HERBAL FORMULAS: Immune + ™
TCM DIAGNOSIS: Wei (defensive) qi deficiency
* Weak or compromised immune system
* Frequent bacterial or viral infections, such as common colds and/or influenza
* Prolonged recovery period from bacterial or viral infections
* Cancer patients with weakened immune systems from radiation or chemotherapy treatment
* Individuals with no significant complaints, but desire to enhance their immunity
WESTERN THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS
* Immunostimulant effect to enhance specific and non-specific immunities
* Immunomodulatory effect to improve humoral and cellular immune activities
* Antibacterial and antiviral effects to prevent and treat infections
CHINESE THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS
* Consolidates the wei (defensive) qi and dispels lingering pathogenic factors
* Tonifies normal qi and strengthens the body
* Tonifies the Lung, Spleen, and Kidney
Treatment dosage: take 4 capsules three times daily. Maintenance dosage: take 2 capsules twice daily to enhance the immune system and prevent viral or bacterial infections.
Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae)
Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps)
Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae)
Huang Qi (Radix Astragali)
Ling Zhi (Ganoderma)
Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis)
The immune system is a very important host defense mechanism that protects an individual from invasion of micro-organisms. If the immune system is defective or becomes disrupted, the micro-organisms can enter and affect various parts of the body. Therefore, optimal health is directly associated with a strong immunity.
According to traditional Chinese medicine, wei (defensive) qi is located at the exterior surface of the body and provides the initial protection against foreign or pathogenic factors. When wei (defensive) qi is strong, pathogenic factors cannot penetrate the body. When it is weak, a wide variety of infections occur. Therefore, prevention of infections relies on normal functioning of wei (defensive) qi.
Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) is the chief herb in this formula. It fortifies the Lung, strengthens the wei (defensive) qi and indirectly protects against external pathogenic factors. Ling Zhi (Ganoderma) increases white blood cells and inhibits the growth of various viruses and bacteria. Ling Zhi (Ganoderma) has also been traditionally used to tonify blood and vital energy, which are essential in rebuilding the underlying constitution. Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps) has been used traditionally for chronically debilitated patients. It is an excellent herb to tonify Kidney yin and yang and improve overall bodily constitution. Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae) strengthens the Spleen, and Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis) closes the skin pores to stop sweating and prevent exterior attack of wind. Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae) circulates in the peripheral channels of the body and expels lingering pathogenic factors.
CAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS
* The main focus of this herbal formula is to enhance the immune system, not to treat infection. Patients with an active infection must be treated with other formulas accordingly.
* Since this formula may stimulant the immune system, it should be used with extreme caution in patients who have autoimmune disease or take immune suppressant drugs after organ transplant.
* Immune + should not be used alone to treat infections.
* Immune + can be taken on a long-term basis to enhance the immune system in a normal or immuno-deficient person.
* Immune + is safe to use between infections for children who experience recurrent respiratory infections.
Pulse Diagnosis by Dr. Jimmy Wei-Yen Chang:
* Tent pulse, a convex-shaped pulse that is weak and collapses under pressure, on the right cun.
Use of this formula during remission:
* To tonify constitutional qi, blood, yin and yang, combine with Imperial Tonic.
* For a quick boost of energy and awareness, use Vibrant.
* To improve memory, add Enhance Memory.
* To minimize the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, combine with C/R Support.
* For end-stage cancer or cancer patients who are too weak to receive chemotherapy or radiation, add CA Support.
* For weaker, older patients who have asthma attacks, wheezing or dyspnea, use Respitrol (Deficient) instead.
* For cough, add Respitrol (CF).
* For inflammation with swelling, add Resolve (AI).
* With dryness and thirst, add Nourish (Fluids).
* With Kidney yin deficiency, add Kidney Tonic (Yin).
* With Kidney yang deficiency, add Kidney Tonic (Yang).
Use of this formula during infection and inflammation:
* Note: During infection and inflammation, patients should take formulas listed below. After the symptoms subside, patients may resume taking Immune +.
* Zusanli (ST 36), Sanyinjiao (SP 6), Fengchi (GB 20), Fengmen (BL 12), Hegu (LI 4)
* Qihai (CV 6), Pishu (BL 20), Zhongwan (CV 12), Zusanli (ST 36), Hegu (LI 4), Weishu (BL 21)
Master Tung’s Points by Dr. Chuan-Min Wang:
* Immune deficiency: Tongtian (T 88.03), Minghuang (T 88.12), Tongshen (T 88.09)
Balance Method by Dr. Richard Tan:
* Left side: Hegu (LI 4), Xuehai (SP 10)
* Right side: Chize (LU 5), Lieque (LU 7), Zusanli (ST 36)
* Left and right sides can be alternated from treatment to treatment.
