By David Wolfe
The human body’s immune system is vast and complex. It has to be! It’s responsible for detoxifying the body and protecting it from illness and foreign invaders—the harmful bacteria, viruses, calcium-forming micro-organisms and candida that are part of our world.
Unfortunately, it also has to confront everything from pesticides to car pollution and nuclear radiation to most municipal tap water, where harmful microorganisms and an endless list of toxic chemicals continuously assault our immune system. Coupled with these assaults are the daily stresses of life and their deleterious effects upon us.
All of these add up to a weakened immune system, which can allow the development of colds and flus, coughs, fevers, chronic health problems, skin disorders, digestive distress, nervous conditions, chronic fatigue and even cancer. Like anything under assault, when the body has too much to deal with, it requires more support to help it fight off attackers.
Fortunately, our immune system can be improved and empowered to such a point that not only can harmful microbes be halted and chemicals detoxified, but we can build up a stress defense shield that minimizes the effects of daily stress. The best way to activate the genius within the immune system is by ingesting certain superherbs and superfoods, taking probiotics and cultured foods, and minimizing toxic food exposure by eating organic raw-living foods.
When Hippocrates said, in 400 BCE, “Let food be your medicine and let medicine be your food,” he had no idea how much food would be degraded in the coming millennia, but his advice still holds. Both aspects of this phrase must be considered: not just food as medicine, but also medicine as food. I take medicine to mean superfoods, the most nutrient-rich plant foods in the world; and tonic superherbs—herbs that can be taken regularly like food. Out of 40,000 herbs used worldwide, perhaps only fifty or sixty are tonic superherbs. These superherbs should be taken for long periods, because like all tonics, they function as food and build strength over time, nourishing our stress defense shield. Whenever possible, try to include the following superfoods, superherbs and super products in your daily regimen:
Reishi mushroom Reishi is queen of the medicinal mushrooms and the best-studied herb in the history of the world. For more than 2,000 years it has been the most revered herbal mushroom in Asia, where Daoists consider reishi an elixir of immortality and celebrate its ability to significantly improve the functioning of the immune system. It protects us from the onslaught of viruses, bacteria, unwanted guests, pollution, chemicals, molds and toxicity, helping to build a stress defense shield and create feelings of well-being that are impervious to outer stress.
Chaga mushroom Chaga is the king of medicinal mushrooms, containing the highest level of anti-tumor compounds of any herb. These compounds are in the form of betulin, betulinic acid and lupeol, powerful antimutagenic compounds naturally present in the white part of the birch tree’s bark (in which the chaga typically grows). Chaga is also extremely high in nourishing phytochemicals, nutrients and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, especially melanin. Chaga is second only to cacao in antioxidant content, and is the most powerful known cancer-fighting herb.
Gynostemma According to scientific herbal research in China, gynostemma has been identified as the most medicinal of all the Chinese herbs. It contains 120 saponins (immune modulating molecules that are fat soluble on one side of the molecule and water soluble on the other side), all of which possess unique and specific health-giving properties. Gynostemma is a true tonic; you can take it or make tea out of it nearly every day with benefits that accrue the more you consume. Gypenoside 49 (49th of the 120 saponins) has been identified as a telomerase (a DNA-related enzyme) activator that genetically youthens us.
Ginseng Known throughout the world for its amazing energy-restoring and strength-building properties, ginseng is an adaptogen, helping our bodies adapt to stressful environmental conditions. Ginseng root can boost energy, induce mental alertness and increase endurance. It also helps fight pain and alleviate radiation damage to healthy tissues.
Chlorella Chlorella is a micro-algae superfood detoxifier. It contains high levels of complete protein with properties that bond with heavy metals and chemical toxins, helping to eliminate them from the brain and nervous system. Chlorella is the highest chlorophyll-containing plant in the world, with 40 times the chlorophyll content of wheatgrass juice.
Zeolites Zeolites are a form of unique, volcanic mineral compounds with crystalline structures that form a sort of “cage.” This cage works like a magnet to attract heavy metals, chemicals and other pollutants (such as radioactive isotopes), capturing them and allowing their easy removal (without being re-absorbed) from the body. Zeolites have been shown to have antiviral and cancer-fighting effects.
Shilajit (“conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness”) This ayurvedic mineral-herb contains 80+ minerals and fulvic acid, which assists in the removal of toxins, improves nutrition to cells and helps restore electricity to the blood. Shilajit promotes the movement of minerals into muscle, tissue and bone.
Astragalus root One of the most potent immune tonics used to improve the lungs, strengthen muscles, increase metabolism, reduce stress and strengthen genetics.
Camu camu berry This plant-derived vitamin-C source boosts the immune system and helps repair connective tissue. Camu camu is one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C in the world, and a powerful antioxidant.
Probiotics Good quality probiotics (including friendly bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus infantis, B. longum, L. bulgaricus, S. thermophilus, L. plantarum, L. salivarius, Enterococcus faecium) and cultured and fermented foods lead to enhanced immunity, because probiotic bacteria are symbiotic allies to your body that help fight viruses, candida and other infections, produce B vitamins, and assist in detoxification.
We live in a time of unprecedented abundance. Through the Internet and advancing health freedoms, we have easy access to these superfoods, superherbs and super health products. When you start investigating and utilizing them consistently, not only will you notice your immunity enhanced, but your thoughts will have more clarity, overall energy will increase, and you’ll probably sleep better and perform better in athletic activities. You’ll also have diminished digestive problems and start to experience feelings of well-being enlivening you.
Superfoods and tonic superherbs can be added into anyone’s diet, but you don’t have to run to the market and fill your basket. Simply begin with the first one or few you’re drawn to and go from there. Get out a blender and have fun making smoothies with superfoods, or teas with superherbs. Better yet, blend superherb tea with superfoods to make the most potent elixirs ever.
Best-selling author David “Avocado” Wolfe has been an advocate of raw food for 22 years. He will host the Longevity Now Conference in Costa Mesa this fall.astragalus, Camu camu berry, chaga, Chlorella, Ginseng, Gynostemma, Probiotics, reishi, Shilajit, Zeolites