In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of interest in ways to strengthen one’s immune system which is a first line of defence against the deadly virus.
Immunity cannot be built in a day, but the good news is that eating a well-balanced diet and being physically and mentally active is good enough.
While waiting for an approved vaccine from health authorities, there are many natural ingredients known to help boost your immunity. Since ancient times, herbs and spices were well known for their medicinal properties, with over 80 spices grown in different parts of the world.
Here’s a list of some herbs and spices that can help improve immunity. Some are available in your community.
The leaves of this easily available plant are rich in nutrients such as antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, as well as bioactive compounds that have anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. All these help to reduce stress and plasma glucose levels.
You can chew 4-5 fresh basil leaves every morning. Just make sure you wash them well in running water or infuse them with your morning tea.
This hot root is well known for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties. In traditional medicine, ginger has been extensively used for curing colds and coughs, nausea, asthma, travel sickness, morning sickness, arthritis, gastrointestinal complaints and in some quarters, depression.
Brew it as ginger tea by crushing the ginger roots and boiling it with tea leaves and water. It can also be used for digestive ailments.
We know it leaves an unpleasant smell in the mouth but this small root has a potent anti-oxidant property which helps in reducing stress and high blood pressure. It also helps with vitamin B1 absorption in the body and prevents beriberi.
It is always best to chop or crush garlic before consuming it, because it works better when in contact with oxygen. Garlic is used to add flavour to almost every form of cuisine across the world.
Tumeric contains a bioactive compound known as curcumin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. Commonly used in some climes for curries and other dishes, you can add turmeric to your morning tea once daily to improve immunity.
Mint leave is a popular herb that people can use fresh or dried in many dishes and infusions. Manufacturers of toothpaste, gum, candy, and beauty products often use mint oil. Using fresh mint and other herbs and spices in cooking can help a person add flavor while reducing their sodium and sugar intake. Mint plants offer a range of antioxidant qualities and potential health benefits, especially for people who have irritable bowel syndrome.
The neem also known as dogonyaro by the people from Northern Nigeria is more like a one-stop-shop tree with herbal properties. Its leaves, seeds, roots and bark also contain important compounds that have many medicinal and beauty properties. The vitamins and fatty acids in neem improve and maintain the elasticity of the skin, reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Neem is also beneficial in fighting against fungal infection.
Also known as greek clover, the fenugreek roots acts a natural anti-oxidant and strengthens the immune system. It can be used as herbs (dried or fresh leaves), spice (seeds), vegetable (fresh leaves). They are rich in vitamin E and its fiber properties can be used to cure constipation.
There is no single food that is a magic pill for a healthy body. Apart from including these herbs and spices in your diet, you should exercise both your body and your mind as regularly as possible. Make necessary lifestyle changes, and practice gratitude.
Are there other herbs in your locality with healing properties? Please share with us in the comment section.