The change of season often goes hand in hand with colds, flu and allergies – all compromising conditions for our immune systems. One way to take on this season? By consuming immunity-boosting plants. We have gathered herbs, veggies and more that are great health helpers.
Health warriors: immunity boosting plants
Beyond growing visually appealing garden spaces, we strive to help our gardening community to underestand the true power behind immunity-boosting plants. A garden can avail so many wonderful benefits with a few plant additions, from providing a source of vitamins, to warding off illness to being superfoods. With the right choice of vegetables, herbs and seedlings, you can create a resource-rich garden right at home.
Not only do herbs make dishes a little more hearty with flavour, but some also have great health benefits. Get the most out of them with our guide to herbs and selections like:
- Calendula – Use this flower’s petals as antiviral boosters for infections and to balance the digestive system.
- Echinacea – Its roots and extracts are used to treat infections in the respiratory tract, colds, coughs, bronchitis, and other illnesses.
- Elderberry – Consume both the dark berries and white flowers of elderberry trees for their high levels of antioxidants and vitamins that assist in boosting immune systems.
- Goldenseal – Used to treat gastrointestinal issues, inflammation, urinary tract infections, and more.
- Oregano – This herb holds more than just flavour, it also has antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
- Parsley – A wielder of vitamin C, vitamin A and minerals like iron, parsley is great as a garnish or even in juices.
- Sage – Great for inflammation of the mouth, throat and tonsils. It can be used as a mouthwash (great for mouth ulcers), gargle or tea.
- Thyme – This herb has aromatic leaves with antiseptic thymol. This antifungal property assists in treating throat and chest infections. Plus, it’s great as a tonic that strengthens the lungs and the immune system.
And don’t forget these important roots and spices:
- Garlic – Botanically a vegetable, you can consume this bulbous flowering plant either raw or lightly cooked for full benefits. It boasts manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, selenium, calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1.
- Ginger – This root is known for its compounds including gingerol, shogaols, zingiberene, and zingerone which serve as a great source of natural antioxidant, cancer-preventing, and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Turmeric – A spice derived from a root which provides benefits from its active compound, curcumin. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
How to consume herbs
Beyond their popular use as garnishes, there are three main ways you can consume herbs.
Brew (or decoction)
Approximately one cup of water should be mixed with one tablespoon of herbs (fresh leaves, flowers, or finely chopped stems and roots). Place the herbs and water in a pot, cover and bring to a simmer. For a strong brew, steep by keeping the lid on while simmering for approximately 15 – 20 minutes and stirring frequently. Strain well and drink. Your herbal tea can be stored in a glass jar in the refrigerator for no more than 24 hours.
Soak fresh herbs in either alcohol or glycerin over a few weeks to extract the active components. Tinctures are often made from cuttings including roots, stems, and flowers, and are usually taken orally under the tongue by using a dropper.
Simply put a teaspoon of dried herbs (3 teaspoons if using fresh) in a teapot and add a cup of boiling water for each measure of herb. Let it steep as you would normal tea, and enjoy!
Whenever there may be a cold on hand, citrus should never be too far away. The citrus family contains vitamin C, a nutrient that gives immune systems a boost. How? It encourages the production of white blood cells which assist in fighting infections. Explore our guide to growing citrus like lemon and orange trees. Enjoy lemon juice with hot water and honey or squeeze it over food. Eat oranges or clementines as a snack, or as a palate refresher after meals.
Apart from eating your vegetables raw, the next best ways to consume them include steaming and stir-frying. Steaming is a great choice because the nutrients are preserved without having to add any fats like oil or butter. Try making a hot pot or steam some Asian greens (like tatsoi, mizuna, and bok choy), as well as superfoods spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and carrots. The best superfood you can have? Spinach. This leafy green vegetable is a source of vitamin A, vitamin K, and essential folate (which is vitamin B-9, for red and white blood cells).
Kick your health into gear with immunity boosting plants
For information on our stock of immunity boosting plants or other plants with health benefits, contact us.
** The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only. Please always consult your healthcare professional before using or replacing any medication or supplements.**