The body’s inflammatory response is necessary to keep us alive. But when inflammation from the immune response gets carried away and out of control, it can overwhelm our tissues, and impair their ability to use oxygen.
In turn, this can negatively impact our energy production, and is largely what makes us feel “sick” when dealing with immune challenges. Supporting balanced immune function, while keeping the inflammatory response in check were the two main thrusts behind Optimum Health’s product, Optimum Immunity.
Elderberry and Viruses
Though this formula has broader applications for immune health, as the name may imply, there are several herbs contained in this formula that are well-established natural remedies for cold and flu. One of the principle ingredients in this regard is Elderberry, which, when taken within the first 48 hours, has been shown to be effective against both the A and B strains of influenza virus, as well as several strains of the Herpes simplex virus responsible for cold sores. (1)
Another important component in this formula is the extremely well-rounded immune supportive herb Astragalus. It has been shown to strengthen immunity in several ways, including stimulating activity of macrophages, T-cells, and natural killer cells, as well as increasing the body’s production of interferons, and stimulating stem cells to develop into immune cells. (2,3). This yields improved antiviral and antibacterial immune activity.
Astragalus is also well-known for its toning and balancing anti-inflammatory and adaptogenic qualities. This makes it extremely suitable for maintaining or regaining one's strength and energy during or after illness.
A Unique South American herb Called Pau d'Arco
Yet another herb in Optimum Immunity that contains a broad range of identified active compounds is Pau d’arco. Native to South America, it has been used on a traditional basis to treat a dizzying array of physical challenges, because of its anti inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. (4)
Though the most common traditional use that has emerged for Pau d’arco in Western culture is as an aid against Candida yeast and other fungal issues, I have personally found that it is hugely under-appreciated for its antiviral abilities.
Antibacterial and Antiviral Benefits
Also contributing to the antiviral properties of Optimum Immunity are the herbs Goldenseal, and Resveratrol, well-established for their antibacterial, antiviral, and anti inflammatory activities. (5, 6) Traditionally dubbed “the king of mucous membranes”, Goldenseal also has a soothing effect on the linings of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, making it useful for the irritations and discomforts typically associated with colds and flus.
When it comes to Resveratrol, the biggest challenge is often sorting through the sheer volume of recent research on its myriad of documented benefits, including being anti-viral. (I highly recommend doing critical internet searches on it, and discovering for yourself how strange it is that so many claim “there are no studies.”)
The Powerful Botanical Andrographis paniculata
Still another useful botanical in this formula is Andrographis paniculata. Examined in depth for its mechanisms of action against viruses, Andrographis has also been shown helpful for a long list of conditions due to its antibacterial, anti inflammatory, and liver protective qualities. (7) Several studies have also shown that when Andrographis is combined with Siberian Ginseng, (included in this formula), it can provide significant improvement of cold symptoms. (8)
An aside: It is actually Astragalus and Andrographis to which I would most attribute the immune balancing effects of this formula. In my experience, and that of my clients, Optimum Immunity is a boon for those suffering with food allergies and reactions. And the good thing is it doesn't seem to matter when you take it...with food or not. Especially taken with DDS probiotics, I have seen it relieve food reactions within 10-15 minutes countless times.
Additional immune support ingredients
Rounding out the ingredients in Optimum Immunity is the herb Bitter Melon, and the mineral Zinc. Though Bitter Melon is best known for its ability to lower blood sugar, it is also well documented for a broad spectrum of antimicrobial effects, including being antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. (9) And of course Zinc is well known for its critical roles in supporting normal immune function. So whether you are using this product for support against colds or flu, or against candida and fungus, or just as general immune support, you can be assured that Optimum Immunity contains ingredients that were selected to provide both immune protection and balance.
Important Note: Though the herbs in this formula all carry a wide margin of safety, it is unadvisable for pregnant women to use. As well, anyone taking prescription blood thinning, or diabetic medications should consult a qualified health practitioner before using this product. Also, if you are seeking an anti candida or anti fungal action start with 1 capsule per day and increase slowly to avoid die-off effects. As per Health Canada for best results do not use this product continuously for more than 21 days. Take a few hours before or after taking other medications. John Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.
- Alternative Medicine Review; Vol 10, #1, Mar 2005: monograph, pp 51-55.
- Hoffman, D; Medical Herbalism – the science and practice of herbal medicine; Healing Arts Press, 2003: p 532.
- Alternative Medicine Review; Vol 8, #1, Feb 2003: monograph, pp 72-77.
- Taylor, L; Herbal Secrets of the Rainforest; the healing power of over 50 medicinal plants; Prima Publishing, 1998:pp 182-187.
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database 2009: Therapeutic Research Faculty; ed.11, 2009: pp 776-778.
- Ibid, pp. 1370-1372.
- Andrographis – In Depth Review; http://www.altcancer.com/andcan.htm#top
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database 2009: Therapeutic Research Faculty; ed.11, 2009: pp 746-750.
- Alternative Medicine Review; Vol 12, #4, Dec 2007: monograph, pp 360-363.