Building up your immune system now rather than having to take supplements once you are feeling ill should be your important health goal. This is flu season upon us. Winter is just around the corner and Covid-19 is still hovering over every aspect of our daily lives, so today is about building up our immune system so it won’t matter if you come in contact with people who are sick. As was stated in the last blog, it depends on the strength of your immune system whether you get sick or not. We all know people who are rarely sick and those who seem to get every available bug that comes near them….it is the health of your immune system. During every plague that hit the world, some people did not get sick or got well through it all. People with the strongest immune function and who have a positive view on life and on getting well generally beat the odds. They live longer than patients who give up. If you give in and say, ” I am going to die!” you probably will. People who just give up, generally die sooner than other patients.
Why? What makes the difference? Why are you sick all the time and your friend is not?
Here are some answers to why you are always sick before we get to the adaptogens to help you resist being ill: If you have no clue to why you are sick often, then you cannot start the steps to improve your health.
Healthy Genetics doesn’t hurt. If your parents or grandparents died of old age not a disease, it is likely they had strong healthy genetics. Even if you don’t have great genetics, your lifestyle is more important. Your lifestyle including your mental outlook is a majority of the reason you get sick more often. I worked for a man years ago who drank like a fish but was healthy as a horse. He was 20 years older than I was but had more energy than anyone I ever met. His secret and it was not a healthy lifestyle was genetics. In the end though, the drinking eventually fried his brain and memory. If it had been me, I would have ended up with my cirrhosis of the liver drinking all those years.
Good genetics is not something to abuse. If you have certain diseases such as diabetes in your genetics, it is even more important to live your life as healthy as possible. Realize health needs to be upheld every day of your life by the way you live and eat.
How many of these negative life style habits do you have?
Smoking, vaping, chewing tobacco; drinking, take lots of prescription drugs, take recreation drugs too often, you are obese; overweight and carry weight on your stomach; hate to exercise; spend hours on your computer even when home; love cokes, soft drinks, chips, sugar, donuts and are not fond of veggies; you have anger issues and are depressed; you sleep poorly; your overworked at home and with your job; you have no real down time; and you have no real activities other than work.
Take 2021 and begin to cut out or lower the risk factors that hurt your immune function. One at a time, improve your health.
Other Factors below considered a nasty hit to your immune system:
Top life events which effect your immune system health: divorce; death of a spouse or family member; moving; loss of a job; life threatening health diagnosis; you are socially isolated; you have marital problems; you are abused mentally or physically or both; and you have given up! I am going to add to this that you have poor self image, you talk down to yourself; you tell yourself you cannot get well; and negative self-talk is the only way you know. Grieving is another hit to your immune system. Loss of a loved one or your lifestyle such as the fires, floods, and hurricanes is a huge hit to your immune system.
Thoughts on How to move past grief. There is no set time to get over it. It is imperative that you do move out of the pain for your long term mental and physical health.
Take one hour, one day, one month at a time. It is important to deal with your emotions so cry, express your anger, and get the emotions out. Do not make new life changes until you have time to move through this unless you have to. Journal your feelings on paper, even if you show the journal to no one. You may want to throw in the towel after a devastating event such as a fire, but later you may feel very differently. Emotions are often not logical nor true in the long term. Join a group or start a group of people who are going through the same thing such as loss from fire or loss of a loved one. Joining a group like this will support you as you move through your circumstances, give you ideas on how to survive, give you a place where you understand each other and will help you through the healing and recovering phase. Talk about your feelings and pain to your minister or to a friend. Don’t hold the grief in or ignore it. Don’t stuff the emotions down. There is a time to cry and moan and a time to heal. Know this black time you are going through will not be forever. Time does heal if you allow yourself to heal and live again. It is a good idea to become involved in activities that help others so you feel you have new purpose in life and that your life has meaning. Making the effort to help others is important to live life again. Even if you help others in the nursing home you live in still. Smiles and hugs cost nothing. Spending time with others to cheer them up is something everyone can do. Hugs mean a lot. How well we have come to know this with Covid-19 and the shut downs. Go to a professional counselor or therapist to help you overcome your pain if needed.
Prescription Drug Side Effects do Impact Immune Function:
If you listen to the commercials for drugs you will hear that most of them including antibiotics have a negative effect on your immune system and gut. It will state call your doctor if you start having these symptoms and then they list possible side effects including strokes and death; If you are on a list of drugs, your immune system and gut where a large part of your immunity is generated from is definitely going to be affected. Ask your doctor to help you reduce the number of medication you are on and substitute for medications if possible with less side effects.
When you consider the factors above which almost all of us have to one degree or another, we need to do what we can to bring these down a few notches where and when we can. Look at these factors and list the ones causing trouble in your life. Then really look at which ones you could take some steps, even one, to bring these down to a more healthy level. Look at doing this before you add adaptogens to your life.
Adaptogens are not magic want and take days, weeks, or months in some cases to work.
They are in addition to improving your negative health factors listed above. Overtime adaptogen herbs start rebuilding tired and weakened cells, tissues and organs. They must be used everyday and over time help your body to work more effectively and efficiently. You cannot be sick for weeks or months and expect to be well immediately. It just does not work that way. Adaptogens work over time to bring the body systems back into balance, into working properly. Adaptogens are to be taken like a food, not a herb to begin when you feel yourself getting ill. Adaptogen herbs help to lesson stress and help you to drop excessively high cortisol levels. If sleep is an issue, these herbs will help you to sleep better in a natural and positive way.
How can Adaptogens work to improve body systems and functions?
