Nothing is more important to your health than a well-functioning immune system. Such ailments and diseases as the common cold, infections, asthma, food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer are all related to immune system dysfunction. Immuno-deficiency is a condition in which the immune system is suppressed by certain factors, making you vulnerable to disease and infection.
It is clear from Chinese medicine textbooks that Chinese medicine practitioners have been dealing with immune system disorders for thousands of years. The symptoms that are described are those of immune deficiency, allergic reactions, and auto-immune disease. Effective treatments have included natural herbs, dietary therapy, acupuncture, and Tai Chi. These treatments are especially effective because they focus on strengthening the immune system and stimulating the body’s natural defense mechanisms.
Preventing disease and maintaining wellness are deeply rooted in the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine. The idea of taking care of one’s body, and of forestalling illness before it manifests, has become part of Chinese culture. There, you will see people drinking ginseng herbal tea with their breakfast, having astragalus chicken soup in a restaurant for lunch, and cooking a shiitake mushroom stir-fry for their dinner. It is not unusual for Chinese people to get regular acupuncture treatments for the purpose of enhancing their immune systems.
Diet and Nutrition
The importance of diet and nutrition are paramount in a healthy immune system. Because of space constraints, we are unable to list all the important nutrients for a balanced diet for any particular situation.
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Chinese Herbs and Herbal Formulas
Many Chinese herbs have strong immunity-enhancing effects. The immune system can certainly be tonified, or even completely restored, by using certain herbs. Chinese herbal formulas actually achieve a much stronger effect than single herbs. An herbal formula is not only more powerful than a single herb, but can cover a wider range of symptoms.
Ginseng is the most popular Chinese herb on the market today. It is widely used as an immune system enhancer, and also as a general tonic. Most people do not know, however, that there are several types of ginseng available, including Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng, American ginseng, and Siberian ginseng. Each of these varieties has a different property, and it is wise to consult with a Chinese medicine practitioner to determine which type is best for you. Literally hundreds of studies have been done on ginseng, and it has been found to have the following properties: it protects the liver; stimulates the immune system; prevents radiation damage to nerve tissue; has antioxidant effects; and prevents cancer.
Acupuncture is another powerful tool to regulate the immune system. In China, people know how energetic they feel after having an acupuncture treatment, and they will use acupuncture as part of a plan for maintaining good health. In the United States, acupuncture was initially accepted as a valid treatment for pain-related issues, but it has the potential to treat a wide range of health problems, including immune deficiency. Research shows that acupuncture treatments can increase the body’s T-cell count, as well as the number of cells that ingest and destroy bacteria, protozoa, and cell debris. A study shows that white blood cell counts and mobility have increased by 168 percent within three hours after treatment. Many people are beginning to realize that regular acupuncture treatments for their asthma, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, colds, or infections will relieve their symptoms. Actually, acupuncture can do much more than that: it can regulate immune function and treat the fundamental cause of disease.