The significance of botanical extracts in immune support

Published: 7-Feb-2024

Karthik Kondepudi, Partner at Herbochem, poses the question: how can we harness the diverse properties of botanical extracts to boost and fortify the immune system?

Have you ever wondered why there’s been a noticeable shift toward the use of natural products in skin and haircare formulations in recent years? It’s probably because this trend aligns with the growing consumer preference for safe and mild ingredients. 

Actively protecting the body from infectious threats such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, the immune system — perhaps unsurprisingly — emerges as a central player in this narrative.

Recognised for their natural attributes in terms of modulating and maintaining immunity, the quest for a well-balanced immune system has prompted the growing use of botanical extracts in a wide range of products. 

How, though, do these plant-based components contribute to enhancing our immune defences? The answer lies in the synergy of adequate nutrition, dietary interventions and the strategic intake of specific vitamins and minerals.

Regarded as being a more holistic approach to well-being, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that approximately 80% of the global population relies on herbal therapeutics to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

One of the most noteworthy ways to manage the body’s self defence system is to include immune-boosting herbs and plants in your diet.

Botanical extracts have an immune-boosting effect owing to their antioxidant content.

One example, for instance, is a Moringa extract. Moringa oleifera, also known as the drumstick tree, miracle tree, ben oil tree or horseradish tree, boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that people have used for centuries because of the associated health benefits. 

This extract, derived from the leaves of the tree, which is native to parts of Africa and Asia, is known for its nutritional and medicinal properties.

Additionally, Moringa seeds, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, exhibit antibacterial activity and are sometimes used as a water purifying agent. Various studies have identified Moringa seeds as agents that can reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

Some plant extracts contain anti-inflammatory components that strengthen the immune system’s ability to eliminate harmful micro-organisms.

In advanced countries, almost 70–80% of the population prefers to consume herbal products rather than relying on harmful chemical components. Plant-derived ingredients such as turmeric, ginger, ginseng, garlic and green tea have all been shown to help maintain and improve the immune system. 

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Botanical herbs can also be adaptogenic and actively promote immunological health. Adaptogens such as ashwagandha and Astragalus, for example, enable the body to fight off substances that impair immune system function.

These herbs indirectly promote immunological health, thereby preventing the prolonged stress that depletes the immune system.

These natural chemicals, all boasting antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, adaptogenic and antibacterial characteristics, play a pivotal role in the development of a responsive immune system.

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