Natural Interferon Boosters
by Zoltan P. Rona MD, MSc
Interferon is a substance produced by the body's white cells to fight infections, cancer, allergies and toxic chemical poisoning. Interferon can be made artificially and injected for some cancers and viral infections like hepatitis C. Studies indicate that many natural substances can activate the body's own production of interferon. Some better known natural interferon boosters are:
•Astragalus: a Chinese herb that enhances the antibody reaction to foreign invaders of all types including cancer.
•Boneset: a native American Indian herb with antiseptic, anti-viral properties used for the treatment of colds and flus, coughs, fevers, indigestion and pain.
•Chlorophyll: a plant pigment which can be found in a long list of green leafy vegetables and algae like spirulina, chlorella and barley green.
•Coenzyme Q10: an antioxidant involved in the electron transport chain needed for all energy dependent processes in the body. CoQ10 increases helper T-cells and reduces infection risk.
•Echinacea: the most popular herb in North America used as a treatment for toothaches, bites or stings and all types of infections.
•Ginkgo: a potent central nervous system antioxidant for the treatment of circulation disorders, memory problems, high blood pressure, depression, tinnitus and immune system disorders.
•Licorice: an anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic herb used to boost energy, treat respiratory tract infections as well as female disorders, ulcers, adrenal insufficiency and congestion.
•Melatonin: a hormone produced by the pineal gland with strong antioxidant and immune system boosting properties.
•Milk Thistle (Silymarin): a herb most commonly recommended as a liver cleanser and complementary medical treatment for hepatitis.
•Medicinal Mushrooms: Reishi, Maitake, Shiitake, Kombucha and others stimulate many aspects of the immune system including the production of interferon.
•Siberian Ginseng: stimulates T-cell and B-cell activity, energy, libido, body fat burning and many stress-related conditions.
•Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, especially proanthocyanidins (pycnogenols) like grape seed extract, pine bark extract and bilberry, quercetin, hesperidin and catechin are powerful antioxidants.
There are over a dozen more natural interferon boosters available at most health food stores and pharmacies alone or in combination. For more information about safe and effective natural ways to boost immunity, see your health care practitioner.