How Adaptogen Herbs Protect You from Getting Sick

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Your immune system is amazing.

It fights against all foreign invaders day and night, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.

Nature’s Medicine Cabinet: The Immune System

Your immune system is like your body’s medicine cabinet constantly protecting you from getting sick.

When your immune system is functioning well, you can be exposed all sorts of disease-causing microbes and not get sick. Your immune system is your first line defense.

Nevertheless, we all get sick at times. Our normally strong and efficient immune system has been compromised.

Daily Stress ‘Chips Away’ at Your Immunity

Back in the 1950s, the famous stress scientist, Dr. Hans Selye theorized that stress had a direct effect on the immune system and illness. There have been hundreds upon hundreds of studies that show the direct link between chronic stress and its detrimental effect on your immunity, and your health.

Stress can take many forms. It can be physical, mental, or emotional. Acute stress, which is a temporary stressful event, usually goes away quickly and your body resumes normal functions.

However, prolonged, daily stress can pose a serious threat to your health. This is due to cortisol, which has been shown in studies to increase the body’s inflammation response. 8

This continual release of cortisol gradually chips away at your body’s ability to protect you from disease and can eventually lead to serious illness. 9

Chronic stress has been implicated in allergies, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, neurological disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, stress has been shown to play a role in virtually every degenerative disease and autoimmune condition.”

Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism, Donald R. Yance

Even the common cold and the flu are more frequent occurrences when the immune system is compromised by stress. 8

For example, a relatively minor type of physical stress caused by not getting enough sleep for just a few nights can result in coming down with a cold or the flu. 2 In fact, in a recent article, “Stress Causing You to Get Less Sleep? “, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say when you’ve lost sleep, you should

“Get Ready to Catch a Cold!”

The Good News: There’s Actually a Scientifically Proven Way to Protect Yourself from Every Type of Stress

It’s called: adaptogen herbs.

Simply put, adaptogens are an extraordinary group of herbs that can help your body adapt to and overcome stress. They act by either preventing your natural stress response from activating or by calmly calming your adrenal system. 2, 3, *

By modulating the reactions of your body to stress, adaptogens not only protect your immune system, they promote an overall state of health and well-being, while restoring your energy, vitality, stamina, and resilience. 2, 3, *

What Exactly Are “Anti-Stress” Adaptogen Herbs?

Native to the desolate regions in Siberia and the Himylayas high deserts of Eastern Europe and Asia, “adaptogen” refers to a class of plants that can survive and thrive under the most difficult and stressful conditions.

Adaptogens were discovered first by ancient people who saw wildlife and deer thrive when they ate these plants. Later, scientists discovered that adaptogen herbs can be ingested , and people are able to adapt to stressful situations. *

Although adaptogen herbs have been used for thousands of years in ancient cultures, their great value has only recently been recognized in the Western world.

Adaptogens Used for Centuries and Re-Discovered in Modern Times

Used in Eastern medicine, both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic healing traditions for over 2,000 years, adaptogen herbs were used to strengthen the body against disease and to promote energy, vitality, stamina, anti-aging and longevity. Adaptogens were also used by various European cultures over a thousand year ago, most notably by Vikings to boost their energy, strength, endurance, and prepare them for long, difficult journeys. 1, *

Even though these herbs were used effectively for thousands of years, they were never scientifically studied until Soviet scientists discovered them in the mid 20th century. Shortly after World War II, Russian scientists started studying adaptogens and continued to study them over a period of several decades, primarily between 1945 and 1985. 9, *

Thousands of studies were secretly conducted by The Soviet Academy of Science which showed the remarkable ability of adaptogens to protect the body from stress, increase human performance, and strengthen the immune system. 8

These studies became so groundbreaking and influential that Soviet scientists coined the word “adaptogen.” They used this term to refer to protective plants that help the body adapt to and resist every type of stress. 2, 3, *

Recent Studies Show Numerous Ways Adaptogens

Strengthen Your Immunity

Here are just a few:

Adaptogens Increase White Blood Cells

Adaptogens stimulate the production of white blood cells in our immune system known as macrophages (macro=big; phage=eater). These cells are responsible for killing pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, yeast, mold, and parasites. These white blood cells protect us against infections such as the flu and colds and are our first line of defense. 7, *

Adaptogens Increase Natural Killer Cells

NK or natural killer cells are white blood cells that destroy foreign invaders by injecting a chemical bomb (called a granule) into the enemy. In a matter of minutes, the granules explode to destroy any infected bacteria or viruses. NK cells are also known to attack cancer cells and limit the spread and growth of tumors. The NK cells are found primarily in the blood, lymph, liver, lung, and liver. 5, 6, *

Adaptogens Increase Interleukin 2 and Interferons

Interleukin 2 is a naturally occurring protein which increases the growth and activity of white blood cells (T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes) resulting in enhanced immune function. 4, *

. Adaptogens Increase Interleukin 2 and Interferons. The immune system’s response to viruses is enhanced and interferons have been shown to reduce tumor growth and increase immune function. 4, *

Note: New studies are being conducted to identify how adaptogen herbs may be useful in treating many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and respiratory conditions.

Time-Tested and Backed by Thousands of Research Studies

Adaptogens have been used throughout history as a way to help the body resist and overcome the negative effects of stress, strengthen immunity, combat fatigue, boost strength and stamina, increase energy and attention, and promote health, anti-aging, and longevity. 2, 3, *

Adaptogens have often been called nature’s most powerful healers. It’s a good thing! You can learn more about adaptogen supplements that reduce stress, boost immunity, and promote vitality and longevity at EmpowHER for Women.

References

  1. Saratikov and Krasnov “Stimulative properties of Rhodiola rosea”; Kelly, “Nutritional and botanical interventions”; Darbinyan, Kteyan, Panossian, et al., “Rhodiola rosea in stress-induced fatigue”; K. De Bock, B. O. Eijnde, M. Ramaekers, and P. Hespel, “Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance,” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 14(3) (2004): 298-307.
  2. L. C. Mishra, B. B. Singh, and S. Dagenais, “Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): A review,” Alternative Medicine Review 5(4) (2000): 334-46.
  3. C. Tohda, T. Kuboyama, K. Komatsu, and A. Vanella, “Indian medicinal plants as antiradicals and DNA cleavage protectors,” Phytomedicine 8(2) (2001): 125-32; and R. Mohan, H. J. Hammers, P. Bar-gagna-Mohan, et al., “Withaferin A is a potent inhibitor of angiogenesis,” Angiogenesis 7(2) (2004): 115-22.
  4. Saratikov, “On the simulative action of Siberian Leuzea carthamoides.”
  5. A. S. Saratikov, L. N. Azbukina, et al., “Experimental studies of phytostimulants,” in Symposium on Eleutherococcus and Ginseng (Vladivostok: Academy of Science of USSR, 1962)
  6. M. A. Gerasyuta and T. N. Koval, “The experience of prolonged use of Leuzea carthamoides extract for the purposes of preservation and increase of mental and physical work capacity,” in New Data on Eleutherococcus and Other Adaptogens: Proceedings of the 1st International Symposium on Eleutherococcus (Hamburg, 1980), 135-38 (Vladivostok: Far East Scientific Center of the Academy of Science of the USSR, 1981).
  7. Chang, Hson-Mou (1986). Pharmacology and Applications for Chinese Materia Medica. World Scientific Publishing Co.
  8. Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism – Donald R. Yance, CN, MH, RH(AHG).

jbenson@innovisionhm.com

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