Natural remedies, herbs and supplements can help us take charge of the day-to-day health and boost our immunity. According to Harvard Medical School, in order to function well, our immune systems require balance and harmony.
However, there is no scientific evidence that these types of natural supplements improve the immune system enough to better your odds against disease and infection. Even if consumption of a herb appears to increase the levels of antibodies in humans, there is no way yet to figure out whether this translates into improved immunity.
Lack of evidence does not imply that herbs have no positive effect on immunity. Different people respond differently to alternative treatments, so large scientific studies cannot pin point the specific benefits for individuals.
Here are some of the supplements that caught the attention of researchers with regards to their effect on immunity.
Aloe vera: There is some scientific evidence that applying aloe vera to minor burns, wounds or frostbite can be beneficial. It can also be used to treat skin inflammations when combined with hydrocortisone.
Astragalus membranes: It is sold as an immune boosting product, but the studies conducted on this plant-derived product have so far been of poor quality. Experts also suggest that the use of the product could be harmful.
Echinacea: This is another so-called immune booster whose credentials rest on poorly-executed research and studies. Echinacea is touted as a great cold preventer, but there is no credible evidence to back these claims. Moreover, it can cause serious side effects in those who are allergic.
Garlic: Garlic is a natural remedy that somewhat lives up to its hype. Researchers have found that garlic could have infection-fighting abilities. There is scientific evidence that this herb can fight against antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. However, knowledge of its benefits for our immune systems is somewhat limited.
Ginseng: This herb has been used for centuries in Asian medicine. Although some cultures swear by its immune boosting abilities, there is not enough evidence to prove it can actually help your immunity.
Probiotics: Probiotics have gained prominence in recent times as being good for your health, especially for your digestive system. Researchers have found links between probiotic bacteria and immune system health. However, consuming large quantities of probiotics is unlikely to drastically improve your immunity and there is no hard evidence of the health benefits. Consume probiotics in moderation if you do choose to have them.
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