Employed to treat tonsillitis, enlarged glands, swollen spleen, sluggish
lymphatic, infections and inflammations. It also supports the immune
response by draining the lymphatic system.
The immune system is the police force of the body. It is a complex system of
cells that defend the body from invading organisms, regulate inflammation
and control abnormal cell growth. Many organs are involved in the immune
response, the bone marrow, lymphatic system, thymus, liver and spleen. Bone
marrow produces red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.
The spleen is a location where immune cells can monitor the blood for
foreign matter. It also speeds up red blood cell production and activates
blood clotting. The liver can increase body temperature and induce sweating
to help fight off infections. The thymus produces B cells, which make
antibodies, and T cells, which are part of the immune response.
The immune system is capable of fighting off intruders and remembering them
so that they are killed off quickly if they invade again. The immune system
must be able to differentiate self from non-self in order to know what to
attack. If it does not recognize the body’s own tissue than autoimmune
Physical and emotional stress has been shown in studies to depress
the amount of circulating immune cells. Examples of possible stressors are
excessive exercise, surgery, a long illness, and loss of a job or death of a
loved one. The sympathetic nervous system is activated by stress and causes
increased heart rate and blood pressure, and a heightening of the body’s
senses. It decreases the functioning of systems that are not essential for
fighting or fleeing a situation. This includes immunity. Stress also causes
increased inflammation and a build –up of damaging agents called free
radicals. These substances can interfere with normal immune functioning.
Poor dietary habits inhibit the immune system by creating
deficiencies in protein, vitamins and minerals. A healthy diet, with
sufficient protein intake, supports the immune system because the immune
cells are made of protein and are in a constant state of renewal. The immune
cells use a variety of vitamins and minerals to carry out their jobs. The
most important nutrients are vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin E,
selenium, zinc and essential fatty acids. For example, vitamin C strengthens
white blood cells and prevents the multiplication of bacteria and viruses.
Deficiency of any one of these nutrients impairs the immune response.
Dietary sugar, especially white sugar, has been directly linked to
depression of the immune system, immediately after its consumption. One
study showed that eating three and a half oz. of simple sugar reduced the
ability of white blood cells to destroy bacteria. Sugar also provides fuel
for invading organisms, like bacteria and fungus, thus strengthening their
Sleep is an essential component of our body’s repair mechanisms.
During sleep the body in an anabolic, or building, state. Insomnia prevents
the renewal of immune cells. Over time this leads to a decrease in immune
functioning. Lack of sleep also stresses the body and usually occurs with an
increase in sympathetic nervous system function. The immune system is
depressed by the mechanism described in previous paragraphs.
Many medications, especially cortisone and antibiotics, affect the
immune system, especially when taken for long periods of time. Cortisone
suppresses the bone marrow and antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria. Toxic
substances, including excessive alcohol and heavy metals, depress the
function of the immune system or cause immune cells to prematurely die.