Adaptogens – Heard of them?
Today let’s drop some knowledge – how do adaptogens keep your immune system resilient & strong? It all starts with Psychoneuroimmunology – yeap, just a tad of a mouthful!
(Psychoneuroimmunology = is the study of the interaction between psychological processes, & the nervous + immune systems of the human body)
This new field of research examines how our mood, stress levels & immunity are intertwined in a complex mind / body dance with the world.
Once we start to see the impact stress & mood have on our immune system, we can understand how adaptogens may be even more important than classic herbs like Echinacea.
As with most herbs, adaptogens don’t just work through one simple mechanism but rather interact with many different networks in our bodies.
Here are 4 ways Adaptogens can support you:
– Adaptogens balance the stress response. Chronic stress—a modern epidemic—leads to elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol suppresses immune function, impairing our ability to effectively fight off pathogens. Adaptogens have a balancing effect on cortisol & can bring levels back to a healthy range.
– Many adaptogens are immunomodulators. Adaptogens like Eleuthero, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola & Reishi have the ability to regulate our immune system. So not only do adaptogens affect our stress hormones, but they also can work directly with our immune system & start reversing the immunosuppression caused by stress.
– As immunomodulators, adaptogens act bidirectionally—revving up a depressed immune system or calming down an overactive one. Have you ever gone through an acutely stressful situation only to come out the other end & immediately get sick? This is called the Let-Down Effect. Whether presentations are due & deadlines are to be met, acute stress can actually have an overly stimulating effect on the immune system. When the stress is over, our immune system swings from over-reacting to over-relaxing, leaving us vulnerable & prone to sickness. Immunomodulators can smooth these swings out, giving us a much more stable immune system. We want our defenses cool & collected, not alternatingly trigger-happy & depressed!
– Adaptogens increase production of immune cells, including specialized cells like natural killer (NK) cells as well as T and B cells. These cells are vitally important to the strength of our immune system and regular intake of adaptogenic herbs may help keep immune cells at ideal levels.
While they are still discovering the exact mechanisms of action, the fact that these herbs are powerful immune tonics has been no mystery to traditional cultures. I encourage you to further investigate how these may benefit you & include them in your lifestyle on a regular basis to bring balance to your stress responses.
Focus on increasing our immunity is key. Rise up together ♥️
Much love, Antoinette Elizabeth x
If this intrigues you… & you think you should find out more, then you probably should! Contact us or book here to arrange your appointment so we can begin a holistic approach to your health.