There is no doubt that our immune systems face a huge challenge in today’s society. The fast pace of life in a global village means that viruses have much more opportunity to wreak havoc and multiply readily spreading untold misery of coughs, colds, upset tummies, aches, pains and fatigue. Autoimmune problems seem to be on the rise and cancer statistics highlight the number of people now facing this modern health challenge.
At Health Food and More we sell a lot of remedies over-the-counter to try and help our customers maintain robust immune health. From vitamin D supplementation to Echinacea, from extra vitamin C through to Olive Leaf, there are a number of tried and tested natural ways to give your system a boost.
We also gets lots of enquiries about natural treatments for more serious immune related complaints that would warrant professional help. The trained staff team can give excellent advice about the safest and most effective products to use if it is appropriate to self treat and will also let you know when it might be more appropriate to book in to the herbal clinic for a consultation.
People tend to come in for an appointment to address their immunity when problems have become entrenched and just won’t budge with simple remedies, when there is a more serious diagnosis, when infections seem to be happening one after another and when recovery is slow or even stuck. Its not unusual for Medical Herbalists to be prescribing for post viral fatigue and low resistance, inflammatory problems, chronic coughs and sinus problems, candida infections and auto-immune related illnesses. Prescribed herbs may provide a potent tonic and restorative effect that may bring about significant improvement in well being and of course when prescribed by a Medical Herbalist are safe to use alongside conventional medical treatments.
There are few antiviral medicines in conventional medicine, whereas a Consultant Medical Herbalist has a large number of herbs that can support immune well being. As well as direct immune modulating remedies, there are also a number of adaptogenic herbs that aid recovery and herbal antiseptics that act as expectorants and mucus membrane tonics. Whilst taking a detailed history a Medical Herbalist will enquire about gut health, general resistance, past medical history, immune trends and your nutritional status. Throughout your hour-long first appointment they spend time trying to get a clear picture of your health from a holistic perspective.
What this ultimately means is that they are prescribing not only to resolve your current symptoms, but to enhance overall well being and vitality. Correcting underlying problems such as sluggish bowels, boggy mucus membranes, poor lymph drainage and low cellular metabolism means that your whole body will function better and the result should be that you feel an increased sense of well being.
There is absolutely no point in treating a chronic chest without also looking at the health of all the mucus membranes of the body. Or treating a fungal toenail, without looking internally to see if there is a general status of yeast overgrowth and gut dysbiosis. Boosting ones energy without addressing underlying nutritional imbalance would be a sticking plaster approach that won’t bring long term results. The aim always is to have clients leave the process of herbal treatment in the best possible health with tools to stay fit and well.
Addressing immunity is much deeper than increasing resistance to infections. The scope of herbal treatment may also include reducing an over active immune response that leads to allergy or inflammation. Modulating the immune response in problems such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease can safely augment conventional treatments. Dampening the allergic reaction by stabilising mast cell reaction can help calm down histamine mediated problems such as hay fever or urticaria.
The most serious immune dysfunction of all of course is cancer and Medical Herbalists may have a role to play in your cancer care team. Herbal Medicines prescribed by an experienced practitioner may complement orthodox treatment by helping the immune system to regain and recover post chemotherapy and by toning and nourishing specific organs. A Medical Herbalist may also be able to prescribe herbs to offer you emotional support through one of life’s most challenging times.