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5 Best Herbal Teas for Your Immune System

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For thousands of years, herbal teas have been used in traditional medicine to improve immunity against illnesses. More recently the effectiveness of these natural remedies has been backed up by research.

With an increasing amount of highly contagious viruses, having a healthy and effective immune defense is super important.

Read this article and find out what are the best herbal teas for boosting your immune system.

Teas for Immune system

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How The Immune System Works

To give you comprehensive information about this topic, I’ll begin by explaining what our immune system consists of and how it works. This is important so you can have a good understanding of how to use herbal teas to build up your immunity.

Our immune system comprises organs, cells, and proteins that protect the body from foreign invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites (pathogens), and harmful substances like toxins.

The most important components of our immune system are:

  • White blood cells, or leukocytes, circulating in our blood vessels, as well as the lymphatic vessels, are constantly on the lookout for pathogens. If they find a target, they start multiplying and sending signals to other cells.
  • Antibodies are proteins that our immune system produces to protect us. A healthy and effective immune system has a large surplus of different types of antibodies.
  • The complement system enhances the ability of phagocytic cells (a type of white blood cell) and antibodies with attacking germs, promoting inflammation, and clearing damaged cells.
  • The lymphatic system has an important role in the immune functions as it is the first line of defense against disease. It consists of vessels and nodes circulating the lymph fluid that contains infection-fighting white blood cells.
  • The spleen helps our body fight infection by detecting any unwelcome micro-organisms (like bacteria or viruses) in the blood.
  • Bone marrow has a very important role in our immune system because it produces all of our blood cells including the white blood cells.
  • The thymus has a vital role in the training and development of T cells (also known as T lymphocytes).

Proteins on the surfaces of pathogens trigger the immune system and cause it to make antibodies to destroy the harmful invaders. The system also produces inflammation to fight off infections and help the body heal itself.

The immune system keeps a record of all germs that it encounters. So after defeating a threat once, it can recognize and eliminate it more effectively, if it attacks our body again.

white blood cell types
Different types of white blood cells

White blood cells can be divided into 5 main types:

  • Neutrophils are the most numerous type of white blood cells and they defend us against bacterial or fungal infection.
  • Eosinophils are mostly found in the mucous membranes of the respiratory, digestive, and lower urinary tracts, and their main function is to deal with parasitic infections. They are also the main inflammatory cells related to allergic reactions.
  • Basophils are the rarest type of white blood cells and have an important role in allergic and antigen response. They can release histamine that causes the dilation of blood vessels.
  • Monocytes are the largest white blood cells and act as cleaners, and they also help T cells with recognizing and killing pathogens. Monocytes first circulate in the bloodstream for about one to three days and then become tissue macrophages that remove dead cell debris and attack micro-organisms.
  • Lymphocytes are commonly found circulating in the lymphatic system and include B cells that secrete antibodies, T cells that kill infected host cells, and natural killer cells that provide rapid responses to virus-infected cells and respond to tumor formation.

People get sick when the immune system grows weak or is overcome by a new type of threat it can not suppress. In this state, it is unable to fight off aggressive germs, including unfamiliar ones that never attacked the body before.

Common reasons for weakened immunity are poor nutrition, smoking, chronic alcohol consumption, and illness.

Meanwhile, risk factors include stress, lack of exercise, medication, obesity, and radiation exposure.

In some cases, the immune system becomes hypersensitive to things that are not harmful, like your own body cells. Too much inflammation is produced as a result and can eventually cause damage to healthy cells, tissues, and organs (an autoimmune response). 

This, in turn, lowers the body’s ability to protect itself against illnesses. An overproduction of inflammation is linked to chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.

5 Best Herbal Teas for Boosting Your Immune System

I have put together a list with 5 best herbal teas that help you with staying fit and avoiding illness. You can use them for many purposes including relieving of cold and flu symptoms, reducing inflammation, and promoting cell repair.

1. Echinacea Tea

The roots, leaves, and flowers of the echinacea plant have been traditionally used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans of the Great Plains region. This popular herbal remedy is long known for its ability to fight cold and flu symptoms in the early stages and even shorten their duration.

purple echinacea flower
Echinacea flower

A study from 2004 found that drinking immune-boosting echinacea tea at the early onset of cold or flu symptoms is an effective way to relieve these symptoms. Not only that, but the symptoms also subsided in a shorter period of time compared to using cold and flu medicines. The study was carried out on 95 participants and each of them ingested 5 to 6 cups of Echinacea Plus tea per day.

