Autoimmunity is another name for an over-reactive immune system. It is the inability of the body to recognize its own cells, down to the submolecular levels. This results in the body attacking its own constituents leading to diseases known in medical circles as autoimmune diseases. Correct immune responses are crucial for immune system health in vertebrates so that the body does not destroy its own healthy cells. Some commonly known examples of autoimmune diseases are diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and rheumatoid arthritis.
One of the biggest challenges that the immune system faces is the rampant practice of using the antibiotic alternative whenever a disease is spotted. Allopathic antibiotics are based on a solitary compound, which means:
- They cannot differentiate between disease causing bacteria and bacteria that are actually beneficial for the body. These antibiotics will destroy the bacteria in the intestines useful for the easy processing of solid wastes as easily as they will destroy bacteria.
- They can be broken by bacteria and used for their own growth and multiplication. Over time these bacteria develop resistance and the antibiotic becomes ineffective against them.
Herbal antibiotics can prove to be a better alternative because of their complex compounds and multiple nutrients. They carry a large advantage over the allopathic antibiotics that should be used only in emergencies.
This immune system is a new frontier of study and researchers have not been able to pinpoint the mechanism that makes the immune system go awry. It is, however, suggested that certain drugs and chemical agents may be responsible for the onset of autoimmune diseases. Overexposure to pesticides and accumulation of toxins in the body may also induce autoimmunity.
All of this evidence directly hints that a natural diet and herbs for immune system can play an important role in preventing autoimmunity.
- Astragalus membranaceus is a tonic and a medicinal plant. Known as Huang-Qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it activates the natural defense mechanism of the body by increasing the numbers and activity of white blood cells (WBC’s) - cells that engulf and digest bacteria and fungi to prevent disease.
- Andrographis herb is another herb that stimulates production of antibodies and WBC’s.
- Usnea is actually two plants in one. The inner part is a powerful immune stimulant and is known to be as powerful as penicillin against certain strains of bacteria.
- Mushrooms and other fungi have long been used in traditional therapies to fight disease. Shiitake mushrooms have been the mainstay of Chinese medicine to mobilize the immune system. Ganoderma mushrooms, in addition to immune boosting properties, have been shown to breakdown and dissolve tumors.
- Citrus bioflavonoid compounds, actually famous for their antioxidant properties, help in easy elimination. The body perceives them as foreign substances and gears up to eliminate them. The uric acid level in the body increases, which helps in elimination of mutagens and carcinogens along with solid waste in the intestines.
- Echinacea is probably the most famous herb for strengthening a weakened immune system.
- Garlic cloves, selenium, zinc, colloidal silver and Vitamins C and E supplements are other natural products and herbs that can improve immune system health.
At the same time, diet plays an important role in promoting disease and improper diet affects immune system health. A report from John Hopkins Institute reveals that "sugar is a cancer feeder" and suggests natural substitutes like honey or molasses instead, although in small amounts. Herbs and natural foods are at last getting the recognition that they deserve.