Skip Navigation Links
 



                     


 



   
    Learn More     Subscribe    
Join Now!      Login
 
 
 
FREE HEALTH
NEWSLETTER
 
 
Ephedra Poll
Should the herb Ephedra be banned?
 
 
 
 
H
erbal Medicine
 

A Phyto-Therapeutic Approach to the Immune System

© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

From all that has been discussed, it is clear that the plant kingdom hasa major impact upon human immunity, an impact that can be worked with by the competent practitioner. There are many ideas about how this should be best approached. In the following sections I shall present ideas and theory based upon a bridging between a traditional Western European approach and insights offered by oriental medicine and pharmacological research. It is too soon in this process of cross-cultural synergy to say that the theory presented here is `the way it is', but the therapeutic suggestions are based upon clinical experience and historical precedent.

Within the context of immunity as a homeostatic whole system function, attention must also be given to general de-toxification and elimination. This in turn illuminates an herbal approach to preventive medicine and `wellness'.

One approach is that based upon the important work of ChristopherHobbs, his insights being an inspiration to this author and many other herbalist's. It identifies three relevant levels of herbal activity.
  • Deep Immune Activation
  • Surface Immune Activation
  • 'Adaptogens' or Hormonal Modulators
Deep Immune Activation
Increasing interest is being shown in plants that impact the immunological process within the tissue that mediates its work. This can be termed `Deep immune activators. As discussed above, pharmacology points to saponins and complex polysaccharides as key components in the immunological role of plants, but please remember that herbs act as biological wholes, not simply vehicles for `active ingredients'. Important immuno-modulators being introduced into western herbal practice include:
  • Astragalus membranaceous
  • Ligustrum lucidum
  • Lentinus edodes
  • Schizandra chinensis
  • Ganoderma lucidum
  • Codonopsis tangshen

In addition to specific remedies for immuno-modulation, support of bodily well being through systemic support will help homeostasis and thus the immune system. Actions and processes to take into account include:
  • Bitter tonics.
  • Alteratives/Tonics.
  • Support of elimination and detoxification through the use of appropriate actions as discussed below.

Surface Immune Activation
These are the many plants known as anti-microbials. The closer attention given to them by researchers, the greater the range of mechanism found to explain their activity. Examples include :
  • Echinacea spp.- Echinacea or Cone Flower
  • Baptisia tinctoria - Wild Indigo
  • Commiphora mol-mol - Myrrh
  • Usnea spp.- Old Man's Beard
  • Thuja occidentalis - Western Hemlock
  • Calendula officinalis - Calendula
  • Allium spp. - Garlic & Onion

Hormonal Modulators
Remedies in this group work though some hormonal modulation of immune response.

- Adaptogens working via the adrenals & the general adaptation syndrome.
  • Eleutherococcus senticosus - Siberian Ginseng
  • Panax spp. - Korean & American Ginseng

- Other Endocrinological herbs (see below)
Add your comment      
About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it with hope, he as an individual had to be whole within himself....more
 
Share   Facebook   Buzz   Delicious   Digg   Twitter  
 
 
 
 
 
 
From Our Sponsor
 
 
 
 
 
 
Featured Events
Wellness Inventory Certification Training - Level I
     February 18-May 20, 2014
     Los Angeles, CA USA
 
Additional Calendar Links
 
Wellness, Sensing, dimension!

Search   
Home       Wellness       Health A-Z       Alternative Therapies       Find a Practitioner       Healthy Products       Bookstore       Wellness Inventory
Healthy Kitchen       Healthy Woman       Healthy Man       Healthy Child       Healthy Aging       Wellness Center       Nutrition Center       Fitness Center
Free Newsletter      What Doctor's Don't Tell You      Stevia.com      Discount Lab Tests      First Aid      Global Health Calendar      Privacy Policy     Contact Us

Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.