Regarding what falls into the immune health products space, we can check off a number of boxes: vitamins, minerals, herbs, digestive health products, homeopathies as well as others. Adding another wrinkle to this massive market is the fact that whole body immunity is quite a complex subject.
It involves not just fending off the common cold, but also keeping cells healthy long-term, alleviating symptoms when they occur, achieving victory over foreign invaders and disease states, and when necessary, orchestrating the process of recovery. In fact, when reviewing supplements that may help in this area and the latest research behind them, it may help to view immune health not in terms of a well-defined “immune system,” but as the process of staying well.
Vitamins, Minerals and More
Efficient and robust immune function requires nutrient resources galore. Most vitamins, as well as many minerals and other compounds, all rank high on the list of needs. Vitamins A, C, D and E, along with minerals including zinc and selenium, are known to support immune function when taken as supplements, according to Maile Combs, associate director of scientific affairs for The Ester-C Company, Ronkonkoma, NY.
Vitamin C is critical for immune health in many ways. “Vitamin C is essential for overall immune responses and supports the function of immune cells, such as phagocytic cells and T-cells,” says Lisa Lent, founder and CEO of Watsonville, CA-based Vitalah, creator of Oxylent. A phagocyte is any white blood cell (WBC) tasked with ingesting, and thereby destroying, foreign particles or bacteria. Lent adds that vitamin C is rapidly depleted by stress and is excreted quickly even under normal circumstances, necessitating constant replenishment.
The WBCs that populate the immune system naturally produce free radicals to do their job. To counterbalance this, Combs notes that WBCs maintain higher levels of vitamin C than other cells in the body. “Free radicals can damage cell membranes. Through its antioxidant actions, vitamin C can neutralize these free radicals,” she says.
Vitamins C and E are both powerful antioxidants, and aid in the formation of antibodies to fight off infection, according to Aleksandra Niedzwiecki, Ph.D., CEO and director of research at the Dr. Rath Research Institute, Santa Clara, CA. She adds that vitamin C is also involved in the recycling and reuse of vitamin E throughout the body. According to Iris Bell, M.D., Ph.D., medical director and director of scientific affairs at Standard Homeopathic/Hyland’s Inc., Los Angeles, CA, vitamin E may beneficially modulate immune function through its anti-inflammatory effects.
New insights are pouring in about the immune-modulating activity of vitamin D. A study conducted at the University of Copenhagen, cited by Erin Stokes, N.D., director of education for MegaFood, Derry, NJ, details the way T-cells rely on vitamin D to be activated (1). “When our bodies are exposed to a pathogen, we need vitamin D to turn on our immune defenses. Without adequate amounts, we will not be able to fight infections as powerfully,” Stokes says. Along with vitamin D, the vitamin A precursor beta-carotene helps to enhance immune response, Niedzwiecki says.
The uptake of vitamin A itself, “the other fat-soluble vitamin,” has perhaps been impacted by the buzz surrounding vitamin D, according to Chris D. Meletis, N.D., director of science and research for Trace Minerals Research, Ogden, UT. “A diet replete with vitamin D is crucial, but when cranking up vitamin D as a fat-soluble vitamin beyond normal dietary intake levels, there must be consideration given to vitamin A status and absorption,” he says.
“The B group of vitamins are also an essential part of healthy immunity, especially vitamins B12 and B6,” says Niedzwiecki. Together they promote the production of antibodies, as well as various immune system cells and proteins, Lent elaborates. Vitamin B12 is necessary for blood cell maturation, and by increasing CD8 T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells, B12 modulates the immune system. B6, meanwhile, contributes to mucous membrane formation, which Niedzwiecki points out is one of the primary barriers against invading organisms. B6 is also a factor in the maturation of lymphocytes including T- and NK cells.
“Deficiency of vitamin B12 is especially likely in people with stomach problems or in the elderly,” Niedzwiecki says, making both groups prime candidates for supplementation. B12 absorption and storage requires a glycoprotein called intrinsic factor, which is secreted by stomach cells. Secretion of intrinsic factor, she notes, tapers off with age.
