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Posts Tagged "immune system"

Trial Finds Echinacea Effective

The largest ever clinical trial about the effectiveness of the herbal remedy Echinacea has found that it can prevent against colds. This is of course not breaking news, as many herbalists and complementary therapy practitioners have been recommending this herbal remedy for years. This study found that Echinacea is more effective for people that are prone to colds or those with a weakened immune system. The trial was carried by experts from the Cardiff University Common Cold Centre on 750 adults. The results also found that this herbal remedy could reduce the number of recurrent colds by 60 per cent each year. This study also found that taking Echinacea can reduce the amount of paracetamol that patients take when ill. This is a major advantage, as regular dosing up on paracetamol can damage the liver. This study was part funded by A Vogel, manufacturers of Echinaforce, and was published in peer-reviewed journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  The main aim of the study was to test the safety of this herb. No side effects were observed in the test group. But like all medicines (conventional and herbal), they all have the capacity to cause adverse reactions. As Echinacea works by stimulating the immune system, it should not be taken by people who suffer with auto-immune conditions such as thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis and type1 diabetes. The study group were prescribed 25 drops of Echinaforce or a placebo with water three times a day for four months. The Echinaforce group suffered with 149 bouts of illness compared with 188 in the placebo group. A more significant statistic was the number of days spent having flu was reduced from 850 in the placebo group to 672 in the treatment group. The incidence of recurring infections was also reduced by nearly 60 per cent. Dr Margaret Richie from University of London, who wasn’t involved in the study, said, ‘The clinical trial indicates that echinacea supports low-running immune systems but does not over stimulate well-supported ones.’ The largest ever clinical trial about the effectiveness of the herbal remedy Echinacea has found that it can prevent against colds. This is of course not breaking news, as many herbalists and complementary therapy practitioners have been...

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Caprylic Acid

Caprylic acid is naturally found in coconuts and breast milk. This fatty acid is also found in palm oil. Caprylic acid has been reported to have many health benefits from weight loss to treating Candida Albican infections (thrush). Candida, also known as yeast, can grow throughout the body, causing skin rashes, lethargy, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating and depression.  Yeast infections can be triggered by various factors ranging from stress, excessive alcohol consumption through to antibiotic use. Broad spectrum antibiotics, such as amoxicillin, which is regularly prescribed for chest infections, work by killing the bacteria causing the infection, but they also kill the “good” bacteria that are responsible for preventing the overgrowth of Candida. If you have been prescribed an antibiotic, you should take a good quality probiotic during and after finishing the course to help prevent Candida overgrowth. Caprylic acid is thought to exert its anti-fungal action by breaking the cell walls of the candida yeast, and therefore destroying the cell. As caprylic acid is fat soluble, it should be taken with a dietary fat such as butter, coconut oil, omega 6 or omega 3 oils. This supplement is available in capsule form and is best taken with or after food. Another way to supplement with caprylic acid is to consume coconut oil regularly. This oil is very good in cooking or taken neat (2 tablespoons once a day). Coconut oil is a rich source of MCT (medium chain triglycerides), which are easily digestible. MCT’s are made up of lauric, caprylic, capric and caproic acid. Lauric acid is reported to have anti-microbial properties.     Caprylic acid can also be taken to help maintain an acidic environment in the stomach.  The stomach need to be slightly acidic to be healthy and to fight off infections such as...

