefits, you need to take 500 to 1500 mg of turmeric per day. Some prefer supplement form, but you can also try Golden milk (a creamy, comforting turmeric drink) to strengthen your immunity.  Note; according to research, curcumin doesn’t do such a great job of absorbing into the bloodstream on its own. So, to aid absorption, you’ll need to add a pinch of black pepper. The main active compound in pepper is piperine, a substance that naturally enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000 percent.  

Golden milk

Serves: 2

Prep time: 5 min

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut or almond milk. 
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp raw organic honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Add milk, coconut oil, and honey to a saucepan.
  2. Add turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper. Gently whisk over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Pour into two mugs and serve immediately.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper has been used for thousands of years in both food and medicine. The medicinal benefits come from capsaicin, the main compound responsible for the heat in cayenne. Research published in The Journal of Immunology suggests that capsaicin causes neurogenic inflammation, a process that helps tissue heal and repair. This spicy compound also helps with pain in the body and provides anti-inflammatory activities. 

Cayenne shot, anyone?

A cayenne elixir or booster shot is often taken to help fight colds and viruses. Some say it even prevents hangovers and provides a rush of energy. But it’s not for the faint of heart.

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 min.

Ingredients:

  • 1 organic lemon, washed and sliced in half
  • 1 organic orange, washed and sliced in half
  • 1 2-inch piece organic fresh ginger, washed well.
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions:

  1. Add lemon, orange pieces, and ginger through a juicer.  Strain the juice through a mesh strainer.
  2. Alternatively, you can juice the fruit with a hand juicer and grate the ginger with a fine grater, pressing to squeeze out the juice. Then combine fruit juices and ginger.
  3. Add the cayenne pepper into the juice. Pour into a shot glass and drink back quickly.

Disclaimer: “None of this has been proven to prevent, treat or remedy COVID-19, these are just things to consider”

-The UpWellness Team

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