Your immune system is truly amazing.
Night and day it relentlessly fights off foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and all types of harmful microbes.
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 working well, you can be exposed to all kinds of harmful, disease-causing microbes without contracting an illness. This is because your first line of defense (your awesome immune system) is vigilantly protecting you.
Nevertheless, we all get sick at times. And that’s because something has gone awry with our normally powerful and efficient immune system.
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. Since his groundbreaking research, there have been hundreds of studies showing the direct relationship between chronic stress and its adverse impact on your immunity and your health.
Stress comes in many forms and can be mental, emotional, physical or environmental in nature. An occasional stressful event (known as acute stress) isn’t generally a problem because it usually passes fairly quickly, and your body returns to its normal function.
However, prolonged, chronic stress that becomes a daily experience can be very dangerous to your health. This is largely because this type of stress continually taxes the immune system due to the flow of the stress hormone cortisol which has been shown to trigger the body’s inflammatory 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 stated, adaptogens are a small group of extraordinary herbs that help your body to adapt to and overcome stress.
They act by either by preventing your natural stress response or calming your adrenal system from activating in the first place to a stressful event or situation.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 desolate regions of Siberia, the remote high deserts of Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Himylayas, “adaptogen” is a name given to a special class of plants that are able to survive and even thrive in the harshest and most stressful conditions on earth.
Adaptogens were first discovered by ancient peoples who witnessed deer and wildlife populations thriving when eating these plants. Scientists later found that when adaptogen herbs are ingested, they pass on their amazing ability to adapt to stressful conditions to people!*
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 in various European cultures, most notably by the Vikings over a thousand years ago to increase their energy, strength and endurance before going into battles or embarking on 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 are the cells that destroy pathogens in the bloodstream such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, yeast, mold, etc. These white blood cells are the first line of defense and protect us from infections including the flu and colds.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. The granules explode and destroy the bacteria or virus-infected cells within a matter of minutes. NK cells also attack cancer cells and are known to limit the growth and spread of tumors. NK cells are located predominantly in the blood, lymph system, liver, and lung.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. Interferons strengthen the response of the immune system to viruses and have been shown to boost the immune response and reduce tumor growth.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. And for good reason! If you are interested in learning about highly-effective adaptogen supplements that can reduce stress, fortify your immunity and promote vibrant health and longevity, you are invited to visit EmpowHER for Women.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Saratikov, “On the simulative action of Siberian Leuzea carthamoides.”
- 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)
- 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).
- Chang, Hson-Mou (1986). Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Materia Medica. World Scientific Publishing Co.
- Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism – Donald R. Yance, CN, MH, RH(AHG).