Researchers believe this herb has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral agents that work to strengthen the immune system, so it can fight off cold and flu viruses. The antioxidants it contains are able to destroy toxins in the body that damage or cause our cells to deteriorate faster.

Echinacea can also help in the growth and repair of immune cells damaged from chronic inflammation in the body. Additionally, it has anti-hypersensitive properties that may reduce the body’s overreaction to harmless things.

With all these qualities, echinacea tea is definitely one of the best natural remedies for boosting your immunity!

Product recommendation: Yogi Organic Echinacea Tea

2. Elderberry Tea

Low immunity can make you especially prone to frequent colds and flu. If this tends to happen to you, elderberry tea may help boost your immune system and prevent you from getting sick.

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) is a fruit traditionally used for its anti-influenza effects and for fighting upper respiratory infections.

A study evaluating the antiviral effects of concentrated elderberry juice found that the juice was especially good for treating influenza and colds. They also concluded that it can stimulate immune system response as well as prevent viral infections because of the antioxidants it contains.

elderberry juice

Another study on the use of elderberry syrup for treating influenza A and B infections suggests that elderberry extract is a safe, efficient, and cost-effective treatment for influenza. The patients receiving elderberry syrup daily experienced that the flu symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier compared to the placebo group.

What’s more, the antioxidants and vitamins found in elderberry tea, extract, or juice can help to counteract oxidative stress on the body. Oxidative stress refers to the immune system’s inability to neutralize free radicals (toxins). When this happens toxins build up in the body and damage healthy body cells.

Oxidative stress can also cause chronic inflammation, which may then cause or worsen certain diseases or conditions. They include inflammatory diseases or autoimmune diseases such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. The same study on the juice of elderberry also found that elderberry may help prevent diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

If you are going to buy elderberry tea, I recommend Buddha Teas Organic Elderberry Tea.

3. Astragalus Tea

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is a plant used for generations in traditional Chinese medicine. Like elderberry tea, it has antioxidant and antiviral effects and can stimulate the immune system to help prevent colds.

This root herb also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds that help prevent infection and promote wound healing. 

Here are some other things to bear in mind about astragalus:

  • It can lower the blood sugar of diabetics
  • Can be used to treat chronic viral hepatitis B
  • Aids with protecting against heart disease, kidney disease, and seasonal allergies
  • It also has anti-tumor effects that may help fight cancers such as leukemia and melanoma
astralagus root
Sliced astragalus root

Studies done on mice found that astragalus is a potential treatment for the Coxsackie virus B3, a pathogen linked to heart disease. Researchers also tested astragalus as a possible treatment for a weakened immune system caused by radiation or chemotherapy.

Astragalus tea has definitely earned its place as one of the best herbal teas for the immune system. It is easy to make it with astragalus tea bags or by boiling dried, shredded astragalus root in water.

Product recommendation: Buddha Teas Organic Astragalus Tea

4. Turmeric Tea

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a root herb with an active compound called curcumin. It is known especially for its anti-inflammatory effects on the body. This ties in well with the immune system function, which is to regulate inflammation production.

fresh turmeric root

Inflammation disorder is an underlying cause of chronic diseases such as arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Thus, a steady dose of turmeric tea may help with preventing immune overreaction and overproduction of inflammation.

Turmeric is seen as a potent agent that activates the T cells, B cells, and other immune cells that function to protect the body. Research also suggests that turmeric may lower cortisol levels and prevent immune system impairment.

Furthermore, curcumin’s antibody response and ability to regulate the immune system functions suggest that it may have beneficial effects in people with allergy, asthma, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. 

Based on turmeric’s ability to influence positive immune response, more research is underway to test its potential as a therapy for immune disorders.

With all these positive qualities, drinking tea made from turmeric is another effective way to boost your immune system.

I recommend that you read my guide on the best turmeric teas to find a high-quality product.

5. Ginger Tea

Ginger tea is an ancient Chinese herbal medicine that is well-known for its immune-boosting properties. It supports immune health because it is rich in antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory agents that help combat inflammation. 

Even more, ginger root has antiviral and antibacterial properties that may help the body fight off common colds, flu, and germ invasion. One study concludes that ginger is a potential treatment for diseases such as diabetes and cancer since it nourishes the immune system and fights inflammation.

ginger root on cutting board

Chronic digestive issues, such as Crohns’s disease and ulceration colitis, are often due to problems with the immune cells in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. As ginger tea aids our digestive function, it can be used to prevent and treat these conditions. 

