Immune support has never been so imperative. The current global pandemic has driven us to seek new ways to boost our immune function and protect ourselves from this terrifying virus.

Unfortunately, the overuse of hand sanitizer and antibacterial solutions may actually be more harmful than helpful. Research suggests this ‘fear of germs’ may increase our risk of antimicrobial resistance and make us even more vulnerable to other viral diseases.

Without your immune system, you wouldn’t be able to fight the harmful, disease-causing substances that can enter your body at any time. These substances usually enter through the skin, digestive system, or respiratory system.
Your immune system is constantly working to:

  • Recognize harmful invaders such as bacteria,
    viruses, parasites, fungi
  • Fight invaders that enter your body and
    neutralize them
  • Tend to changes in the body that can lead to
    serious disease, such as cancer cells.

The immune system has two branches: innate and adaptive. The innate immune system provides a general defense against harmful germs and substances, using immune cells such as natural killer cells and phagocytes (“eating cells”).

The adaptive immune system is also known as the ‘acquired’ immune system because it makes antibodies to fight against specific germs that the body has come into contact with before.

The adaptive system is constantly learning and adapting, which is crucial for your body to be able to fight bacteria and viruses that mutate over time.

Unfortunately, there are many aspects of the Western lifestyle that can severely weaken the immune system. Stress, alcohol, processed foods, lack of exercise, medications: these things feature in everyday life, and they’re not always easy to avoid.

The solution? Do whatever you can to boost your immune system – naturally. That’s where Carctol comes in.

Created by Ayurvedic practitioner Dr. Nandlal Tiwari, Carctol is a blend of eight herbs known specifically for their benefits to health and wellbeing. Each of these herbs have been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years and have since featured in numerous clinical studies.

The herbs in Carctol include:

  • Hemidesmus indicus (Indian sarsaparilla)
  • Tribulus terrestris (puncture vine)
  • Piper cubeba linn (tailed pepper)
  • Ammanniabaccifera linn (Blistering ammannia)
  • Lepidium sativum linn (garden cress)
  • Blepharis edulis (Uttanjan)
  • Smilax china linn (China Root)
  • Rheum emodi wall (Himalayan rhubarb)

Carctol’s creator explains that the secret to its benefits is in the blend itself. These eight Ayurvedic medicines have been combined in a way that encourages the body to rid itself of acidity. The result is a more alkaline internal environment, which research shows is essential for optimal health.

How does this relate to the immune system? Well, if you’re constantly catching coughs, colds, sore throats, and various other infections, it’s likely that your body is too acidic. Your body’s pH is the key indicator of how well each of your bodily systems are functioning, especially your immune cells.

Studies show that viruses and bacteria thrive in an acidic environment. Those with a more acidic digestive system are more likely to be affected by pathogenic bacteria. That’s why keeping your body’s pH in a slightly alkaline range may help to reduce your risk of picking up colds, sore throats, and other viruses. In fact, recent research has suggested that ‘acidosis’
contributes to disease susceptibility.

Maintaining a slightly alkaline pH is crucial for good health. Nobel Prize Winner Dr Otto Warburg stated that an alkaline body can absorb up to 20 times more oxygen than an acidic body.

He also found that diseased bodies can speed the overgrowth of certain pathogens.

But the herbs within Carctol also have their own unique immune-boosting powers, as we’ll explain.

Clinical trials have found that antioxidant supplementation can significantly improve certain immune responses by protecting the body from free radicals, which can destroy the structural integrity of cells and tissues.

Carctol contains a number of antioxidant boosters. Traditionally, the roots of hemidesmus indicus have been used as an antipyretic, antidiarrheal, and a blood purifier. It harbors an impressive range of antioxidant compounds including alkaloids, terpenoids, and flavonoids which are thought to contribute to its antiinflammatory properties.
Ammanniabaccifera linn is a rich source of flavonoids and phenolic compounds and has potent antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties. Lepidium sativum is another free radical scavenger shown to have strong antioxidant capacity and high phenolic levels.

Reducing inflammation is key to supporting a healthy immune response. Poor immune status is often associated with inflammation and oxidative stress, which in turn can further weaken the immune system.

Smilax china has been shown to harbor important anti-inflammatory properties. This climbing plant has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce inflammation and boost the body’s antioxidant capacity.

Long before pharmaceutical medicines were available, plants were used to boost immune function and assist in the body’s response to infection.

One of the best-known immune-enhancing plants in Ayurvedic medicine is Himalayan rhubarb (rheum emodiwall). This famous herbal remedy has been shown to have an immunomodulating effect on the body by stimulating cytokines (molecules that help regulate the immune system). It’s also found to have powerful antimicrobial activity against both gram-positive and
gram-negative bacteria.

Studies involving rats showed that Tribulus terrestris can increase levels of phagocytosis, a critical part of the immune system response. Researchers suggest that this important immunomodulating activity could explain the long history of traditional use of this plant in India.

Carcol is designed to be taken in divided doses throughout the day. This helps to ensure efficient uptake of the medicinal properties.
According to Ayurvedic practise, Carctol’s benefits can be maximized with a few healthy lifestyle changes that improve alkalinity in the body.

These include:

  • Eating a vegetarian diet
  • Avoiding sour/acidic fruits and vegetables such
  • as tomatoes, tangerines, plums, lemons, grapes, pomegranate, and mango
  • Drinking 2-4 liters of cooled boiled water every day
  • Avoiding dairy products, especially curd (yogurt)

Carctol is now available in the Alive Innovations ingredient catalog. This allows doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors, and other holistic practitioners to create their own formulas – just as Dr Tiwari did with Carctol.

The Alive Innovations system is a unique and effective way for practitioners to optimize their patients’ health. Find out more here!

Katie is a qualified naturopath and freelance health writer from New Zealand. She holds a Bachelor of Natural Medicine and a Diploma in Journalism. Having worked in the natural health space for more than 10 years, Katie specializes in functional medicine and holistic wellbeing. She is particularly passionate about digestive and immune health, and writes short- and long-form content for health practitioners all over the world.

Katie is also a fiercely competitive runner and spends most of her spare time training for running events.