Tea and the Immune System

Tea and the Immune System


Winter brings with it festivities and holidays, but also can be a dreaded time of year for some because of colds, flu, or other associated sicknesses.

However, did you know that tea can be used to reduce the chances of getting sick? And at the very least, will reduce the intensity and duration of any sickness. 

The supplement industry makes billions off various pills. Do they in fact work? Some supplements contain immune boosting ingredients, but there is not much in the way of studies that confirm lower incidents of flu or colds by taking them versus what you get in everyday foods. Vitamin C may help with colds, but does not seem to help avoid them. Plus, there are side effects from overdosing. Your best bet is to get as much vitamin C from foods such as greens and citrus. 

But did you know that simply drinking tea on a daily basis will help boost your immune system? It turns out there are studies that show certain components found in tea – specifically EGCG and L-theanine – that help strengthen the immune system by priming T cell activity. Tea, in general, is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, which is why tea drinkers also get less cavities.

No matter how much you wash your hands, or how many precautions you take, there will be a time where a breach of your defenses takes place. Normally we can sense something wrong – a headache, post-nasal drip, or some imbalance that says something is not right. Here is where you need to add some weapons to the arsenal.

But before we move forward, if you caught the flu you will know it. The flu is highly contagious during this initial phase. If you feel extremely sickly and weak – STAY HOME. 

Certain herbs like ginger, lemon balm, sage, or lemon verbena serve as antiviral sore-throat soothers. 

There has been some evidence that zinc lozenges will reduce the length and severity of a cold. But should you decide to go this route, there are side effects from overdosing and usage is not recommended except when you are actually sick.

Echinacea is another common supplement. You could in theory take tablets, but drinking a tea with echinacea in it is probably a better bet, because it will contain more than just the one ingredient and more side benefits, plus takes care of ingesting the recommended hot fluids.  It also lowers the chances of overdosing. Echinacea has been shown in clinical trials to be as effective as tamiflu – with fewer side effects and much lower cost.

Using this rapid response method has shown to work in our own tests. Whenever an imbalance is sensed, immediately switch to a mostly herbal tea regimen, including blends formulated with Echinacea. That, coupled with going to bed early will get you back up to speed very quickly.

Unlike medicines, you can drink most tea all the time – not just when you are not feeling well. Most herbal teas can be consumed on a regular basis without overdosing or negative side effects. Just be aware if you are on any medications to look up the ingredients that are not familiar to you. WebMD is a great resource for this. Common ingredients like sage or ginger can be consumed moderately on an everyday basis. Plus there are other benefits, such as anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Conclusion

If you are drinking tea now, you are already boosting your immune system naturally. Keeping some herbal varieties with some of the ingredients mentioned, eating right and keeping active will greatly increase your chances of avoiding sickness.

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