The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.
The immune system is a complex system responsible for protecting the body
from infections and the development of cancer. Enhancing immune function
is the most important way to prevent colds, flu, other infections and cancer.
The immune system consists of the lymphatic vessels and nodes, the spleen,
thymus and tonsils, the white blood cells, other specialized cells and
a variety of chemical factors. Enhancing or restoring optimal immune function
requires a comprehensive approach. Understanding the factors which can
contribute to enhanced or depressed immune function is important to optimizing
immune function. Stress is directly related to depressed immune function
since it increases the output of adrenal hormones which inhibit white blood
cells and shrink the thymus gland. Stress also stimulates the sympathetic
nervous system, the immune system functions better under the stimulation
of the other part of the autonomic nervous system, the parasympathetic
system. Positive emotions have been shown to enha nce immune system function,
also sufficient sleep, regular exercise, and normal weight. Nutritional
factors needed for a healthy immune system include adequate protein, essential
fatty acids, vitamins A,
and all of the Bís, the minerals zinc
and selenium and carotenes.
Sugar and alcohol both depress immune function. Breastmilk is vital for
the optimal development of the immune system. Breastfed babies have fewer
infections and allergies and larger thymus glands than their formula fed
in Echinacea are known to stimulate
the immune system. Liquid extract- 1/2-1 teaspoon one to three times a
day. Dry herb in capsules-500-1000 mg one to three times a day. Standardized
extract (3.5% echinacosides)- 150-300 mg one to three times a day
Other herbs- astragalus, licorice, goldenseal,
* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate.
It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.