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Herbs to Increase White Blood Cells

author image Robyn Hughes
Robyn Hughes has been writing since 2008 about health, nutrition, fitness and botanical medicine. She is a naturopathic physician and freelance writer based in Durham, N.C. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in cognitive science from Indiana University and a doctoral degree from the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, Ore.
Herbs to Increase White Blood Cells
Wild purple cone flowers (echinacea). Photo Credit: Redtyphoon72/iStock/Getty Images

White blood cells are an important part of your immune system. MedlinePlus states that white blood cells, also known as leukocytes, help combat infection and may be one of five distinct types, including neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, monocytes or lymphocytes. Your white blood cells may live from several days to several weeks. Some herbs may boost your white blood cell production. Visit your doctor to discuss herbs that may be appropriate for this health purpose.

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White Blood Cells

The Franklin Institute states that a single drop of your blood may contain between 7,000 and 25,000 white blood cells. This number may significantly increase if your body is fighting a persistent infection. The institute notes that a consistently elevated white blood cell count may be indicative of leukemia. Some leukemia sufferers have white blood cell counts as high as 50,000 per drop of blood. Each of the five different types of white blood cells has a unique appearance and distinct characteristics and functions.

Helpful Herbs

There are several herbs that may boost your white blood cell count, including herbs that are beneficial for your immune system. Sharol Tilgner, a naturopathic physician, noted herbalist and author of "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth," reports that commonly used herbs to bolster your immune system include echinacea, boneset, osha, licorice, prickly ash bark, astragalus, ligustrum, schisandra, cordonopsis and Siberian ginseng. Many of these herbs may also be helpful in the recovery from chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Featured Herb

Ligustrum -- a shrub indigenous to certain parts of Asia -- is a frequently prescribed herb to help increase white blood cell count. Tilgner reports that ligustrum is often used to increase white blood cell production and may work well in combination with the herb astragalus in treating certain types of cancer. Ligustrum, notes the University of Michigan Health System, is most often used to improve immune function and treat infection. The berries of the ligustrum plant are used in herbal preparations.


Herbal remedies may be a safe and effective way to boost your white blood cell count. However, not all herbs are appropriate for every person. Some people should avoid certain herbs due to allergies, other medications they might be taking or other health problems. Herbs should be used in combination with other therapies recommended by your family physician to help improve your white blood cell count. Talk with your doctor before ingesting herbs for this purpose.

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