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Health Benefits of Papaya

This fruit is traditionally grown in tropical countries around the world, but the Papaya was believed to have originated from Central America. Papaya was called “fruit of the angels” by the Conquistadors due to its heavenly taste. Papaya’s can be grown all year round and are available in many groceries and supermarkets. Papaya is often referred to as a superfood, as it has many health benefits. Papaya’s have traditionally been used to support the digestive system. Papaya fruit contains an enzyme similar to bromelain, called papain.This enzyme helps to breaks down protein, which makes it an excellent digestive aide. Papain, like bromelain is also helpful in reducing inflammation and in treating allergies. There are many health benefits of Papaya, and it is a very underused fruit. It contains many essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin C. Papaya is also a good source of fibre, which helps to reduce cholesterol levels. Together, these properties make papaya a good natural remedy for promoting the health of the cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems. Papaya has been touted as an anti-ageing food. This may bebecause this fruit promotes better digestion, and helps the body to absorbvital nutrients. Papaya also contains beta-carotene which can help to preventprostate cancer in men. This fruit is also a good source of lutein, which havebeen found to protect the eyes from macular degeneration. Papaya has also been found to be helpful in diabetes,although more research is required. Studies have found that papaya contains soluble fibre that helps to control blood sugar levels by slowing sugar absorption. This is promising as people who may be prone to developing diabetes can include papaya as part of their daily diet to help prevent the illness. In summary, this fruit has many health benefits and shouldform part of your diet. Alongside being a health food, it is a delicious fruitthat can also been made into a...

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Natural Remedies for Glandular Fever

There are a number of natural supplements, herbs and homeopathic remedies that can help you recover from glandular fever. So if you are looking for natural remedies for glandular fever, read on… Vitamin C has anti-viral properties and is essential for your treatment. Many preparations of Vitamin C are not easily absorbed in the body. Vitamin C in its ester form is generally regarded as the best absorbed form. The absorption of Vitamin C is increased when taken with Vitamin E. Vitamin A is also important for the immune system, and it can also increase the absorption of Vitamin C. A good quality multivitamin is also recommended as glandular fever results in the depletion of many vitamins and minerals. The following minerals are especially important: Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc. Probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus provide good bacteria which protect the digestive system from infections. Research has shown that probiotics may boost the immune system by stimulating the immune cells that line the gastro-intestinal tract. There are various herbal remedies that can be taken to support the adrenal glands, and help provide you with more energy. Herbal remedies for the liver will also help you recover faster and support your immune system. The liver is often affected in glandular fever, so it is important not to ignore this organ in your treatment. Milk Thistle (Carduus Marianus) is one of the most popular herbal remedies. This remedy is very safe and can be taken for up to three months. It is best taken in the liquid form. The standard dose is 10-15 drops twice a day in a little water. Most health foods stores and pharmacies stock this product. Milk Thistle helps to support your liver, and also helps to regenerate this organ, by stimulating cell growth. If you are taking regular medication, please check with your GP or pharmacist before taking the following herbal remedies. Herbs such as Echinacea, Golden Seal (Hydrastis) and Olive Leaf Extract have anti-viral properties. These can be taken in combination or as single herbs. You can take these daily for up to one month. Astragalus and Rhodiola are herbal remedies that are known as adaptogens. Adaptogenic herbs help to support the body through times...

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Natural Treatment of Glandular Fever – Part 1

Glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis) is caused by the Epstein Barr virus. This virus usually occurs in teenagers and young adults, although older people can develop this illness. The general symptoms include a sore throat, swollen glands, headache, fever and extreme exhaustion. It may initially seem like a bout of flu, but the symptoms can continue for up to several months. Glandular fever is often called the “kissing disease” as it spreads from person to person via saliva. The infection is also spread by airborne droplets. The liver can also become affected and enlarged. Some sufferers also develop a mild bout of hepatitis or jaundice. As glandular fever is a virus, antibiotics inappropriate. There is no conventional treatment for glandular fever, apart from bed rest. Fortunately, there are a number of natural remedies that you can take to help improve your energy, and speed up your recovery.  Diet is also very important. Certain foods should be cut of your diet, and other included.  You should cut out alcohol and caffeine from your diet as these will deplete your minerals and vitamins stores from your body. Foods to eat. Plenty of fruits and vegetables. Foods that are especially good for you include: cabbage, artichokes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, papaya, pineapples, broccoli and carrots. Garlic, onions, ginger and turmeric all have ant-viral properties, so should be included in your daily diet.  You should also include good quality high protein foods to your diet. Good vegetarian sources of protein are lentils, pulses and beans. These foods are high in B vitamins and magnesium which are important in glandular fever. Live yoghurts help to re-balance the gut flora in the stomach, and will support your immune system. Drink plenty of water, as this will help to flush out toxins and support your immune system. Herbal teas made from ginger and liquorice are good for glandular fever. Ginger helps to support the liver, and liquorice helps to support the adrenal glands. Glandular fever causes both of these organs to “burnt out”. Foods to cut out  Foods that contain high amounts of sugar should be cut out as they lower the immune system and increase levels of exhaustion. These foods also deplete vital vitamins and minerals from your...