B vitamins are cofactors in cysteine production, as well. Cysteine is an important component in the synthesis of the critical cellular antioxidant, glutathione. This compound is also made up of the amino acids glycine and glutamic acid as well as cysteine, Niedzwiecki says. But these are all non- or semi-essential amino acids produced in the body. As far as supplements go, vitamins C and E as well as glutamine and alpha lipoic acid can act as precursors of glutathione.
Minerals perform many of the same immunity-aiding functions already detailed about vitamins. “Zinc helps in the production and function of WBCs, especially T and B lymphocytes, to fight off invaders. Zinc, in synergy with copper, stimulates internal glutathione production,” says Niedzwiecki. Researchers debate the evidence of zinc’s ability to combat colds, Bell explains. In any case, she emphasizes, it is important that intakes of zinc are balanced with those of copper, because a mineral imbalance is possible if consumers aren’t careful.
Lent notes that zinc is part of more enzymatic processes than any other mineral, and also emphasizes that many people are deficient in zinc. Too often, Meletis says, zinc levels run low during youth, as the mineral is highly utilized in bone development. A 2012 review of zinc deficiency in humans found it is essential for cell-mediated immunity (2).
“Likewise, selenium is essential for glutathione production. When glutathione levels become deregulated, altered immune and autoimmune anomalies arise,” Meletis says. Selenium is critical to both the adaptive, or specific immune system, and the immune system’s innate arm, Lent adds. The evolutionarily-older innate immune system combats foreign substances with physical barriers and a set of immune cells tailored for certain jobs, like WBCs. Adaptive immunity involves lymphocytes storing specific pathogens in their “memory” for future reference, so that antibodies will be ready if that challenge comes again. Selenium can also, says Niedzwiecki, work in tandem with vitamin E to help bolster antibody production.
Amino acids have been mentioned, but it is important to truly emphasize their role in immune health. Arginine and lysine, Lent explains, both work to improve immune function. Arginine boosts the output of T-cells from the thymus, she says, while lysine regulates body chemistry and pH to keep things inhospitable for pathogens and viruses.
Niedzwiecki tells us more about lysine, including the fact that it is not produced in the body. It does its immune work by inhibiting enzymes, which pathogens can use to destroy tissue and spread. Lysine becomes even more effective in the presence of vitamin C, which helps keep collagen strong enough to provide a natural barrier against unwelcome invaders.
Lent points to bioflavonoids derived from fruit for their antioxidant potential as well. They can aid vitamin C in doing its job, and also slow the breakdown of this vitamin. Finally, co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is vital to energy generation in all the body’s cells at the mitochondrial level, including those related to immunity, according to Lent.
Bovine colostrum is another resource in the immune health arena. A bioactive peptide complex extracted from the whey fraction of colostrum (Immunel from Sterling Technology) has been shown to activate and mobilize immune cells quickly, according to Dilip Patel, director of R&D, and Angela Walter, business development manager for Sterling Technology, Brookings, SD. “Studies on the immune components of colostrum showed that when concentrated and separated, they are more directly effective as an immediate immune enhancer,” say Patel and Walter (3). The accelerated, targeted immune effects they refer to are said to include NK cell activation, antioxidant activity, production of cytokines known for supporting the humoral immune response and other actions.
The Immune/Digestion Connection
A commonly cited statistic among experts, including those interviewed for this feature, is that 70% of the body’s immune cells are located in the digestive tract. The mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) that is present throughout the body and includes gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), together with trillions of probiotics and microbes, form the majority of the immune system, according to Meletis. In addition to the large percentage of immune cells making their home in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, Combs explains that the epithelial barrier presents a physical blockade, allowing only desired particles to enter circulation. Both areas can be targeted for improvement through immune-supportive supplements.
Enzymes are a major part of this equation. According to Frank J. King Jr., N.D., D.C., president of King Bio, Asheville, NC, when the digestive tract breaks down foods using its own enzymes and bacteria, nutrients can efficiently reach the bloodstream and liver. When the blood is well nourished and the liver and other organs are working properly without being burdened by toxins, the immune system performs optimally.
King notes that in this era of processed, denatured convenience food and antibiotics, a majority of people have compromised digestive systems. “The simple addition of enzymes that help break down the foods we eat, and probiotics that help maintain the active bacteria in our guts, will greatly aid in building our immune systems,” King says.
