Yay, a picture story! This is a slide I just showed to my last DIY Herbalism class, when we dug into Immune health and the herbs that act on it.
See, what we’ve got here is a hole in the skin up top, bad guys getting in, the first line of defense trying to contain them, and notifying the rest of the immune cells to the problem. This is a super simple, easy way to see what your immune system is doing against invaders.
Much of the time, when it comes to herbs and the immune system, you’ll hear people talk about “immune stimulants” that really get this process moving in overtime. ZoomZoom the defense cells arrive and Kapow! They knock out the baddies, regroup, and speed off to the next Bat Call. It’s a good visual.
But I like to question everything, like the assumption that we even have enough good guys to go around in the first place, and what happens if we don’t.
(In addition, this kind of Rapid Response team only functions on the say-so of your Stress Levels. Too much stress will actually shut down your immune system- when you’re trying to outrun the Sabre Toothed Squirrel your body doesn’t want to waste resources on a paltry cut finger. And it expects to quit running soon, either because you got away or you didn’t, so we’re not made for the constant high-stress environment we live in today and don’t have a mechanism to keep immune function under chronic stress.)
So here’s another story.
Imagine you’re cooking pasta and the water level gets a bit low. The water gets thick, sort of gloppy, the noodles aren’t circulating as much as they should to cook evenly. What do you do? You wouldn’t turn up the heat under the pot to get the noodles to cook as much as possible in the remaining water, would you? No! You’d add water to the pot so the system works as it’s supposed to.
The same is true of the immune system. Before turning up the heat and stimulating function, we’ve got to make sure we have plenty of immune cells to go around in the first place- fill up the system, if you will (bonus points for actually adding water, those cells float!)
“But hoooow?” I hear some of you wail. “I want my immune cells nooooow!” OK, Veruca, we’re coming.
If you wade into the crazy world of the internet you’ll find LOTS of head-scratching references to remedies you’ve not only never heard of, but ones that I’ve never heard of either. It’s just not helpful to tell people to find True Indigo Root, or patented TCM formulas, or dozens of other specialized and NOT local-to-whereever-you-are plants.
Instead, let’s focus on what we CAN do because these are things people have ALWAYS done. These are all age-old techniques for building the robustness and vitality of your entire self, including your immune system.
Take a deep breath, we'll get through this together
Fun Fact: I'm an herbalist and a movement coach. Not a doctor, or a pharmacist, and not pretending to be one on TV.
This is a public space, so my writing reflects my experiences and I try to stay general enough so it might relate to you. This does not constitute medical advice, and I encourage you to discuss concerns with your doctor. Remember, however, that the final say in your wellness decisions are always yours- you have the power to choose, you are the boss of you.
And, some of my posts may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through them I'll earn a few cents. Thank you for supporting my work.
This website is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not medical, mental health or healthcare advice. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose, treat, heal, cure or prevent any illness, medical condition or mental or emotional condition. Working with us is not a guarantee of any results. Paula Billig owns all copyrights to the materials presented here unless otherwise noted.