Demystifying the Immune System - The herbalist’s analogy - Part 1 - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

The immune system, which is part of an intelligent self-regulating organism, is very complex. It is the body's defense against infectious organisms and is made up of special cells, proteins, tissues, and organs that defends people against germs and microorganisms every day. The immune system attacks organisms and substances that invade the body.

Current beliefs and how they are always changing...

Current accepted science on immunity is one of those areas that is assumed is well understood, but in reality, it is not. It is only recently that it was discovered that the brain has a minute lymphatic system! Humans have more bacterial cells than human cells. A large portion of this bacteria lives in the gut. New scientific research is showing that there is a lot of interaction between the body’s immune system and all that bacteria that lives there. In fact, microbial cells outnumber human cells by about ten to one!

From an Herbalists perspective, immunity is a dance of many integrated systems- I like to call this the “immunity waltz”. Like in any organic system, there is a diverse set of interrelationships - at one level these relationships look obvious; however there are many that we can’t see in this self-organising micro world.

The neuro-endocrine system is one of the most unexplored links in physical health. Somatic psychologists are only just beginning to research this fascinating connection, providing much insight into the effects of thought and emotion on physical health. For an herbalist this neuro-endocrine connection is a powerful ally to start supporting with herbs as it can trigger balances in the "Immunity waltz"  like no other connection can.

When a Herbalist is treating something like auto-immune disorders, there is a requirement to keep the dance going, but just improve the rhythm and the kind of dance steps used. Cancers and auto immune conditions are like any immune response gone wrong - something is out of step in the complex interplay. Herbs help to bring the dance back to harmony so that the dance is playing out as it should.

Alignment within

We can impair this self-organisation if we are anxious, angry, frustrated, and see things as problems all the time. We effectively stimulate the neuro-endocrine system to “trip-up”. This causes our “immunity” dancers to stumble, which in turn makes it hard to recover the dance steps.

So now we can understand why meditation is important. We need to meditate in order to allow the frustrations to fall away and therefore allow the natural self-organisation to come back into alignment.

The health of the gut

We have now discovered that a big part of your immune system is actually in your gastro-intestinal tract. 

Nourishing the new cells as they are created

If we are to really help our body heal we do need to follow some basic guidelines.

1) Stimulate the system to clean itself up - this is a critical element. We use herbs called alteratives to clean the blood of excess hormones, histamines and inflammatory cells.
2) We use herbs to support the neuro-endocrine system with herbs that are nourishing and balancing
3) I also use a super anti-oxidant herbs like Maritime Pine to help restore strength to the “Dancers”
4) Support and strengthen all body systems and organs with herbs that target and nourish each of these areas specifically.
5) Support gut health through diet and supplements containing pre-biotics


The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet
Human Microbiome Project
Why gut bacteria are essential for a healthy immune system - by ScienceNordicby ScienceNordic

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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