Enzyme products designed specifically to benefit immunity are, however, a viable option for consumers, according to Dave Barton, director of education for Enzymedica, Port Charlotte, FL. Food comes first in the competition for the attention of enzymes, and this fact dictates the way these supplements should be used. “When you take an enzyme on an empty stomach, even though it’s considered a large-molecule protein, it still has the ability to be absorbed if it’s not being challenged by other food substrates,” Barton says. Taking such supplements apart from food means the immune system can utilize these versatile enzymes toward its own ends.
In the context of immune health, Barton says, a focus is placed on proteolytic enzymes. In general, they break down the 3 Ds: Dead proteins, Damaged proteins and proteins that Do not belong. This is critical for immune support. “Almost everything that makes us sick actually has a protein connection,” from viruses to parasites to cancer cells, says Barton.
Enzymes target specific molecular shapes. “When a protein dies or becomes damaged, its shape becomes unbound. It’s called denaturing,” Barton says. When certain enzymes encounter these damaged proteins, they initiate the process of breaking them down into amino acids.
“This is a huge benefit to the immune system, because it literally means less work for your body,” he explains. The less work WBCs have to do, the more energy your body reserves for other immune activities and bodily processes. WBCs are full of proteolytic enzymes, but the body need not synthesize as many when one supplements with them.
Probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, constitute a continually growing market segment. Their success is mostly powered by their association with digestive benefits. Stokes tells her patients that probiotics are also a first-line fixture in the body’s plan of defense, and that they should think of them as key supplements for keeping the immune system strong. “I am particularly interested in recent research on early probiotic use in young children and how that may make them less likely to develop allergies and eczema,” she says.
They don’t just play an important role, but several important roles. “Probiotics can help encourage a favorable balance of microflora within the GI tract, maintaining enteric homeostasis, and supporting the normal function of the epithelial barrier and immune system,” says Combs. Part of their job when it comes to immunity is to crowd out all the bad tenants in the gut. “Probiotics, when existing in healthy colonies, prevent growth and thus activity of pathogenic or irrelevant bacteria that would compete for nutrition and attachment sites in the GI tract,” says Gregory Bonfilio, director of business development at Pharmachem Laboratories, Inc., Kearny, NJ.
Probiotics also impact immunity, Bonfilio goes on to detail, through their boost to digestion and therefore nutrient absorption, detoxification, modulation of immune cells and through the production of bacteriocins, “natural antibiotics” that protect against pathogens.
He says that a formulation of probiotic strains (Bifivir from Probiotical SpA, sourced through Pharmachem) has been shown to be effective in reducing the incidence and severity of seasonal ailments, including colds and upper respiratory infections. The total number of sick days in one study for the group that took the probiotic blend was less than half of those reported by the placebo group. This came along with a statistically significant improvement in symptom severity (4).
Mike Bush, vice president of business development at Ganeden Biotech, Mayfield Heights, OH, says there is a lot of strong data such as this surrounding probiotics for immune function. “We actually went so far as taking a look at the mechanism of action and found that our strain modulates the immune system,” Bush says of his company’s GanedenBC30. This means that it has been found to up-regulate beneficial immune cytokines, while down-regulating inflammatory cytokines.
It is thought that when this probiotic strain enters the body, the cell structure of the bacteria spurs the immune system to prepare for an immune challenge that is not truly present. When a similar but real and potentially harmful challenge does occur, the immune system will be more ready.
Though probiotics are almost always recognized for their activity in the GI tract, not all probiotic products follow this model, according to Heather Thompson, global marketing communications, Stratum Nutrition, St. Charles, MO. Streptacoccus salivarius, for example, can activate in the mouth and support oral health, which contributes to immune function.
“Oral health,” in this context, refers to a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth that affects the breath, teeth and gums and the health of the ears, nose and throat. Years of research has examined the ability of a specific strain of Streptacoccus salivarius (BLIS K12 from Stratum Nutrition) to help the oral cavity resist Streptacoccus pyogenes. This bacterium is a factor in infections such as otitis media, pharyngytis and tonsillitis, according to Thompson.
Some probiotics have been shown to cause issues in sick people with suppressed immune systems, according to Bush. “Probiotics are typically contraindicated in immune-compromised populations. We just finished a study with the AIDS Foundation of Los Angeles in an HIV population,” he says. He describes it as a major step forward, confirming what they suspected about this particular strain’s safety in populations with suppressed immune systems. Beyond safety, the results also showed improved immune function and GI health in this population (5).
