Two ancient remedies get a modern makeover to boost your body’s defenses.
by Lisa James
It’s a rough world out there, abounding in viruses, bacteria and other infective micro-organisms. And that’s on top of the internal dangers posed by irregular cells that can turn malignant if they aren’t destroyed first.
The body’s immune system presents a formidable defense against these hazards. Like the rest of the body, though, the immune system is itself vulnerable to attack by unstable molecules called free radicals.
Fortunately the world of medicinal plants offers time-tested ways to boost immune function, and modern herbal science has contributed novel means of combining plant-based remedies to make them even more effective.
For centuries, Asia’s traditional healers have used plants that are now the subjects of interest worldwide. For example, India’s Ayurvedic medicine has yielded ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Valued for its revitalizing, strengthening and calming properties, ashwagandha has also been found to fight bacteria and free radicals. In studies, it has reduced stress and improved endurance (Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine 7/12, Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine 10/12).
In Japan, maitake (Grifola frondosa) has also been traditionally used for its invigorating and strengthening properties. Modern researchers have studied this mushroom’s cancer-fighting and immune-stimulating capacities (as well as its ability to lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels).
It’s telling that both ashwagandha and maitake have immune-enhancing and stress-relieving components, because researchers have found that chronic stress can destabilize the immune system (PLoS One 2012). Stress has also been found to worsen upper respiratory infection symptoms.
Today, extracts from ashwagandha and maitake have been formulated into a supplement called WellBody 365 designed to enhance immunity and reduce the stress that can interfere with immune function. Studies on the maitake extract used in WellBody 365 have found that it increases the activity of key immune system components. Investigations with Sensoril, the patented ashwagandha extract used in WellBody 365, found significant reductions in stress-related symptoms and in levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In lab tests, WellBody 365 itself was found to not only stimulate immune cell activity but to also reduce cold-related stress (North American Journal of Medical Sciences 7/11).
Other remedies can augment Wellbody 365’s immune-boosting powers. Arabinogalactan (ARA-larix), a fiber taken from the larch tree, has improved the ability of immune cells to kill cancerous cells in the laboratory, where it has also shown the ability to hinder cancer from spreading to the liver.
Olive leaf, traditionally used as a fever remedy, has been found to act against a wide range of infectious microbes. Vitamins A, C and E, along with the mineral zinc, are all known to play crucial roles in immune response. And a host of botanicals—including blueberry, bilberry, grape seed and tart cherry—provide a full range of antioxidants to protect the immune system from free radical damage.
Dangers to immunity lurk everywhere. But WellBody 365 and other formulations can help your immune system fight back.