Pagan News and Views Since 1998

The seasonal change from summer to fall brings out the beauty of nature with yellow, orange and golden leaves. However it often seem to bring colds and sniffles as well. In addition, every fall when I return to my classroom at the university I visit classrooms full of new faces that bring new bacteria and viruses with them. Catching a cold in the fall seemed to have become an occupational hazard, that is until I started to use food for medicine and included a variety of immune enhancing herbs in my diet. Here is a short list of my favorites.

Uña de Gato or Cat's Claw

Astragalus – An herb from China that stimulates the immune system and aids in digestion and adrenal gland functions and also is a diuretic. The effectiveness of this herb is due to polysaccharides, saponins and flavonoids. I use this herb to fight the common cold and flu and usually start taking it daily about a month before classes start in the fall. Its digestive health benefits demonstrate the lowering of stomach acidity, resulting to an increase in the body's metabolic rates and the promotion of waste elimination.

Bell Peppers- Unlike other hotter peppers this variety does not contain capsaicin. Instead it contains carotenoid lycopene which lowers the risk of cancer; beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A; and Zeaxanthin, which is known to prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Of course it also adds a crunch touch to your salads and is wonderful in sautéed dishes, and is good for you at the same time

Echinacea - Echinacea is probably the most well known of the immune system enhancing herbs. I combine Echinacea with Goldenseal in herbal tea to prevent and and treat upper respiratory tract infections as well as the common cold. Leave Goldenseal out of your tea if you have high blood pressure.

Reishi Mushrooms (Ganoderma) - This is a bitter mushroom has long been a popular herb in Chinese medicine and is claimed to enhance longevity and health. Studies have shown that that it strengthens immunity and combats cancer. In addition, it has antioxidant properties and provides relief from urinary tract infections. (Juniper Berries are my favorite herb for UTI).

Garlic - Who doesn’t love garlic? Think sauteed dishes, pasta and garlic bread, and it does more than keep the vampires away. A recent study conducted by Dr. Ellen Tattelman, an assistant professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, New York, reconfirmed that garlic has cardiovascular, anti-microbial and antineoplastic properties.

Ginseng - The most commonly studied variety of Ginseng is Korean ginseng or Panax ginseng. The main active component, ginsenosides, has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Clinical studies have demonstrated that it may improve immune and psychological functions as well as conditions related to diabetes.

Turmeric – I love the color of Turmeric and add frequently add it to sautéed vegetables, especially yellow squash or zucchini. This spice contains curcumin, which has notable antioxidant properties and it is a simple and highly effective way to thwart cancer and protect your liver against disease. Turmeric stimulates the flow of bile and thus helps with digestive problems. It also has antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties and reduces inflammation by stimulating the adrenal glands to increase the level of the hormone the lessens inflammation.

Uña de Gato or Cat's Claw - This herb from Peru is my number one go to herb for immune system support. Although it has traditionally been used in Peru to treat stomach problems it has recently developed a reputation as an exceptional immune response stimulator that helps the body to fight off infections and degenerative diseases. It contains oxindole alkaloids that enhance the immune system's capacity to engulf and destroy pathogens.


As Hippocrates said almost 2,500 years ago, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Live in peace and health . . . Rev. RavenClaw / Dr. Dave, N.D.

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