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Dr. Di's Health Tips
November 2002
Give your Immune System a Boost!!

Cold and flu season is coming up. How can we prevent exposure and vulnerability to the virus or bacteria that may cross our path? One important factor is good hygiene in public restrooms or around crowded areas. I like to wear the essential oil Thieves by Young Living when I am in a public gathering as it is a combination of oils that destroy or ward off pathogens. We need to take good care of our system, get plenty of rest, a lot of pure water, and avoid sugar and caffeine in our diet.

Here is a brief explanation of one of our defense mechanisms involving two of our white blood cells called Neutrophils and Macrophages. These white blood cells (WBCs) are the first line of defense as they engulf and digest foreign cells and molecules. Neutrophils patrol for 5 or 6 days removing infectious organisms and damaged tissue. Macrophages stand guard for months to years eliminating waste product, releasing a piece of information to the lymphocytes, another WBC for memory in resistance. A macrophage can eliminate up to 100 invaders and a neutrophil kills 5-50 invaders. These little guys should not be taken for granted.

There are several good immune building herbs we can take in a tincture or capsule during times of stress whether environmental or emotional. Two that I use a great deal are Goldenseal and Echinacea. Goldenseal attacks bacteria like an antibiotic. Goldenseal has components like hydrastine, berberine and canadine giving it antibiotic properties. Berberine has the quality of activating macrophages that engulf and destroy bacteria, viruses, fungus and tumor cells. If that doesn't convince you, Goldenseal is also known for increasing immune stimulating compounds and finally it reduces excess mucous, one of the breading grounds for pathogens, reduces inflammation and acts as an antiseptic agent.

Echinacea enhances the immune system by elevating the serum white blood cell (WBC) counts when they are low and promotes nonspecific T-cell activation. It activates the macrophage activity like Goldenseal and the production of neutrophils and other antibodies. Echinacea also offsets enzymes that allow microbes to penetrate healthy cells, relieves inflammation and increases natural killer cells that fight cancer.

Neither Goldenseal nor Echinacea show significant side effects unless an individual is allergic to them. Anything can be taken to an extreme. Neither should be taken on a full time basis or a tolerance can develop. Follow your holistic physician's recommendations on dosage and duration.

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P.O. Box 959 Indian Hills, CO 80454 | Phone: 303.697.1736 Fax: 303.697.6687 diane@mountainholistic.com

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