You can brew a warm cup of ginger tea from fresh or dried ginger root, or make things even more convenient by using high-quality tea bags. Add fresh lemon and raw honey to taste if you like. While you sip this delicious goodness, think of its immune-boosting benefits.

Want to order some ginger tea? Read my guide on the best ginger tea products on the market.

Boost Your Immune Defense With Herbal Teas!

When you feel sick, it is just too easy to take a painkiller to make you feel better. But that means you are only treating the symptoms and not the actual cause.

There are many ways to improve your overall health and avoid getting sick. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and a sufficient amount of sleep are some of the most important aspects of taking care of your body.

Yet, sometimes you might need something extra to provide further assistance to your immune system.

It’s time to start using natural remedies for boosting your body’s own defenses!

The herbal teas introduced in this guide contain powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-bacterial compounds that can bolster immune function. 

These herbal teas are delicious, easy to make, and packed with medicinal benefits to beef up and help balance your immune system. Just follow the links in this article to find the best herbal tea brands and products.

Here are a few more articles that you might find interesting:

Ps. If you found this article useful, share it so others can also find it. Thanks!

Enjoy your herbal teas and stay healthy!


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12 thoughts on “5 Best Herbal Teas for Your Immune System”

  1. Hey Joonas,

    Love your article as I love herbal tea, especially ginger tea. I drink it quite a lot, and now that I know it will help my immune system, especially now that we are in this pandemic, I think I might drink it a bit more.

    I’ll let you know which one I find the best and which one seems to make me feel better.

    Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.

    All the best,


    • Hi Tom,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Drinking ginger tea is definitely a good habit and will help you with staying healthy. In addition, I have noticed it is a very good digestive aid so I often drink it after a meal.

      Let me know about your favorite ginger tea!

      Best Regards,

  2. This is a great post, full of information and then broken down into some choices and the call to action. It is well constructed and the imagery adds to the post.
    Very well presented

  3. I found your post to be very informative and interesting read. I really enjoyed the way you describe the immune system and then the recommendations of herbal teas. I have taken the ginger tea and turmeric tea but never considered the elderberry tea. I might invest into it in the future.

    Your post is very much relevant in the current crises of during this pandemic.


    • Hi Habib,

      I’m really happy to hear that you liked my article and found it informative. Ginger and turmeric tea are some of my favorites also, but I recommend you try elderberry and echinacea also, as they can really help you with preventing flu and getting better faster.


  4. Hi Joonas,

    Well, what a lovely post very informative and you cover a lot of different areas with loads of great herbal remedies and I do love the herbal teas.
    Ginger tea is so good.
    So African rooibos tea, another good one I drink about 80% of the time have you tried that what’s your views on that.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Tommy,

      Great to hear that you found useful information on my post.

      I love rooibos tea. I have also an article about it here. I think it is one of the best teas for your health!


  5. I prefer to get most of my nutrition from taking capsules instead of drinking tea, but I also take a natural iron water sachet and drink quite a lot of orange juice too. There’s some good insight into how the immune system works near the start of this post as well – all the best with your website for the future.

    • Hi Simon,

      You can definitely use herbs in many ways: drink herbal teas, add fresh herbs into salads and cooking, or use supplement capsules and extracts.

      I use a lot of herbs when cooking and I also drink herbal teas daily. I don’t like the capsules so much because that way you don’t get to taste the herbs. However, if I really want to get a large amount of something, let’s say turmeric for joint pain, I might use capsules daily for a few weeks.

      Thanks for commenting and all the best,

  6. What a nice post you wrote ! I really enjoyed reading it and could not be silent about your post so I decided to leave my comment here and say Thank You for sharing this quality post. Actually I was looking for information about the best herbal teas for immune system and when I landed on your website and read this post, it answered all my questions in details and it was exactly what I wanted to know.

    I’m happy that you’ve decided to write about this topic and share it with others. It’s very useful post in my opinion and can definitely be used as a great source for everyone who is interested in this topic.

    I will definitely come back to your site again to read more posts. Keep up quality articles! 🙂


    • Hi Ali,

      I’m very happy to hear that my article provided you with the information you were searching for.

      Also, thanks for posting a comment! Feedback is always welcome, and positive feedback is very motivating.

      All the best,


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