As to the general safety of probiotics, Bush says that his company’s safety research turned up a generally recognized as safe dose of 94 billion CFU per day. The recommended efficacious dose is 500 million CFU. It is also important to consider efficacy and stability in the final product, as it makes its journey to its destination in the GI tract. “A significant quantity of the Lactobacilli (L. plantarum and L. rhamnosus) and of the Bifidobacteria (B. lactis) contained in Bifivir is able to survive when passing through the stomach and duodenum, hence guaranteeing the rapid colonization of the intestine,” Bonfilio says.
There is still work to do in bringing consumers around to the immune benefits of probiotics as compared to their awareness of the digestive side. This is mostly an issue in the United States. “Around the world, there are some great [probiotic] products on the market that are geared specifically towards immune health,” Bush says. One obstacle in the U.S., however, is regulatory oversight (see Dannon’s lawsuit settlement over its use of digestive and immune benefit claims on its yogurt ).
Another concept to be familiar with is that of prebiotics. They serve as “fuel” for probiotics, and therefore can be expected to produce immune health benefits. Bryan Rodriguez, technical marketing and scientific affairs manager for Lonza, Allendale, NJ points to larch arabinogalactan (LAG) as an example. This fermentable dietary fiber can indirectly lend a hand to digestion and immunity by propping up beneficial bacteria.
There are additional benefits associated with the LAG that Rodriguez describes (ResistAid from Lonza). Naturally occurring flavonoids present antioxidant potential. This ingredient calls upon the non-specific immune system as well as the adaptive in healthy adults, according to Rodriguez. “It also provides an immune-modulatory effect, meaning it can enhance the appropriate response to an antigen, as opposed to indiscriminately enhancing other arms of the immune system that would not be expected to respond,” he says.
LAG can count among its benefits the support of NK cells, cytokines and macrophages, which destroy harmful organisms. “LAG administered to healthy human subjects in combination with a standardized Echinacea extract was found to significantly increase human circulating peripheral blood monocytes,” Rodriguez says.
A branded short-chain fructo-oligosaccharide (scFOS) called NutraFlora, from Westchester, IL-based Ingredion, is a soluble fiber that is not digested by salivary or digestive enzymes. According to Ingredion, beneficial bacteria, Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli in particular, have been shown to ferment NutraFlora. These bacteria, when they flourish, produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). Protective effects on the gut, such as increased gut integrity, improved immunity via pathogen inhibition and improved nutrient absorption and metabolism have been associated with SCFAs. According to Ingredion, significant increases in Bifidobacteria can be seen with only 1 gram of scFOS per day.
Another carbohydrate ingredient (Wellmune WGP from Biothera, Eagan, MN) has been found to activate immune cells, specifically neutrophils. One double-blind study saw this natural beta 1,3/1,6 glucopolysaccharide (dervied from Bakers yeast) reduce the number of days where medical school students reported upper respiratory tract infection symptoms as compared to placebo (7). A similar effect, according to Biothera, has been found in marathon runners. This may be due to the fact that the ingredient has been shown to cut down on the immune system suppression associated with intense exercise.
The amino acid glutamine should also be counted among gut-centered immune-support options. It is necessary for the synthesis of DNA and RNA, according to Niedzwiecki, and has recently been reclassified as “conditionally essential.” The body does produce it, but higher levels of glutamine are often required during periods of stress, including inflammation or infection, she says.
Enterocytes, cells lining the intestines, use glutamine as a source of nutrition. Glutamine decreases the permeability of the intestines, and can be said to support immunity in that way. It is also, as previously stated, a building block of glutathione, and it promotes normal cell growth and division. Finally, Niedzwiecki says, glutamine is involved in the production of healthy lymphocytes, acts as a protective substance for the liver, stomach and intestinal lining, and may help increase absorption of nutrients through the intestinal mucous membrane.
Herbs and Homeopathy
Herbal solutions for medicinal purposes, aiding the body’s own defenses chief among them, are as old as civilization. “Herbs can and do affect all of the complex networks of tissues, organs, cells and bacterial flora that we depend on to maintain health,” says David Winston, RH(AHG), founder of Herbalist and Alchemist, Washington, NJ. Winston divides herbal immunity aids into three helpful categories: immune amphoteric herbs, immuno-stimulants and immuno-regulators.