* Nose, Spleen, Bone Marrow
Auricular Medicine by Dr. Li-Chun Huang:
* Preventing common cold: Spleen, Lung, Endocrine, Allergic Area, Adrenal Gland. Bleed Ear Apex.
* Promoting immunity: Allergic Area, Endocrine, Adrenal Gland, Spleen, Liver, corresponding point for the organ to be strengthened. Bleed Ear Apex and Helix 1-6.
* Vitamins A, C, E and zinc are essential in promoting a healthy immune system.
* Drink plenty of fluids to ensure that the lymphatic system drains freely and circulates smoothly.
* Foods that are helpful to strengthen the body and fight infection include garlic, citrus fruits and green vegetables.
* Limit the intake of sweet foods and refined white sugar: they impair the body’s ability to kill bacteria.
The Tao of Nutrition by Dr. Maoshing Ni and Cathy McNease:
§ Recommendations: Make brown rice porridge with pearl barley, mung beans, yams, and lotus seeds.
§ Avoid dairy, alcohol, sugar, coffee, fatty or deep-fried foods, overly spicy foods, cold or raw foods, tomato, eggplant, bell peppers, and shellfish.
§ Recommendations: Blend shiitake or ganoderma mushrooms and white fungus, boil and drink the soup three times a day.
§ Recommendations: Boil together mung beans, pearl barley, azuki beans, and figs. This makes a delicious dessert that will aid appetite and sustain energy level.
§ Avoid meat, chicken, coffee, cinnamon, anise, pepper, dairy products, spicy foods (except garlic), high fat foods, cooked oils, chemical additives, moldy foods, smoking, constipation, stress, and all irritations.
* Susceptibility to common cold or influenza: Make artichoke soup with generous amounts of garlic and onions and eat daily during the flu season.
* Strengthen resistance against frequent colds: Add one tablespoonful of bee pollen, lemon juice from 1/2 of a lemon, and one tablespoonful of honey into daily quinoa cereal in the morning.
* Avoid over-exertion both mentally and physically, either of which can suppress the immune system.
* Wear appropriate clothing on cold, damp or windy days, and avoid becoming chilled or over-heated.
* Rest is essential in the recovery of a weak immune system or as protection against catching a cold.
* The skin is the largest organ of the body, and the first defense against pathogenic factors. Exercises that stimulate the skin will strengthen the immune system. Engage in such exercises as cold-water stepping, dew walking, dry brushing, and swimming in cold water. However, transition into these activities slowly to avoid catching a cold from sudden exposure.
* Regular exercise and adequate sleep (at least eight hours) are essential to maintaining a strong immune system.
* F.G., a 51-year-old male, presented with recurring colds, including excess phlegm usually white in color. It was noted that the patient works in an environment of smoke and smokes himself. The practitioner diagnosed this condition as Lung qi deficiency with phlegm. For treatment, Immune + was prescribed at 5 to 8 capsules three to four times a day. After taking the herbs, the patient noticed fewer colds over the next six months. Submitted by S.L., Yuma, Arizona.
* M.M., a 31-year-old male patient, presented with chronic cough and allergies after the hurricanes last year. The patient also worked in a bar that had mold damage. He was placed on a leave of absence from work to recover and was then placed on antibiotics. Other findings included pale face, low voice, and dark circles under the eyes, blue nail beds, weakness and lack of motivation. Western diagnosis was compromised immune system with lingering pathogenic factors. The TCM diagnosis was Lung qi, Spleen qi and wei (defensive) qi deficiencies. Immune + was prescribed at 6 capsules twice daily. After taking the herbs, the patient reported he regained his strength and had gone back to work after two months of acupuncture and herbs. He caught another cold during the two-month treatment period but was able to recover quickly. Submitted by M.H., West Palm Beach, Florida.
* A 20-year-old female student presented with a history of recurrent viral or bacterial infection since starting college. Other objective findings included lack of sleep, high stress, strep throat, bladder infection, and susceptibility to the flu. She was diagnosed as having qi deficiency and a weakened immune system. Within six months of taking Immune +, her signs and symptoms decreased by 50%. The patient has noticed a marked decrease in recurrence of infection and sickness. Submitted by T.G., Albuquerque, New Mexico.
