The Best Herbal Immune Stimulants for Cold & Flu

The Best Herbal Immune Stimulants for Cold & Flu

There’s a head cold and cough waiting at every gas station pump and pin pad across the land. A strong immune system is adept at navigating pathogenic obstacles, but some scenarios call for a boost, herbal-style. When I know I’ve been exposed to a cold or the flu, I don’t waste a moment in reaching for my tried-and-true immune stimulating herbs.

When to Use Immune Stimulants

Immune stimulants—also called immunostimulants—help the body to resist illness after being exposed to a pathogen and during the initial stages of an infection. Immunostimulants work through augmenting our bodies’ innate antimicrobial efforts, primarily through affecting white blood cell activity.

This class of herbs can also be called on to stimulate immune activity throughout the duration of an infectious illness, which ultimately can help a person get over the sickness more quickly. Consider calling on immunostimulants if you are:

  • Flying on an airplane

  • Caring for a sick family member

  • Attending a four-year old’s birthday party in January

  • Feeling the first signs of a cold

  • Fighting an infectious illness, like a cold or the flu

  • Immunostimulating herbs have an immediate but short-lived effect, and thus need to be re-administered frequently to maintain their effectiveness. In my experience, higher doses of these herbs are often needed to treat infection.

    Foundational Self Care is Essential

    Remember, herbs are handy allies, but it’s all too easy to “prop ourselves up” with immune stimulants while we continue to neglect the care of our body, emotions, or spirit. If we consistently ignore the basics of good sleep, nutrition, hydration, and lifestyle, we have missed the point.

    Play Smart, People

    Please note that this article is introductory in scope and doesn’t fully cover each medicinal. If you plan to forage any of these herbs, you’ll need to seek out identification tips. You’ll also need to learn foraging ethics and guidance before you harvest any plant from the wild! There are deadly poisonous plants out there, so proper identification is paramount.

    See our blog articles on Foraging and Wildcrafting for more guidance.

    Safety First: Learn When to Seek Medical Care

    Also, it’s important to realize that herbs aren’t always the only support you might need to combat infections. Antibiotics and conventional medical care have their place, especially with babies, young children, and elders, as well as in the case of serious infections.

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