Immune Boosting Herbs — Homegrown Self Reliance

Homegrown Self Reliance
10 min readSep 22, 2020


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We are all anxious as to how this cold and flu season is going to pan out. With the new pandemic going on, is it going to be worse than previous years? Only time will tell. In the meantime, what are you doing to protect your immune system? Have you considered using immune boosting herbs to keep yourself well?

People have been using herbs for thousands of years to help heal sicknesses and keep them feeling well. Herbs were used for a long time before traditional modern medicine came onto the scene. And there has recently been a resurgence in people being interested in a more natural healthcare approach to common ailments.

Home herbalists know that the best way to keep their families healthy is by using immune boosting herbs on a regular basis. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Why use immune boosting herbs?

A healthy immune system helps to form a barrier in our bodies to keep the bad bugs out. Viruses look for weak spots in our systems to invade and attack our cells. When the viral agents, or antigens, find a way into the body, a robust immune system sends out white blood cells that fight and destroy the antigens.

Using immune boosting herbs helps our bodies naturally fight these antigens without synthetic substances. Herbs are easily acquired in stores, online, or even in nature. You don’t need a prescription. Don’t need a doctor telling you what to take. You just need the knowledge to identify and use these herbs in your own health regimen.

Please note: Consult a doctor if you have medical issues or take medications that could interact with the use of herbs. Use caution if nursing or pregnant. If you have an autoimmune disease, you will want to stay away from these herbs, as it could make your symptoms worse.

Do immune boosting herbs protect against viruses?

Herbs can do wonders in helping your body prevent and cope with all kinds of diseases. There are several proven antiviral herbs. These herbs help protect the body from invasion of viruses. Herbs usually do this by strengthening the immune system, fighting damage from free radicals, blocking the antigens from attaching to your cell walls, and discouraging the antigen from reproducing once it gets into your cells.

If the prevention doesn’t work, herbs can also be used to aid your body in recovering from a virus. Viruses are known to leave the body feeling worn out and tired. Certain herbs can help you regain your strength, thus making you feel better faster.

What are the best immune boosting herbs for preventing viruses?

There are a lot of immune boosting herbs that will help keep you healthy. During these times, you should consider taking at least one of these on a daily basis. You might even want to make a new daily herbal tea regimen!


Garlic contains allicin, which is a powerful plant-based germicide. It is best taken raw, but many people also like to use fermented garlic instead.

During this cold and flu season, try to make it a habit to consume some garlic on a daily basis. Try using it in a vinaigrette to toss on a salad or rice. You can also buy a garlic supplement (your breath will thank you for using supplements!).


Onion naturally contains several immune-boosting chemical components. They are high in quercetin, which is a bioflavonoid and fights against free radicals. Quercetin is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and acts as an antihistamine.

Try to include onions in your daily diet.


Oregano is often used as a natural antibiotic. Chicken farmers have started using oregano in the water to ward off infections and disease. It is high in antioxidants, and has antibacterial and antifungal properties as well. It contains thymol, a natural fungicide that has antiseptic properties and helps provide a shield against viruses and bacteria. Oregano is most commonly associated with respiratory health.

Diffusing oregano essential oil may help eliminate airborne viruses and bacteria. Use it in your DIY cleaning solutions for an antiseptic boost. Including a pinch of dry oregano in a tea can help ward off illness as well.


Common sage, or garden sage, is considered a natural antibiotic as well. Sage is high in thujone, which has strong antiseptic and antibiotic properties.

Sage is wonderful in an oxymel to ward off respiratory illness.


Turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory and immune boosting herb. It contains curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant. It is known to remove toxins from the body, which, in turn, gives the immune system a boost.

This is one herb that I believe is a wonderful daily supplement, for many different ailments.

Licorice root

Licorice is a wonderful anti-inflammatory herb. Its primary active compound is glycyrrhizin, which is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial.

Try drinking a cup of licorice tea daily, or taking a capsule supplement.


Cloves contain Eugenol, a substance that is very effective in preventing viruses, bacteria, and even fungi. It is also a strong antioxidant, which allows the immune system to work effectively.

Try drinking a daily chai tea, or a tea with clove in it.


In addition to being a warming, stimulating herb, ginger is a strong antioxidant. It helps boost your immune system to fight off infections and viruses.

Consider drinking a daily cup of tea with ginger in it.


Moringa actually has 7 times the Vitamin C of oranges. It is also very high in Beta-Carotene so it stimulates healthy hemoglobin levels.

Moringa is typically purchased as a powder that you can add to food or drink.


Neem is a powerful antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial agent. It also helps purify the blood by flushing out toxins. This helps give your immune system a boost.

Neem is a very potent herb, and is best consumed in a capsule.


Cinnamon is antimicrobial, and can kill viruses, bacteria, and fungi. It contains eugenol, which is a powerful antibacterial agent. Cinnamon was reportedly used as a remedy for the Spanish Flu of 1918.

