The Doctor Speaks: Immune System, Glossary of Cells

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By: Henry N. Williams, M.D.

A glossary of cells

The "Immune System" is that part of us which distinguishes what is us and what is not. The skin and mucous mem­branes protect us from our environment but infectious agents, harmful chemicals and cancer cells that develop in our other­wise normal body cells need to be com­bated and eliminated. This our immune system does through white blood cells and special protein molecules of the immune system. Our immune system can be seen as having two parts - the cellular and the humoral (fluid).

The cellular part is composed of:

Phagocytes (eater cells). They are of two chief types. Neurophiles act quickly and tend to be short lived. They make up the majority of the white blood cells (WBC) in a blood count. Macrophages (big eat­ers) are slower and clean up any invading bacteria and viruses, and the debris left by the neurophile.

I-a-positive macrophages release en­zymes to the lymphocytes. These are of two kinds. One is the "T cell", largely de­rived from the thymus gland, which rids the body of diseased or abnormal cells, distinguishing them from normal body cells. It can also stimulate the production of other cells like itself when the need arises, as well as stimulate macrophages with a special protein called "interferon." Other chemicals released by the T-helper cells are called "lymphokines:" which regulate the action of the other major kind of lymphocyte, the "B cell," which the body produces to eliminate viruses and debris outside of our body cells.

The macrophages, and T cells also produce antibodies by stimulating the B cells to become plasma cells. The eleven proteins thus produced are called "comple­ment" and they supplement as "humoral (fluid) immunity" the work of the "cellu­lar immunity" discussed above.

Allergic reactions (hay fever, asthma, skin rashes and hives) occur when the immune system overreacts to usually harmless substances such as grass pollen or house dust. Auto-immune disorders occur when the immune system reacts to normal body cells as if they were foreign.

Lack of one or more components of the immune system results in Immune-deficiency Disorders. These can be inher­ited or acquired through infections or other illnesses, or as a side effect of certain drug treatments.

The HIV virus is one such infectious agent which gradually produces the Ac­quired Immune-deficiency Syndrome of AIDS. It frequently takes up to ten years after contracting this virus before full blown AIDS develops. It is during that interim that building up our vitality could have a beneficial effect.


Question: Thanks, Dr. Williams for the help you have given me in the past. I appreci­ate your advice and so we hope the paper will be of help also. We use homeopathic or herbal medicines every opportunity. Is there anything that can help Lupus sufferers (Systemic lupus, Linear scleroderma) if they cannot take steroids such as Prednisone and Plaquanal?

Answer: Lupus in various forms, and scleroderma have been successfully treated by homeopathic practitioners but again it is not a matter of one medicine for a diagnosis but tailoring the medicine to the patient. Therefore a person with ei­ther of these conditions should consult a practicing homeopathic physician. (See listing in Directory for the National Cen­ter of Homeopathy.)

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