* N.T., a 36-year-old female patient, presented with a painful rash located on the center of her abdomen. She had been experiencing emotional stress as well. Her Western doctor had already diagnosed her with shingles and prescribed her an antiviral drug, which didn’t seem to help and created lung pain. The TCM diagnosis was damp-heat, which the practitioner treated with Herbal ABX. After taking the herbs daily and receiving acupuncture twice a week the patient’s rash and pain disappeared in seven days. To maintain these results, the patient took Immune + to boost her immune system. Submitted by S.R., Waterbury, Connecticut.
* M.C., a 60-year-old male, presented with chronic sinusitis, consisting of yellow green discharge. Additional symptoms included sensation of heat in the upper neck area, some tightness in the chest, and a tickling of the throat but no cough. The practitioner diagnosed this condition as Lung qi deficiency and Kidney yin deficiency. Patient was given Herbal ABX when the discharge was present and Immune + when the discharge wasn’t present. After taking the herbs, the patient stopped having sinus infections and bronchitis. The patient still came in for a follow ups occasionally. Submitted by B.L., Fort Myers, Florida.
* A 66-year-old female reported repeated episodes of respiratory infection that turned into asthma and bronchitis. The patient reported that she had allergy shots from her medical doctor because she could not take different drugs as they would give her irregular heartbeat. She could not take Ma Huang (Herba Ephedrae) or any other stimulants. Her blood pressure was 110/78 mmHg and her heart rate was 66 beats per minute. The diagnosis according to traditional Chinese medicine was wei (defensive) qi deficiency. Immune + was prescribed and after three months of treatment, the patient reported significantly less attacks of asthma. She was also advised to eat more vegetables and decrease the intake of dairy and gluten products. Submitted by D.W., Los Angeles, California.
* A 36-year-old female presented with fatigue, anxiety, and low immune function. She said she catches cold easily and frequently. Her pulse was weak and thready, and her tongue was purple. She was pale, with dark circles under her eyes. The TCM diagnosis was Lung and Kidney qi deficiencies. The patient was instructed to take Immune +. After two months of Immune + and acupuncture treatment (every other week), the patient has not fallen ill from contact with her family and friends. She said prior to the treatments, she “would always get sick from others.” Submitted by M.B., Bend, Oregon.
* S.C., a 42-year-old female, was over-worked and under constant stress. She wanted to enhance her immune system, as her health was compromised by stress and exhaustion. She was prescribed Immune + at two capsules, three times daily. During seven months of taking the herbs, she had no illnesses or symptoms. Submitted by C.L., Chino Hills, California.
* S.W. suffered from tiredness, restless sleep, and occasional, recurrent nasal congestion during allergy season. She was diagnosed with Kidney yin, yang, and wei (defensive) qi deficiencies. Immune + along with Vibrant were prescribed. Immune + was prescribed to build the wei (defensive) qi while Vibrant was used to sustain and build her Kidney yin and yang over time. The patient greatly commented on the positive results from Vibrant to increase her daily energy level and positive outlook. Submitted by J.P., Naples, Florida.
* A 59-year-old male physician presented with extreme fever (over 104°F), extreme difficulty in breathing, pain in the chest, shortness of breath aggravated by exertion, unsteady walk, dizziness, and inability to speak more than one word per breath. His tongue was pale with red tip and body, and his pulse was rapid and superficial. The diagnosis was phlegm heat in the Lung. The patient was treated with Pinellia XPT (6 capsules four times daily) and Immune + (6 capsules four times daily), along with other homeopathics and drugs (Combivent (albuterol/ipratropium) and aspirin). The patient had a definite response to the herbs. The respiration became much easier, energy level and sense of vitality enhanced, and cough was no longer productive. The practitioner commented that “While all protocols employed resulted in benefit – it is without question that the herbal formulas generated imminent benefit and long term recuperation.” Submitted by I.B.J., Miami, Florida.
* A 54-year-old property manager presented with chronic sinus congestion and headache. Food allergies included E-95 panel to dairy, egg white, kidney beans and lima beans. The practitioner’s diagnosis was Lung qi deficiency with excess damp. The patient stated that symptoms of sinus congestion and headaches would subside upon taking Immune +. Subsequently, he continued to use Immune + during allergy seasons, more in the fall, but as needed throughout the year. Submitted Anonymously.
