The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1057: How Can You Improve Your Immune Response?

Learn how you can strengthen your immune response to lower your likelihood of colds and flu. What herbs will help with this?
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How Can You Improve Your Immune Response?

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The original air date for this radio show is November 5, 2016, at 0700 EDT.

In this season of colds, do you know how to improve your immune response and lower your susceptibility? Dr. Tieraona Low Dog discusses a wide range of natural approaches to improving your immunity to respiratory viruses.

You could start with simple steps like getting enough sleep and proceed to taking herbs like astragalus. It can easily be incorporated into soup, rice or other foods. This herb is part of the medical tradition of China. So are the immune-boosting mushrooms she mentioned, shitaki, maitaki and reishi. Dr. Low Dog cites research that ginseng (another Chinese herb) together with astragalus can boost the immune response to a flu shot.

Cooking with Herbs Every Day:

Many other herbs, such as ashwagandha, come from the Ayurvedic tradition of India. Listen to the interview to find out how ashwagandha can help people turn off the internal dialog at the end of the day and fall asleep.

We also discuss the role that other Ayurvedic herbs such as turmeric could play in reducing the chance of developing dementia. Indian herbs are not the only ones with the potential to improve our health. Dr. Low Dog believes that we could reap health rewards with our consistent use of culinary herbs typical of Mediterranean cuisine such as basil, thyme and rosemary. Those are not the only herbs and spices that could boost our cardiovascular and neurological health. Those common in other food traditions, from South Asia to South America, could also help improve our health. Daily consumption of such herbs might even help improve our immune response.

Health Care Controversies:

We invited Dr. Low Dog to share her perspective on some current controversies in medicine. In response, she offers her views on the use of statins, the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders and the benefits of nutritional supplements.

This Week’s Guest:

Tieraona Low Dog, MD, is Fellowship Director of the Interprofessional Fellowship in Integrative Health & Medicine with the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine. She is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements, herbal medicine and women’s health.

Dr. Low Dog is a founding member of the American Board of Physician Specialties, American Board of Integrative Medicine and the Academy of Women’s Health. She was elected Chair of the US Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplements/Botanicals Expert Committee and was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Her books include: Women’s Health in Complementary and Integrative Medicine; Life Is Your Best Medicine; and Healthy at Home. Her latest is Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and More. For more information, see her website: We are also proud to offer a combination of her book with a CD of our previous interview regarding the importance of nutritional supplements. Here is a link to this “Listen and Read” offer.

For more information on culinary herbs and spices:

Learn how to follow Dr. Low Dog’s advice to use herbs liberally every day. Our brand-new book on culinary spices and herbs is now available. You get research, recipes and remedies in Spice Up Your Health: How Everyday Kitchen Herbs & Spices Can Lengthen & Strengthen Your Life from People’s Pharmacy Press. Designed specially for public radio listeners! If you love Dr. Low Dog we think you will find Spice Up Your Health right up your alley.

 Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date, which is 11/5/16. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Show 1057: How Can You Improve Your Immune Response?
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Learn how you can strengthen your immune response to lower your likelihood of colds and flu. What herbs will help with this?

Show 1057: How Can You Improve Your Immune Response?
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I am an asthma patient and take prednisone tablets, as needed. Is it safe to use asyragalus in any form?

All of the herbs and spices recommended are not suppose to be taken with people with CKD…so why are they recommended if they would harm your kidneys in the long run, that is why if you do not have kidney issues and you start taking them, you would end up with kidney disease? Please give some inside on this critical subject.
Thank you I am a regular subscripted to your most informative website.

I am an avid follower of your site. I travel in an RV almost fulltime so I must rely on my phone for internet access. Although reading printed text is fairly low on data usage, watching video or downloading anything results in a significant hit to my data allotment. Thus I must go to a library to get access to that kind if internet access. Would it be a significant cost in time and effort to provide a transcript of your weekly podcasts–or is there already a way to read transcripts of your programs? Thank you very much for the great work that you do!

Where do we find Astragalus, ashwaganda and Macopa? For instance when she speaks of buying Astragalus in bulk, is she going to an Asian market and buying a bung of it like one would buy beans etc. –Does they come also in tablet form or what?

What is the story on Macopa?

I assumed I could read or listen to the information presented on this program.This appears to be a commercial to sell the information.

Controlling the common cold is simple. At the first sign, start vitamin C (ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate) at 1,000 mg every hour or 2 grams every 2 hours. See Robert Cathcart, or Linus Pauling. It works for me. Signs of a cold disappear in 3 to 4 hours. I never felt sick. After 3 days all feelings of a cold were gone but I continued the vitamins for another day to keep it from returning.

Dr. Low Dog’s previous suggestions for fighting viral and bacterial infections with Thyme and Sage teas have been nothing short of amazing – more effective and safer than Cipro. Adding Ginger for congestion has also worked for my friends and family.

I have had a 10 month old female goat with soil/lung worms with cough, dyspnea on exertion and diarrhea which did not respond at all to several doses of worming pesticide. Unable to get another pesticide last weekend from the vet., I thought about the resistant headlice which is better treated with anise oil which drives the lice off the hair and the likelihood of secondary lung infections and inflammation which the worms spreading through the venous circulation would cause.

Between the second and third doses in 2 days, of Thyme, Fennel seed and Anise seed which I mixed with Oats, the stools returned to normal and the goat followed me up hills without cough or dyspnea which had been present since June in varying degree. I think worms may not like Anise too much.

I am very sceptical about supplements, but I did try apple cider vinegar with beetroot juice and my blood pressure dropped 10 points .

Please get the guest’s comments on dealing with a hyper-aggressive autoimmune system.

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