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Zinc: Essential for Health

  Zinc is a very important mineral that is essential for optimal health. It has many health functions, ranging from supporting the immune system, reproductive organs to skin health. Zinc has also been found to improve mental health and reduce depression. Zinc is a trace mineral, meaning that we need to obtain it from our diet. Due to intensive farming methods, the levels of zinc in the soil have been greatly reduced, meaning that more people than ever are now deficient in this vital nutrient.  There are however certain foods that have high levels of zinc. Oysters are the richest food source of zinc. Other foods that have high amounts of zinc are shellfish, red meat, pumpkin seeds, lentils, sunflower seeds, ginger root, pecans, and brazil nuts. Other good sources are whole wheat, rye, oats, peanuts, lima beans, almonds, walnuts, and buckwheat. A deficiency in zinc can show up in many symptoms. Examples are hair loss, loss of taste or smell, reduced ability to fight infections or poor night vision. Several studies have found that daily doses of zinc caused dramatic improvements in the function of the immune system, especially the T-cells (they help to fight off infections).Taking addition zinc is very important for people over 60 years, as the body’s ability to produce T-cells deteriorates after this age.  It is also a very important supplement for men as zinc is very important for maintaining a healthy prostate gland. The usual dose of zinc is between 10 and 15mg a day. You should only take a higher dose under the supervision from your GP or...

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Probiotics

Probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are beneficial bacteria that are normally present in the digestive tract. Probiotics are naturally found in the body and they have a number of important functions in the body. They are essential for proper digestion, preventing overgrowth of yeast and other harmful bacteria. Probiotics also improve the absorption of vitamins, especially the B vitamins, and minerals into the bloodstream. Probiotics also support the immune system. They do this by lining the intestinal wall with beneficial bacteria, which prevents the absorption of harmful bacteria and viruses into the body. These beneficial bacteria “crowd out” the bad bacteria and help to maintain a healthy immune system. As the digestive tract plays a major role in boosting the immune system, it is very important to maintain a healthy balance of probiotics in the gut. There are several factors that can cause the levels of probiotics decrease: Ageing Stress Medicines such as antibiotics and Non Steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAID’s) such as Ibuprofen, Diclofenac and Aspirin. Travelling abroad Constipation A diet high in meat and fats Smoking and alcohol Antibiotics kill both the “bad” and “good” bacteria, which leads to a decrease in the levels of probiotics in the gut. This is why people who have taken antibiotics experience side effects such as diarrhoea and thrush. It is very important to take a good quality probiotic during and after finishing the course of antibiotics, to replenish all the good bacteria that have been destroyed. Probiotics can be taken to help with several health conditions. These are just a few conditions that can be helped with additional probiotics in the diet: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Constipation & Diarrhoea Bloating Eczema Food Intolerances or allergies Low immune function Thrush Indigestion and heartburn...

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Take Garlic to Boost the Immune System

Garlic (Allium Sativum) is a member of the Lily family which is grown all over the world. There are a number of health benefits related to garlic that have been documented. Research has shown garlic to have anti-bacterial action, lower cholesterol levels, support the cardiovascular system, improve circulation, and to boost the immune system. For best results, garlic should be eaten raw, as the cooking process can destroy some of the natural activity. The major compound in garlic is allicin, which is thought to be responsible for the majority of the health benefits. Allicin is responsible for the strong smell that is associated with crushed or chopped garlic. This smell is a good indicator of the health benefits of garlic, i.e. the stronger the smell, the more health benefits. Incorporating garlic into your diet is a simple and very effective way of warding off colds and both supporting & boosting your immune system throughout the winter months. We hope you found our article “take garlic to boost the immune system” useful. Please let us know by rating it above....

