Echinacea and the Immune system

The immune system – A potent force

The immune system is the part of our body which protects us from infection. Let’s imagine the cells that make up the immune system are a large and diversified police force. In a perfect world the policing of the streets would work perfectly with a high level of law and order, and whatever crime there was would be dealt with swiftly and efficiently. Even larger disturbances would not unduly affect the rest of society because of efficient policing. Law-abiding citizens would be left alone by the police to live in peace.

Imagine the body in the same way with a strong and balanced ‘policing’ immune system, responding to invading organisms quickly and efficiently, and recognizing ‘friendly’ organisms which carry out appropriate suppression and immune tolerance.

 

When things go wrong with the immune system

Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world. Both crime and infections do take place, and sometimes this happens much too often, affecting both the law-abiding public and similarly our bodies. Innocent bystanders sometimes become involved when crimes are committed and they can get hurt or killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It can also happen in the body – immune system cells which are attracted to an area of infection may cause damage to healthy body cells as well as unhealthy invading organisms (or pathogens), which produce disease.

This is what happens with cold and flu infections. With a cold, virus invades the tissues at the back of the throat. Alarm signals are raised and the immune system responds to the infection by producing a number of chemicals which cause inflammation – the main purpose of which is to rid the body of the infection.

However, it is these chemicals produced by the response of the immune system, rather than the viral infection itself, which cause the symptoms we are familiar with – itching throat, runny or blocked nose, sore throat etc.

 

A weak immune system = ineffective policing

Poor organisation and inefficiency of policing can lead to an increased crime rate which in turn strains resources and sets up a vicious circle. The weakened immune system may not respond effectively to infections, letting them get out of control and become chronic. This can wear down the immune system and the body as a whole.

The immune system out of control – corruption

Sometimes some of the policemen get out of control (that rings a bell), and become corrupt, helping criminal elements and threatening society. When the immune system loses control of some of its cells the normal, healthy body cells may come under attack and be destroyed. This is called an autoimmune process – an example of an autoimmune disease is rheumatoid arthritis.


 

 

Make the immune system stronger by tackling the root cause

Politicians (and the majority of the public) want to live in a world where law and order prevails in the same way as we all wish for perfect health, and this latter depends a lot on the immune system.

There are some calls for the root causes of crime, vandalism and riots to be dealt with in a positive way, rather than ending up with many more police on the streets, suppressing violence and putting more people in prison. The ultimate aim is to create a positive environment in which people can live happily alongside each other to the benefit of everyone.

Echinacea strengthens the immune system through a variety of means so that the body is more resistant to infections and viruses when it faces them, preventing illness and enabling us to recover more quickly when we are ill.  It is not constantly battling bacteria and viruses because it deals with the root cause of problems,