Chinese herbs are more commonly being used as an alternative to Western pharmaceuticals. Chinese herbal medicine contains many herbs that strengthen the body, including the immune system. Herbs that strengthen the immune system are called tonic herbs.

The efficacy of these herbs is based on the concept of balanced qi, or vital energy. This balance is the cornerstone of Chinese herbal medicine and has been used for over 3,500 years to enhance various aspects of one’s health. Unlike Western medicine, Chinese herbal medicine focuses on enhancing overall wellbeing rather than treating symptoms or conditions in isolation. Chinese medicine uses many modalities, including herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping, qi gong, tai chi, and other practices, to balance the body’s qi and create physical harmony across the different bodily systems.

Traditional Chinese medicine believes that disruption to the body’s qi can impair the body’s ability to function normally. This impairment can result in many physical and mental health issues, including lethargy, depression and anxiety, colds and flu, fever, and cough.  In Chinese medicine, it is believed that a weakened immune system is an effect of animbalance of qiin the lungs and the spleen. This imbalance may result from poor diet, stress, a chaotic lifestyle, and genetic influences.

To combat these effects, several herbs can be used to balance the qi and improve overall health by giving the immune system a boost. But it is important to remember that Chinese medicine usually does not focus on treating symptoms of colds or illnesses; instead, it works to bring the body back into balance, strengthening the immune system and allowing the body to fight these illnesses. The following list includes some Chinese herbs that can help build immunity.

Astragalus Root/Huang Qi: Astragalus is a popular yellow-coloredtonic herb in Chinese medicine. It is considered the best topical herb for strengthening wei qi (protective qi), or the protective shield of energy circulating around the body’s surface layers. It is believed that when this energy is weakened, the body is more susceptible to illness or disease. Astragalus builds up the body’s reserve of wei qi, which is one way to boost the body’s defense system from an attack.

Cordyceps/Dong Chong Xia Cao: Cordyceps have long been used as a natural energy-boosting ingredient. It is a tonic herb renowned for nourishing the lungs and kidneys. It is often used to treat chronic cough and asthma in traditional Chinese medicine. Regular consumption of this herb is thought to ease breathing difficulties, stimulate the lungs, and support general immunity and wellness.

Dandelion/Pu Gong Ying: Dandelion is often found in teas that boost immunity. This herb has cooling properties that can relieve a sore throat or fever. In addition to these benefits, dandelion is high in antioxidants, which cleanse the liver and balance qi. Dandelion is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It includes iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It can reduce inflammation in the body, particularly lung inflammation, and may even have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. These properties can enhance the body’s ability to fight infection.

Reishi Mushroom/Ganoderma Lucidum/Ling Zhi: The reishi mushroom is a medicinal mushroom that has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine as an immune system modulator. For instance, if the immune functions are weak, the use of this herb can strengthen the immune system. Conversely, when the immune system is overactive, the herb can regulate immune activity. Reishi is also used to reduce stress, ease the mind, relax tension in the body, and treat insomnia and anxiety.

Yellow Foods: Eating a healthy diet is imperative to supporting a healthy immune system since nearly 70 of the immune system is located in the digestive tract. The spleen, one of the primary organs responsible for immune system health, is linked to the color yellow, meaning that yellow foods and herbs can improve your gut health. These foods include pumpkin, sweet potato, and ginger. In addition, turmeric is a commonly used yellow herb that supports a balanced qi and a robust immune system.

These herbs, and several others, can help build your immune system in a way that follows traditional Chinese medicine. However, it’s important to remember that herbs only represent part of a comprehensive strategy for wellness when incorporating a traditional Chinese medicine plan into your care. You should also consider other strategies to balance the qi, such as acupuncture, qi gong,and meditation. And before developing an herbal supplement regime, it’s crucial to discuss your health goals with a qualified and experienced herbalist or practitioner. To learn more about the power of herbs to build immunity and enhance wellness, contact MK Integrative Wellness today.

MK Integrative Wellness offers various natural and herbal medicine options that use naturopathic medicine principles, from consultations, acupuncture, customized herbal formulations, natural pain management, and more. Our team can help you to manage your health and wellness through herbal medicine options proactively.