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Probiotics

Probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are beneficial bacteria that are normally present in the digestive tract. Probiotics are naturally found in the body and they have a number of important functions in the body. They are essential for proper digestion, preventing overgrowth of yeast and other harmful bacteria. Probiotics also improve the absorption of vitamins, especially the B vitamins, and minerals into the bloodstream. Probiotics also support the immune system. They do this by lining the intestinal wall with beneficial bacteria, which prevents the absorption of harmful bacteria and viruses into the body. These beneficial bacteria “crowd out” the bad bacteria and help to maintain a healthy immune system. As the digestive tract plays a major role in boosting the immune system, it is very important to maintain a healthy balance of probiotics in the gut. There are several factors that can cause the levels of probiotics decrease: Ageing Stress Medicines such as antibiotics and Non Steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) such as Ibuprofen, Diclofenac and Aspirin. Travelling abroad Constipation A diet high in meat and fats Smoking and alcohol Antibiotics kill both the “bad” and “good” bacteria, which leads to a decrease in the levels of probiotics in the gut. This is why people who have taken antibiotics experience side effects such as diarrhoea and thrush. It is very important to take a good quality probiotic during and after finishing the course of antibiotics, to replenish all the good bacteria that have been destroyed. Probiotics can be taken to help with several health conditions. These are a few conditions that can be helped with additional probiotics: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Constipation & Diarrhoea Bloating Eczema Food Intolerances or allergies Low immune function Thrush Indigestion and...

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Natural Remedies to Support a Child’s Immune System

Natural remedies can play a vital role in maintaining and boosting a child’s immune system. Nursery and school are full of bugs that usually get passed around the class. Natural remedies such as vitamins and homeopathy can help to strengthen your child’s natural defences to these bugs. Homeopathy is a therapy that works to support and strengthen the immune system. This is usually done by giving constitutional homeopathic remedies that are specific to the child. The remedies are prescribed after a consultation with a qualified homeopath. The aim of this treatment is to support the child’s immune response to any illness. These constitutional homeopathic remedies are safe and non toxic. The homeopath will usually ask questions about the health of the parent’s, the child’s sleep patterns, personality, and the general appearance of the child. Homeopathy can also be used after vaccination in order to help with the “detox” process. You should consult a qualified homeopath or obtain advice from a homeopathic pharmacy. Nutrition is very important in the health of child. In babies, this will mainly come in the form of breast feeding, so the mother’s nutrition is very important. Breast milk provides babies with all the antibodies and nutrients that are required for their developing immune systems. If you are breast feeding your baby, a diet containing plenty of fruit and vegetables is very important to maintain the health of your own immune system. Research has shown that breasting mothers who supplement with probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus help to provide immune support to the child. Essential Fatty Acids are also important in supporting the immune system of your child. This can be given in the form of chewable capsules or liquids that are tailored for young children. It is a good idea to supplement your child’s diet with a suitable multiple vitamin preparation. This ensures that your child is receiving the adequate amounts of vitamins and nutrients to help support their developing immune systems. Young children should be encouraged to be active and start exercising from an early age. This will help to support a healthy immune system. Regular exercise also helps to prevent the development of obesity, which is becoming a common problem amongst children...

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What causes allergies?

What causes allergies? An allergy is occurs when the body’s immune system reacts and produces antibodies in response to an allergen, even though it may be harmless. It produces the antibody Immunoglobulin E (IgE) to fight the allergen. When the body comes into contact with this allergen again, the body will produce these antibodies, IgE, in larger quantities than normal. This in turn causes a release of Histamine to fight off the allergen. The most common allergens are: ·         House dust ·         Pollens ·         Certain metals (especially nickel) ·         Some food additives ·         Medications (such as Penicillin, Aspirin) ·         Foods (such as milk, seafood, soya, wheat, eggs, nuts) ·         Latex ·         Animal Fur ·         Washing up powder / liquid ·         Moulds ·         Bee / Wasp stings Some people are more prone to acquiring allergies than others as it is hereditary in some cases.  Children who are exposed to pollution also have a greater risk of developing...

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