PHARMACOLOGICAL AND CLINICAL RESEARCH
Immune + is an excellent formula to enhance immunity to treat many disorders associated with compromised or weakened immune system. Immune + contains herbs with immunostimulant effect to enhance the immune system, and antibacterial, and antiviral effects to prevent and treat infections.
Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) is one of the most frequently used Chinese herbs for its ability to tonify the wei (defensive) qi. From allopathic medical perspectives, modern research has confirmed in multiple studies that Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) increases both specific and non-specific immunity.,, According to one study, the polysaccharides from Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) activated B cells and macrophages. According to another study, administration of Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) prolonged allograft survival associated with promotion of CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells. Furthermore, Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) has been shown to increase the production and maturity of blood cells from the bone marrow. The therapeutic benefits of Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) are also well documented in clinical trials. According to one clinical trial of 115 leucopenic patients, it was found that the use of Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) is associated with an “obvious rise of the white blood cell (WBC) count” in a dose-dependent relationship. According to another randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial on 36 adults who complained of chronic fatigue, the administration of Huang Qi (Radix Astragali) and Dan Shen (Radix et Rhizoma Salviae Miltiorrhizae) decreased the fatigue severity score, when comparing the herb group against the control group.
Ling Zhi (Ganoderma) has a wide range of therapeutic effects. It has a marked immunostimulant effect to boost both humoral and cellular immune activities. The specific effects of Ling Zhi (Ganoderma) include an increase in monocytes, macrophages and T lymphocytes.,,,In addition, it also increases the production of cytokine, interleukin, tumor necrosis factor, and interferon. Furthermore, Ling Zhi (Ganoderma) has significant antitumor effect to inhibit tumor growth. Lastly, Ling Zhi (Ganoderma) has a broad spectrum of antibacterial activities and inhibits the growth of numerous bacteria.
Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps) is another herb that has immunomodulatory and antitumor functions. Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps) enhances overall immunity by increasing the number of lymphocytes and natural killer cells and the production of interleukin, interferon, and tumor necrosis factor.,,,, This immunomodulatory effect is attributed to the polysaccharides of Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps), which specifically interact with and activate surface receptors involved in innate immunity. In addition to its immunomodulatory activities, Dong Chong Xia Cao (Cordyceps) also has an antitumor effect, and was found to significantly inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells. In some instances, the growth inhibition rate of the cancer cells reached 78 to 83%.
Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae) and Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis) are important herbs in this formula. Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae) and Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis) have immunostimulant effects. Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae) stimulates the activity of the macrophages and reticuloendothelial system, and increases the number of white blood cells, lymphocytes, and IgG., Administration of Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis) is associated with stimulation of non-specific immunity. Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis) also has an antibacterial effect to inhibit the growth of many bacteria. Lastly, Fang Feng (Radix Saposhnikoviae) has both antibacterial and antiviral effects, and prevents individuals with compromised immune systems from contracting bacterial and viral infections.
Overall, Immune + is an excellent formula that boosts the immune functions to prevent bacterial and viral infections, fight against cancer, and improve energy levels.
One striking difference between Western and traditional Chinese medicine is that Western medicine focuses on and excels in crisis management, while traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes and shines in holistic and preventative treatments. Therefore, in emergencies, such as gunshot wounds or surgery, Western medicine is generally the treatment of choice. However, for treatment of chronic idiopathic illness of unknown origins, where all lab tests are normal and a clear diagnosis cannot be made, traditional Chinese medicine is distinctly superior.
In cases of chronic immunodeficiency, even when confirmed with distinct symptoms (frequent and prolonged infections) and laboratory diagnosis (decreased white blood cells count), Western medicine has no drug treatment available. Though there is one drug available for acute immunosuppression, it is only indicated for treatment of bone marrow suppression in cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and radiation. In other words, patients with compromised immune system have few or no options for drug treatments. On the other hand, traditional Chinese medicine is beneficial as it excels in maintenance and preventative therapies. Herbs can be used to regulate imbalances and alleviate associated signs and symptoms. In this case, many herbs have been shown via in vitro and in vivo studies to have remarkable effect to boost both specific and non-specific immune systems. Therefore, herbal therapy should definitely be employed to restore optimal health and prevent contraction of infections.
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