We add garlic and ginger when cooking because of their characteristic aroma and sharp taste. Rosemary – just crush it between your fingers to release the aroma of Italian cuisine! Turmeric – its bright yellow shade lends any food a touch of sunshine. Have you ever wondered why plants need this diversity of colour, aroma and taste? The tiny components that give these plants their characteristic aroma, taste and colour also form their immune system and perform protective functions by attracting necessary insects, repelling pests, protecting against bacteria and viruses, helping restore themselves, stimulating growth. But that is not all – plants also contain large amounts of antimicrobial peptides, a.k.a. natural antibiotics, which keep the plant healthy. These are found in the roots, seeds, flowers, leaves and stems of plants. Due to the large amount of antimicrobial substances, plants are extremely popular and valuable in medical treatment.
A frog’s skin contains more than 300 antimicrobial substances. How much are there in human skin?
By including plant extracts in the diet, the human body also attains additional protection against various pathogens – viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, single-cell organisms (1). Plant extracts provide the body with various antimicrobial substances, whilst also boosting its ability to synthesise antimicrobial substances on its own and promoting the activity of other immune cells. (2)
In the human body, antimicrobial peptides are concentrated in the skin and mucous membranes – anywhere, where they are in contact with the air. It is hard to imagine that our skin, the mucous membranes in our mouths, throat, eyes, lungs and gastrointestinal tract, and even our tears contain chemical compounds that fight microbes, including nearly 200 upper respiratory viruses! There are more than 20 different antimicrobial substances (3), whose main task is to destroy microbes before they cause the first symptoms (4)! If you maintain a varied diet and use non-abrasive soaps and lotions, your skin and mucous membranes will be covered in these potent antimicrobial substances.
Mucous membranes in the throat that microbes will want to avoid
There are seven substances that can be obtained from food, which especially boost the amount of antimicrobial substances in the skin and respiratory mucous membranes.
The reason why turmeric root is included in nearly all food in India is that it protects the body against infections. This bright yellow substance promotes the production of antimicrobial peptides in human skin and mucous membranes. Interestingly, this property of turmeric was proved in a Western European laboratory only 3 years ago, whereas Indians have been using it for ages precisely due to its antibacterial properties.
Rosemary extract which gives Italian cuisine its aroma and serves as a symbol of love, friendship and devotion for the Italians, improves respiratory health (5).
After using ginger extract, the upper respiratory tract produces more interferon, which is a protein with antiviral properties (6). Ginger also promotes sweating, while sweat contains dermcidin, a substance discovered by German scientists, that protects against infections (7). Linden extract contains bioflavonoids, including quercetin, kaempferol, tiliroside, which are beneficial for the immune system and the body’s defences (8).
Garlic extract provides the body with substances with strong antibacterial and antiviral properties. An interesting fact – viruses never adapt to the active compounds in garlic! This is extremely important today, when medicine often falls short in the face of viruses. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties – it blocks enzymes that allow the body to damage its own tissue.
In turn, the extract from acerola cherries is the richest source of vitamin C found in nature. Prophylactic use of vitamin C reduces the duration and severity of cold symptoms. Furthermore, supplementation of vitamin C is recommended for people who are temporarily subject to intense physical activity (9). Studies have shown vitamin C to have a synergetic effect with Echinacea.
Echinacea has a calming and nourishing effect on the mucous membranes in the throat, respiratory tract, vocal cords, and it reduces itching in the throat. People using Echinacea have been found to have a higher content of antibacterial substances in their saliva (10).
How to best avoid falling ill, relieve symptoms and recover faster?
When it comes to the many components of the human immune system, one substance alone cannot win the fight! For something to be useful for immunity, it has to contain a large compilation of substances!
The new dietary supplement LYL immunUP® is the only immunity-boosting complex in Latvia combining 7 plant extracts with 6 vitamins and 4 minerals necessary for immunity. 17 substances, some of which are needed for the production and functioning of immune cells, while others protect immune cells from destruction and especially boost the health of the skin and mucous membranes.
It is this diverse formula that sets LYL immunUP® apart from all other immunity-boosting products available, as it is suitable for relieving symptoms and speeding up recovery, as well as providing preventive long-term support for the immune system. Extracts of linden, garlic, acerola cherries, Echinacea, rosemary, turmeric and ginger, vitamins D3, B6, B9, B12 and natural vitamin C, zinc, copper, selenium and iron – theses 17 active compounds reduce the risk of catching a cold, and, at the first symptoms of a cold, help the body in dealing with the virus easier and faster. Furthermore, the substances are contained in doses that do not supress the immune system. LYL immunUP® – the most consolidated and diverse formula for immunity in Latvia!
- Montesinos E. Antimicrobial peptides and plant disease control. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2007 May;270(1):1-11. Epub 2007 Mar 16.
- Sultan MT, Butt MS, Qayyum MM, Suleria HA. Immunity: plants as effective mediators. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(10):1298-308.
- Schauber J., Gallo RL. Antimicrobial peptides and the skin immune defense system. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Aug;122(2):261-6.
- Ali Adem Bahar, Dacheng Ren. Antimicrobial Peptides. Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6(12), 1543-1575
- Yun-Gyoung Hur, Yungdae Yun and Jonghwa Won. Rosmarinic Acid Induces p56lck-Dependent Apoptosis in Jurkat and Peripheral T Cells via Mitochondrial Pathway Independent from Fas/Fas Ligand Interaction. The Journal of Immunology. January 1, 2004vol. 172 no. 1 79-87
- Chang JS, Wang KC, et al. Fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale) has anti-viral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus in human respiratory tract cell lines. J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jan 9;145(1):146-51.
- Birgit Schittek, Rainer Hipfel, Birgit Sauer, et al. Dermcidin: a novel human antibiotic peptide secreted by sweat glands. Nature Immunology , 2001, 1133 – 1137
- J. Wilczak, M. Łój, A. Prostek, D. Kamola, H. Kosińska, and M. Jank The influence of hydrolyzed and non-hydrolyzed linden inflorescence (Tilia cordata) extract on metabolic and transcriptomic profile in rat liver. Journal of Animal and Feed Sciences, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2013, 63–69
- Hemilae H, Chalker E. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jan 31;1:CD000980.
- Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. Lancet Infectious Diseases: July, 2007