Immune amphoteric herbs are those that strengthen the innate immune system, the adaptive immune system, the bone marrow, spleen and GALT. Their ranks include astragalus, schisandra, Asian ginseng and licorice. Aiding the cells in these tissues allows the immune system to function normally, according to Winston, so amphoteric herbs can be of help to both hyper-immune conditions like allergies and hypo-immune conditions like Lyme disease.
Immuno-stimulants are said to enhance, but not necessarily regulate immunity, by boosting macrophage and lymphocyte activity. Some herbs in this category may also possess antiviral or antibacterial properties. Herbs like echinacea, goldenseal and andrographis fall into this group, according to Winston.
Lastly, immuno-regulators are those that possess anti-inflammatory actions and can scale down immune responses without suppressing immunity. They may inhibit inflammatory cytokines and histamine release, and examples include turmeric, gotu kola and sarsaparilla.
For more information on herbs, including those that appear in the balance-focused system of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), we turn to information from Nu Century Herbs, Michigan City, IN (8). Though TCM incorporates other elements like acupuncture and diet suggestions, herbs form a crucial part of this ancient system. Just a few of the suggested herbal remedies include platycodon root, said to get rid of phlegm, inhibit cough and address bronchitis; peppermint, which may help relieve sinus congestion caused by allergy from pollen; and schizonepeta herba, an anti-inflammatory herb that may help swollen and painful throats, and is an anti-pyretic, or fever reducer.
Ayurveda is another ancient belief system that relies heavily on herbs, according to Autumn Blum, vice president, founder, formulator and cosmetic chemist for Organix-South, Bowling Green, FL. Many herbs in this tradition can be classified as adaptogens. Blum explains that these holistic herbs suit their action to the body’s needs, increasing strength and stamina during the day and allowing one to stay calm and focused for better sleep at night. “Lack of sleep, excessive stress and environmental changes can take their toll on your body’s immune response, making you much more susceptible to illness such as the flu or common cold,” Blum says.
Herbal blends in this tradition such as one from her company, may include turmeric, neem and ginger and adaptogens like ashwagandha, guduchi and holy basil. These herbs have specific and often overlapping actions associated with them. Ashwagandha is often used to address low energy and to aid the whole immune system. Ginger is described by Blum to enhance overall immunity, clear congestion and support digestion.
Based on extensive histories of use, it is often recommended that herbs be combined for their synergy. “One example would be taking black pepper, ginger or another herb containing piperene with holy basil or turmeric. This acts as a ‘bio-trigger’ to enhance the bioavailability of the other herbs,” Blum says.
Calling it her company’s “pet plant,” Eileen Sheets, managing director of Bioforce USA, Ghent, NY, describes the investment it has made into echinacea research. The goal is to determine the various modes of action this herb may possess.
Sheets says that an echinacea extract available from her company is derived from fresh plants, allowing it to deliver three times the beneficial alkylamide compounds that dried echinacea extract can. “The alkylamides bind specifically to the CB2-receptor, an endocannabinoid receptor on immune cells. Through this linkage, a modulatory effect on TNF-alpha takes place,” Sheets says, elaborating “The effect is that the immune response is modulated. Rather than spiking quickly and fading, it is more moderate but sustained over a longer period.” Viruses have also been found to not grow resistant to this form of echinacea, as they do with prescription Tamiflu, according to Sheets.
“Considering that herbs were really our first medicines, it’s a good bet that if specific varieties have been used for boosting the immune system in the past, then there’s some solid truth to it,” says Cheryl Myers, head of education and scientific affairs at EuroPharma, Green Bay, WI.
Two cold-fighting botanicals combined in one product that illustrate this point are Pelargonium sidoides and Andrographis paniculata. The first was used by the Zulu in South Africa to treat upper respiratory tract irritations, tuberculosis and gastrointestinal complaints. The latter, andrographis, has been used in the Ayurvedic tradition for thousands of years. “It is quite well known for its immune-supporting effects, and clinical trials have verified that andrographis can provide significant support for lung and respiratory health,” Myers says.
