In the autumn and winter we pay special attention to our immunity. After all, no one wants to spend a few days in bed with high fever, cold and runny nose. That is why we are persistently looking for ways to augment our immunity using natural resources like plants, the health properties of which we can use every day. Below we will describe those that can bring us the most health benefits.
There are a number of plants, which do not need to be grown in a garden. Potted plants can also be a rich source of immune-boosting ingredients. They can also be a wonderful decoration of our apartment.
• Sage – essential oils contained in it prevent the multiplication of pathogenic bacteria. In addition, sage has anti-inflammatory, astringent and disinfecting properties, and rinses from its infusion will certainly help people struggling with tonsillitis or angina.
• Aloe – it is a perfect idea for people who do not have much time to care for plants. It is enough to find it a sunny and bright place. The juice extracted from the leaves of aloe has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. It strengthens our immune system, helps in the event of irritation of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, facilitates digestion, and supports tissue regeneration.
• Basil – known perfectly as an addition to many dishes (including pasta, salads or as an ingredient in pesto sauce). However, you should also remember about its health properties. Basil leaves are high in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.
There are many plants with compounds that act as a natural antibiotic. Garlic and onions have been used for years to boost immunity and fight disease, so it’s not a new discovery. Garlic is a source of vitamins (including C and B vitamins), as well as minerals. It owes its antibiotic properties to the presence of allicin, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can also inhibit the growth of the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which is responsible for the formation of stomach ulcers. Another plant that is the source of allicin is onion, which is why it has been used for years during colds, for example in the form of onion syrup. Onion extract is also used in scar reducing preparations. A less known but equally valuable natural antibiotic is oregano. The oil produced on its basis contains carvacrol – a compound with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Oregano oil is used to treat Candida albicans which causes mycosis, as well as Staphylococcus aureus.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. Products rich in vitamin C have been used for years in the prevention and treatment of colds. During a cold, we most often reach for lemon, because its fruits contain a large dose of vitamin C, but there are actually many other plants that are a better source of this vitamin.
• Parsley – is both a good source of vitamin C and iron. We can grow it in a pot, so we can easily take advantage of its valuable properties. Fresh parsley is a good addition to soups, salads or homemade vegetable spreads. We can also add it to green cocktails, mixing it with e.g. a banana.
• Spinach – fresh spinach leaves, as parsley, are high in vitamin C and iron. Not everyone likes the taste of spinach, but it is worth remembering that it does not have to be served only in the form of an unsavory, overcooked mash. Fresh spinach leaves can be a great addition to, for example, casseroles, salads, omelets or shakes.
• Rosehips – are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, they contain about ten times more of it than blackcurrant fruit. In addition to vitamin C, they provide large amounts of anti-inflammatory carotenoids as well as polyphenols. Rosehip tea also has mild diuretic properties, so it can be recommended in the case of urinary tract infections. We can harvest rosehips from the end of August until the first hard frost. Most often we find them on the edges of forests. We can dry them and prepare an infusion. Another way is to press the juice or use the fruit to make homemade jam.
If we want to actually strengthen our immunity with the use of plants, we must remember one very important fact. Vitamin C is a compound very sensitive to external factors: high temperature, light and oxygen. If we store and prepare products containing a high dose of vitamin C improperly, its losses can reach up to 40%.
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