In this series of articles you’re going to find out about your immune system. We’ll look at how a healthy immune system functions and signs that you may need additional support.
You'll be introduced to the essential oils that research shows are best for supporting a healthy immune system. These oils may also help give you soothing support for common symptoms of cold and flu.
What is your immune system?
Your body has a built-in house keeping system that functions 24/7 as your bodyguard to protect you against foreign invaders. Your immune system works with your other body organs and systems to keep every part of you clean, clear and healthy.
Similar to home maintenance, your immune system cares for the proper and normal functioning of your entire body. Your immune system can function on demand and also has processes in place that deal primarily with keeping you healthy on an ongoing basis.
You are wired to respond and react to everything in your environment. The ability to adapt quickly and efficiently to your environment are key components of a healthy functioning immune system. These immune responses within your body happen automatically without your even thinking about them.
You might say your immune system is the foundation of your health. It makes sure all of your organs and systems are healthy and functioning at their peak performance.
What comprises your immune system?
Your immune system is made up of your skin, bone marrow, blood circulatory system, tonsils, the thymus gland, spleen, lymph nodes and mucous membranes which includes the linings of your eyes, nose, mouth, respiratory and digestive tracts.
Immune cells are also located in every organ and system in your body. A conversation between your immune cells and everything else in your body is continually going on. Lymphatic fluid and lymph nodes help your tissues and bloodstream communicate. Lymph nodes, located throughout your body, gather information and make plans for defense and protection.
Essentially your immune system is made up of organs that control the production of certain protective defense cells, called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell (leukocyte). Your bone marrow and thymus gland, situated above the heart and behind the breast bone, are called primary lymphoid organs.
The immune system’s defense cells are made in your bone marrow and travel throughout your body by way of the bloodstream to stay informed about everything that’s happening in your organs and tissues.
3 Types of Immunity
Essentially your body has two kinds of immunity, ‘innate’ and ‘adaptive.’ Both branches of your immune system work together. There is also a third type of immunity called ‘passive’ which is acquired before, during and after birth when breast fed.
1 - Your innate immunity is the primitive part of your immune system. It functions in general and non-specific ways. It is your first responder when under attack from a foreign invader. Your ‘innate’ immune system is made up of your skin, white blood cells and mucous membranes.
Your gut lining is also a part of this primitive and dynamic part of your immune system. More than half of your immune producing cells are located in your intestines and appendix.
2 - Your ‘adaptive’ immune system is much more complex and serves as the backup for the functioning of your ‘innate’ immunity. Your ‘adaptive’ immune system has more specificity. Its job it to identify and target very specific invaders. Your ‘adaptive’ immunity keeps a list of these foreign invaders for future reference as needed to signal when an immediate response is needed.
3 - ‘Passive’ immunity is a third type of immune support that babies get from their moms. During her last 3 months of pregnancy, the mother passes antibodies to her unborn baby through the placenta. Babies also acquire immunity from their moms via vaginal delivery and nursing on mother’s milk.
CLARY SAGE (Salvia sclarea)
One such study was conducted to determine the antibacterial activity of clary sage (Salvia sclarea) against Staphylococcus. A comprehensive evaluation of Staphylococcus clinical strain resistance to antibiotics was performed. Clary sage oil was shown active against Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis and S. xylosus. The study concluded, “The results of the in vitro tests encourage use of formulations containing clary sage oil as an active natural antimicrobial agent. Because of its antimicrobial properties clary sage oil may be applied to treat wounds and skin infections.”