She also speaks to the method of plant oil concentration her company uses in its herbal formulas. “Bio-Typed oils, unlike oils used for aromatherapy, are intended for internal use, and they are stringently tested for safety and purity,” she says.
Myers emphasizes the relevance of curcumin to immune health, specifically a high-absorption curcumin available from her company (BCM 95). “We tend to think of curcumin as an anti-inflammatory, and it certainly is that. In fact, for reducing sinus swelling, and the aches and pains that often accompany a cold or flu, I’d say that there are few botanicals that can match it.” The high-absorption variety consists of micronized (small particle size) curcumin paired with turmeric essential oils. “That is why this specific bioavailable curcumin is being used in important research around the world.”
Mushrooms are prized for their beta-glucan content, and rightfully so, says Jerry Angelini, M.S., national science educator for Host Defense Organic Mushrooms, manufactured by Fungi Perfecti, Olympia, WA. “These complex polysaccharides (sugars) have been shown in scientific research to increase the production and augment the actions of the immune system, specifically macrophages and natural killer cells.”
Other elements contained in medicinal mushrooms are now being brought to the forefront for their immune benefits. “There are a number of triterpenoid compounds in reishi, chaga and turkey tail, for example, that have an impact on the inflammatory aspect of the immune system,” Angelini says. Evidence shows that these and other mushrooms have an inhibitory effect on cyclo-oxygenase II, interleukins and histamine release by mast cells.
Ergosterols, too, are found in abundance in mushrooms, and they are able to interact with the hormonal, or endocrine system, and can affect immunity that way. Progesterone, testosterone, cortisol and vitamin D are all influenced by ergosterols from mushrooms. Angelini says the balancing act that occurs between immune system cells and the hormonal system is still being studied but is nonetheless well-recognized.
Wasabi, though not a traditional herbal remedy, is a plant-based option with some unique properties for immune health. An ingredient (i-Sabi from BioCell Technology) derived from Wasabia japonica may provide selective inhibition of inflammatory molecule Cox-2 while leaving Cox-1 alone. “This selective inhibition is important because Cox-1 generates chemical messengers called prostaglandins that ensure the natural mucus lining to protect the inner stomach,” says Joosang Park Ph.D., vice president of scientific affairs at BioCell Technology, Newport Beach, CA.
Park goes on to say, “Among a variety of bioactive compounds, 6-HITC (6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate) is the most active component and the primary reason for the immune regulatory effect of wasabi.” Persistent oxidative damage makes many individuals vulnerable to infection and disease, and the wasabi plant could help immune systems to address this underlying cause, he adds.
Homeopathy is an entire practice and method unto its own that has much to offer immune health, but must be defined as distinct from the supplements market. To begin with, homeopathic medicines are for the relief of acute symptoms, not for prevention, according to Bell. It operates under the “law of similars,” which essentially posits that micro-doses of certain substances should be used to address symptoms that they may cause in larger doses. King gives the example of Allium cepa or red onion, which induces tearing and sneezing, but which he says can be used in small homeopathic doses to relieve the same symptoms.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration categorizes homeopathic products as “drugs,” according to Alissa Gould, public relations manager for Boiron USA, Newtown Square, PA. This makes them distinct from the supplements protected under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Like packaging for over-the-counter drugs, packaging for homeopathics must state the specific diseases or conditions for which the product is to be used, the recommended dosage and mode of application.
As an example, Gould says that her company’s product Oscillococcinum is to be taken at the very first sign of symptoms to nip a case of flu in the bud, with studies showing that this homeopathic remedy can reduce the severity and duration of flu symptoms. It is important to understand that homeopathic medicine does not promote immunity against bacteria or viruses like vaccines, as they do not trigger antibody production.
About the homeopathic products his company offers and their application to immune health, King says, “We have found one of the biggest foes to digestive health is the overgrowth of Candida albicans and other yeast-like organisms in the gut.” If Candida is overpopulating in the gut, digestion becomes compromised, and this then affects every other aspect of health, starting with immunity. Thus the need for homeopathic products that can, target multiple strains of Candida yeast. Homeopathy is also a practice that must be suited to the specific individual. King explains that one person may have an immune issue that can benefit most from echinacea, whereas another may see improvement from eucalyptus. Echinacea, he says, is known for its anti-inflammatory value, and eucalyptus is known for its antiseptic properties. WF
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Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2012