20 Herbs That Can Boost Your Immune System


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When it comes to taking care of your immune system, there are a couple of things you can do to give it a little boost. The main (and best) way to do it is by taking a holistic approach: eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, limiting your alcohol consumption, and trying to keep your stress in check. But sometimes, you need extra support, and that's where certain vitamins, supplements, tinctures, teas, etc. can come in handy. A lot of these products contain specific herbs that have been used for centuries for immune and health support.

"Even a glimpse inside traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic, and Native American healing practices will highlight the use of native plants to support health in many ways," explains Serena Poon, CN, CHC, CHN, chef, nutritionist, Reiki master, and founder of the Culinary Alchemy program. "The scientific community has begun to take more interest in traditional remedies, and we are starting to see a beautiful meeting of science and tradition as it relates to wellness."

Herbs might be an all-natural addition to your wellness routine, and there are so many options out there with different uses and benefits that you might be able to do some experimenting with to see which work for you. But you don't want to just jump into it without doing your research first. We asked the experts for some tips and recommendations:

How to Use Herbs


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Mona Dan, LAc, MTOM, herbalist, acupuncturist, and founder of Vie Healing, says that herbs can be incorporated in various ways, like in the form of teas, loose powders, and salves. They're so versatile and have many uses.

"There are many herbs that you are likely familiar with that you can simply add to your culinary repertoire and reap lovely health benefits," Poon says. "Herbs such as thyme, oregano, sage, and basil can be used fresh or dried in dishes, infused into oils, or, if you’d prefer, purchased in tincture or capsule form. Other herbs that might not be as familiar but traditionally support wellness—such as echinacea, astragalus, and neem—can be dried and consumed as a tea or can also be purchased in concentrated forms."

When sourcing herbs, you want to look for quality above all. Poon says one of the best ways to get herbs is by purchasing organic seeds and growing your own at home. If you can't do that, Poon recommends purchasing herbs from local farmers, seeking out organic produce, and researching purveyors.

What to Be Mindful Of


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Before adding any herb to your routine, you'll want to make sure it will work with your lifestyle, including the types of medications you're taking, because some herbs can have contraindications. "First, if you are taking prescription medication, speak with your doctor about both your drug and supplement programs. They will be able to let you know if there are any specific concerns," Poon says. "Regardless of whether or not you are on medication, I always recommend learning to take note of how new foods and herbs make you feel. Try consuming a new herb on its own and notice any signs of allergic reaction—skin rash, itching, tingling, or digestive discomfort. Even slight occurrences of these symptoms might mean that this herb is not right for your unique constitution."

If you are interested in taking Chinese herbs, Dan highly recommends working with an herbalist or acupuncturist. "There is so much behind the proper diagnosis of herbs," she says. "We need to see what the constitution of your body is. For example, some people run hot, while others run cold. Some people are always dry, while others have more mucous. All these indications are a guide to your constitution and what needs addressing."

Herbs That Can Boost the Immune System

Ready to explore herbal remedies? The experts shared which herbs and ingredients can help support the immune system. Some can be ingested, while others can be used as aromatherapy or topical treatments. Take a look below.

1. Aloe Vera

2. Asian Ginseng

3. Astaxanthin Algae

4. Astragalus

5. Basil

6. Chamomile

7. Cleavers

8. Cordyceps

9. Echinacea

10. Ganoderma Reishi

11. Goldenseal

12. Kakadu Plum

13. Neem

14. Olive Leaf Extract

15. Oregano

16. Peppermint

17. Rooibos

18. Rosemary

19. Sage

20. Thyme


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.

Managing Editor

Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019. In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot). She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.