Boost Yours

Nourish the Immune System

Often we take our bodies' natural resistance to disease for granted - that is, until we get sick. In our busy world it can be difficult to properly take care of ourselves - eat nourishing food, get enough restful sleep, take time for ourselves. The stress of everyday life can take its toll on us, and when we are in a weakened state we become susceptible to illness.

It is wise to nourish our immune systems before we get sick so that in times of distress we can bring our bodies back to health more quickly. In addition to striving to achieve a healthy diet, adequate sleep and regular exercise, there are many wonderful herbs that can build up our immune systems in different ways.

Boost your Immunity at WomenFest Saturday, April 26

My fellow herbalist, Nicole Rubin, and I will be giving a seminar entitled "Elderberry, Echinacea, Vitamin C, It's Thyme to Boost Your Immunity" at the 2014 Howard County WomenFest on Saturday, April 26. Come and enjoy an entire day dedicated to women's health (men welcome, too!), featuring free health screenings, exhibitors, and informative seminars. Ours starts at 12:15.
Be sure to visit WomenFest and say hello! In addition to doing the seminar I will also be staffing the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) exhibitor table. I'd love to see you, answer any questions you may have, or just chat about your favorite herbs.

Featured Herb - Garlic

Who doesn't love garlic's distinctive taste? A hardy bulb in the lily family, when it comes to protecting against infection, it doesn't come much better than Allium sativum. Though you must be patient, growing garlic is pretty easy. Check out the U. of Md Extension GrowItEatIt blog (on which I'm an occasional contributor) for a nice description of when/how to grow.
But since it's several months until we can plant garlic again (plant in the fall for a summer harvest), let's talk about the wonderful therapeutic properties of garlic. First and foremost, garlic is highly antimicrobial. Studies have shown direct activity against various bacteria (including E. coli and Salmonella spp), fungi, and parasites. Indirectly, active constituents of garlic have also been shown to activate macrophage activity as well as inhibit macrophage apoptosis. In English, that basically means that garlic enhances the function of our own immune cells that attack foreign invaders.


It's easy to just throw a little garlic into stir frys, soups, pastas, or on breads and pizzas. Or take some time to roast whole cloves for a fragrant, yummy treat. However you prepare garlic, be sure to crush or at least bruise it first. Doing so releases allicin, the primary active component in garlic with all those wonderfully healthful properties.

Oh, and by the way garlic is also great for cardiovascular health, is high in anti-oxidants, and provides anti-inflammatory action - among other wonderful health benefits too numerous to mention.

What's not to love?

Brought to you by:

Donna Koczaja, MS Therapeutic Herbalism, Master Gardener

Herbal Clinic hours: Tuesdays: 2 - 8; Alternate Sundays 10 - 4