You might want to try adding cinnamon to coffee, tea, or desserts to get some into your daily diet.


Astragalus root has been used for centuries as an immune boosting herb. It increases white blood cell counts, which helps fight off viruses and bacteria.

You can take astragalus as a capsule, or in a tea.


Ashwagandha is a wonderful adaptogenic herb, which helps reduce stress on your body. This, in turn, helps boost your immune system’s ability to prevent viruses from attacking.

You can take ashwagandha in a tea, but to make sure you are getting the right dose, a daily supplement is recommended.


Echinacea has been used for many, many years as an immune stimulant. It has been shown to increase the body’s white blood cell count. White blood cells are what attacks viruses once they enter the body.

Echinacea supplements or tinctures are the most common way of taking echinacea to boost the immune system.

Rose hips

Rose hips are said to have the highest levels of Vitamin C in any fruit or vegetable. Vitamin C helps to stimulate the production and performance of white blood cells, and enhances the skin’s natural barrier against viruses and bacteria.

Rose hips are a wonderful addition to any tea, and give a fruity, slightly floral taste.


Elderberry has recently become one of the most popular herbal immune boosting herbs. And for good reason! It is a powerful antiviral herb, with very high levels of antioxidants and vitamins. They are high in Vitamin C, which is known to enhance the immune system. In addition, they have polyphenols that help increase the number of white blood cells present in the blood.

Elderberry syrup is a very popular way of consuming elderberry, although many people prefer the ease of taking a capsule supplement.


Elderflowers are high in Vitamin C, which can help stimulate the immune system. They also have high levels of antioxidants, which prevent the stress that can lower your resistance to sickness. Elderflowers have been considered for hundreds of years to be anti-viral and anti-bacterial as well.

Elderflower is a good addition to a DIY elderberry syrup, but it is also easy to make an elderflower cordial, or just add it to teas.

Holy basil

Holy basil, or tulsi, is a wonderful tonic herb that has very powerful antioxidant properties. It has chemical constituents in it that are germicidal, fungicidal, disinfectant, and antibiotic. Tulsi is especially helpful in protecting the respiratory system.

Holy basil is part of the mint family, so it makes a pleasant tea. Try drinking a cup of tulsi tea every day.

What are the best herbs for treating viruses?

In addition to preventing viruses, there are many herbs that can help you recover more quickly once a virus does take hold. You should keep several of these herbal remedies in your apothecary.


Ginger is a wonderfully warming herb. It has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. As such, ginger is especially healing for upset stomachs and sore throats.

Try drinking ginger ale or a nice ginger tea a few times a day when you’re feeling ill.


Elderberry has shown tremendous promise in reducing the length and severity of cold and flu symptoms. Its antioxidant properties can also give you more energy to make you feel better faster.

Take several doses of elderberry syrup or elderberry extract daily when you’re feeling ill.


Elderflower is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb that helps relieve congestion. It helps induce sweating, which is the herbalist’s preferred way of treating a fever.

Putting elderflower in a tea is a tasty way of taking this valuable medicine.


Yarrow is another diaphoretic, which means it helps stimulate sweating. According to most herbalists, this is the best way of moving the infection out of the body quickly.

Yarrow is a good addition to tea, but it tastes pretty strong. Most people combine this herb with mint to make a tea, and sweeten with honey.

Rose hips

The fruit of the rose bush, also known as rose hips, are high in vitamins, notably Vitamin C, which can help you recover from a cold or flu faster.

Rose hips are a pleasant, fruity tasting addition to a hot tea.

Holy basil

Tulsi is often used to treat respiratory ailments. It is helpful in treating fevers, coughs, colds, sore throat, and bronchitis.

Holy basil mixed with ginger and honey is a wonderful tea to use if you have a respiratory complaint.


There are many types of mint that can help if you’ve come down with a virus, but they all work similarly. The menthol in mint helps break up congestion and can ease coughs.

Try sipping a cup of mint tea when you have a cold or flu.


Thyme contains thymol, which is a chemical component that has amazing antimicrobial qualities. It also has quercetin, like onions, which is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and has antihistamine properties.

Thyme tea is an excellent cough remedy.


Sage is a well-recognized respiratory ally. It helps break up congestion, and soothes respiratory distress.

Sage makes a lovely oxymel for the treatment of colds and flu.

What immune boosting herbs will you use this cold and flu season?

Now that I’ve helped you understand how herbs can boost your immune system, what herbs do you think you’ll incorporate in your daily routine? I personally will be adding an ashwagandha supplement, and drinking holy basil tea on a daily basis.

Building up a healthy immune system can be key to keeping well this winter. And remember, always wash your hands!

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Originally published at on September 22, 2020.



Homegrown Self Reliance

Proud wife, mother, and grandmother, blogger at Lover of animals and gardening. Follow me for great beginner homestead tips!