The Immune System – The Body’s Weapon Against Disease
Because the world lacked the understanding of the immune system, until Hippocrates, civilization believed the causes of illness were the results of angry gods, bad karma or even magic. Hippocrates turned away from these superstitious notions for answers moving us closer to identifying the immune system. He hypothesized people get sick because of an imbalance of bodily fluids such as blood and phlegm.
However, the enlightenment of the Renaissance brought more curious minds to attempt another scientific explanation of the causes of illness. Paracelsus, a Renaissance man known for his research regarding these causes, concluded that many factors play a part in making people feel “under the weather.” He explained that the environment, poisoning, genealogical inheritance, emotions and a person’s spiritual state could all be factors making people sick, thus taking us strides closer to what we now know about the immune system.
Since Paracelsus’ time we’ve come a long way in understanding the cause of both infectious and non-infectious diseases. We know that infectious diseases are contagious as they are contracted from an external source. Non-infectious diseases can stem from genetics, lifestyle or even harmful chemicals and are not contagious. We also know much more about what the body needs to combat these illnesses. For example, we know that without a healthy immune system, our bodies can fall victim to every type of disease.
The immune system is made up of several components—both external and internal. Starting with the skin, nose, eyes and mouth, the body puts up a thick guard against outside invaders. Moving inside, the body is armed with anti-bacterial tears, mucus and saliva—all ready to kill outsiders.
Even with the body’s heavily armed defense system, we still seem to suffer the effects of disease. That’s because immune systems cannot fully function without our help. We need to make sure we get lots of rest, stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and most importantly, give our body all of the vitamins and minerals it needs—especially immune boosting vitamins. Next time you get sick, or better yet, before you get sick again, consider what you’re doing to help your immune system stay strong.