Top Herbal Remedies to Improve a Diabetic Immune System

Immunosuppression, or a weakened immune response, is one of the primary complications of diabetes mellitus. Patients with a diabetic immune system are highly susceptible to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. This condition can improve with the right herbal remedies. 

According to the American Diabetes Association, patients with type 1 diabetes are at a lower risk of infection than type 2 diabetics. However, both forms of diabetes have findings congruent with overall lower immune systems. Understanding how diabetes affects the body’s natural defenses against disease is critical to reversing diabetes-induced immunosuppression. 

Here are seven ways diabetes hampers the natural immune response:
  • A high blood sugar level, or hyperglycaemia, interferes with the production of antibodies and their ability to combat pathogens. This allows microbes to thrive unchecked and cause disease.
  • Diabetes can sometimes induce reactions that facilitate the clogging of arteries by fatty tissue. Also known as atherosclerosis. Clogged arteries hinder the motion of white blood cells, preventing them from reaching infection sites quickly. 
  • The hardening of blood vessels also delays the healing of wounds. This is due to slow perfusion of blood through thickened channels. When clotting proteins fail to get to a wound on time, the repair mechanism is essentially postponed; compromising the body’s first line of defense, the skin. 
  • Diabetic neuropathy damages peripheral nerves, causing reduced sensitivity in the lower limbs. Sometimes this is accompanied by dry, cracked skin. These complications result in unnoticed foot injuries which can serve as a convenient ingress for microbes if left untreated.
  • Type 2 diabetes has been shown to increase acidity in pancreatic cells due to excess glycogen. Not only does this drastically weaken the natural immune response to germs, it also provides an environment that harbors microbes.
  • Patients with type 2 diabetes may also suffer from abnormal intestinal permeability. In this condition, toxins and microbes move freely through the walls of the intestine into the circulatory system. This further enhances the risk of infection in diabetic patients.
  • Mental stress which accompanies most health challenges is particularly harmful to the diabetic immune system. Stress can trigger a rise in the level of blood glucose, which worsens immunity in diabetics.

Diabetes and the Immune System 

A combination of all the above factors drastically increases the risk of contracting several ailments including foot infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and fungal infections of the ear, nose and throat.  This has adverse effects on the quality of life of people living with diabetes.

While patients with diabetes do not generally have a higher mortality from these infections, studies show that they often spend more time in the hospital and take longer to recover. However, a weak immune response with proper treatment, complemented with the right herbs and supplements can show improvement.

Why Use Herbal Remedies for Diabetes?

Herbalism or naturopathic medicine is a complementary mode of therapy that emphasizes whole-patient wellness. This implies that herbs cannot replace insulin prescribed by a doctor. However, a comprehensive treatment plan, including herbs and supplements to replace deficient nutrients, will normalize blood sugar and improve immune response. 

Although herbal remedies cannot cure diabetes, naturopathic care providers have shown severally that they can be very effective in ameliorating diabetic symptoms, particularly immunosuppression. If you’re looking for a herbal remedy to improve your immune system’s defenses, check out this list of tried-and-true herbal recipes.

Five Herbal Remedies to Improve a Diabetic Immune System

Elderberry Syrup

The elder plant (Sambuctus nigra) is a popular source of herbs that can bolster immune health in cold weather months. During winter, people living with diabetes may have persistent flu that lingers for weeks or months. Flu symptoms are emphasized and prolonged when you suffer from diabetes.

Elderberry syrup is a choice remedy to restore normal function to a diabetic immune system. The recipe popularized by Tieraona Low Dog, M.D, R.H. is suitable for adults and children over a year old. It is a classic elderberry recipe that is known to relieve stress while keeping the immune system in pristine condition. 

Fire Cider

This herbal remedy created by the renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstone is a tasty infusion of apple cider vinegar, onions, ginger and several other locally available ingredients.  Inexpensive and easy to make, this recipe can be diluted with warm water and taken with meals, or used as a daily tonic during winter.

Fire cider has been a herbal legacy for over forty years not only because of its taste, but also its efficacy as a supportive remedy for conditions during winter. It is just one of several immune boosting recipes in Gladstone’s book, Fire Cider!

Reishi Chai Tea

Using organic chai and slices of reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum), it is possible to brew a spicy herbal infusion with the strong aroma and taste of coffee. Wild mushrooms support immune health, and when blended with chai, to alter the course of physical, mental and immune health in diabetics

This particular recipe of reishi mushroom chai tea completely cuts out on the preservatives and sugar that is common with commercial tea products. It is an effective booster for the diabetic immune system.

Ech and Roots

Root decoctions are simmered teas with extracted essences from dried plant roots. Depending on the herb used, a root decoction can have different therapeutic effects. Coneflower roots (Echinacea) are gearing towards supporting the body’s immune defenses. 

The “Ech and Roots” recipe consists of roots and bark from Echinacea, as well as dandelion, ginger, cinnamon and burdock. Not only is this blended tea beneficial for diabetic patients looking to improve their immune system, it also reduces mental stress and makes you feel healthier.

Echinacea and Rose Tea Blend

This herbal remedy contains Echinacea angustifolia, known for its immune-boosting properties. Unlike many herbal mixtures available, this tea blend is tasty with an encouraging citrus flavor. Echinacea and Rose tea when taken daily,  providing refreshing therapy for the diabetic immune system.

Choosing one or more herbal remedies to complement your diabetes treatment strategy can certainly restore vigor to a weakened immune system. In addition, it improves several other diabetic symptoms, including nutrient deficiencies, delayed wound healing and blood glucose. 

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