“Adaptogens work at a molecular level by regulating a stable balance in the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands. These are involved in the stress response. They work by “hacking” the stress response in the body. “ https://www.healthline.com/health/adaptogenic-herbs#effectiveness .
Adaptogens for instance do not raise or lower blood sugar or blood pressure, but act to NORMALIZE these functions. These herbs work to strengthen the whole body and its different processes.
” The available studies suggest that adaptogens really are helpful in decreasing symptoms of fatigue and exhaustion and may be most helpful when used alongside other therapies for people with chronic and acute medical conditions. ” https://www.healthline.com/health/adaptogenic-herbs#effectiveness .
Adaptogens can affect prescription drugs like Warfarin or Aspirin.
If you take blood pressure drugs or drugs to lower your blood sugar taking herbs talk to your doctor first.
If you are on prescription drugs, you need to clear this with your doctor.
Do not take herbs, even adaptogen herbs at the same time. They can interact with each other causing you to need less of the drug. You may need less of your blood pressure meds or blood sugar medication when taking adaptogen herbs. Taking both without supervision could lead to an overdose of the prescription drug or could lower your blood pressure or blood sugar to a point of being too low. Do not give to children or take while nursing or pregnant unless you clear it with your doctor first.
Adaptogen Herbs that Help You To Resist Infections, Viruses and Bacterial Infections
The 4 Highest rated adaptogen herbs for boosting your immune function are below.
Herbs that are considered adaptogens have to contain these factors:
#1 Adaptogen Herbs must be safe and non-toxic when used over a long period of time. Safe for almost anyone to use daily for weeks or months at a time. Many of these are used as a food.
#2 Adaptogen herbs must have the properties that normalize body functions; improve the bodies ability to deal with stress.
#3 The adaptogen must influence various body systems overall to work in a healthy way; these herbs possess a number of different substances that work together to overall help to increase the health of all the different body systems.
I have listed two herbs in the top two which is Siberian Ginseng and America Ginseng. These two herbs have done wonders for my husband recovering from the horrible fatigue left over from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in August of 2019. I take both of them first thing every morning. They improve my energy as well and my brain function performance. Also it is one herb where they have been hundreds of studies published over the years from Russia, Japan and from other government research.
We also take Astragalus, Vitamin C and Vitamin D, on a daily basis too. So far we have not gotten one cold or sniffle in the past year. Despite still recovering from the long term effects of tick diseases our immune function was strong enough to survive moving across several thousand miles during the beginning of the crisis and Covid-19 ongoing despite several people in our neighborhood getting Covid-19.
Each of these herbs will have a separate blog devoted to it over the next month. You will also find a Herb Profile on these herbs by the end of the month.
Siberian Ginseng or Eleuthero
Eleuthero or Siberian Ginseng isn’t actually true ginseng but is called that often because it works in similar ways. There are hundreds of studies published over many years from Russia, Japan, China and other countries. It is given to Russian athletes and space astronauts for increased endurance. Numerous studies and real usage by athletes in Russia and Japan have found that it may help ward off fatigue, depression, and stress. it contains 7 primary eleutherosides and complex polysaccharides which boost immune function. This herb is amazing for helping your body to handle stress and this includes physical, mental or chemical stress without caffeine and that afternoon crash. It helps people to boost physical performance and endurance. It is extremely valuable for mental health and functioning as well. Overall this herbs helps your body and immune system to be strong enough to fight off colds and viruses. In some studies in vitro and vivo studies it has been shown to inhibit malignant tumors probably by strengthening the immune response. Later on this week I will be putting up profiles on both Siberian Ginseng and American Ginseng with links to research studies and other studies you can read for yourself.
This herb is one of the few true Adaptogen herbs that grow in the US used by the different American Indian Tribes and tribes in Canada. Modern research shows it is used when there is depletion of the HPA axis and adrenal glands. In laymans terms this means is you suffer from chronic stress and fatigue, adrenal fatigue and immune problems it may be very supportive and healthful. It is a important adaptogen to normalize your body so it can fight off disease. You need to take the minimum dosage to begin with, then increase after you see how it affects you. My husband and I take two caps of both American Ginseng and Siberian Ginseng. I tried the Siberian first and then both to test their effects. In our case, the two combined seem to really work well.
“Several studies suggest that ginseng may help lower blood sugar and help treat diabetes. Ginsenosides may affect insulin production in the pancreas and improve insulin resistance using other mechanisms.”
More clinical studies and standardization of ginseng root are needed to consider ginseng as a possible complementary therapy for diabetes. This is so that researchers can investigate what specific doses are effective.”
Please visit my herb profile page here on Astragalus ( huang qi )
This herb is one of the most important in Ayurvedic medicine and is native to China. It contains immune-stimulating polysaccharides-astragalans 1, 11, and 111, glucuronic acid, flavones, and isoflavones. It has been used in China and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years clear back to 713 CE. It is used today by doctors in those countries and by the people in everyday life. It is used in those countries among other usage to help prevent colds, influenza, bronchitis, mono, pneumonia, improve cardiac flow, and to prevent kidney and liver damage from medications. It is often combined with other immune strengthening herbs such as dan shen, dang gui and corydalis.
It is not used during acute infection but in daily prevention of illness. Do not use with chemo or radiation therapy unless your doctor oks it.
The following comments below are from Healthline in the above linked page.
“Astragalus may help enhance your immune system to prevent and fight bacterial and viral infections, including the common cold.”
“Though research findings are mixed, astragalus may help improve heart function in patients with heart failure and reduce symptoms of myocarditis.”
“When given intravenously in a hospital setting, astragalus may help alleviate nausea and vomiting in those undergoing chemotherapy.”
“Studies indicate that astragalus supplements may help control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. However, more research is needed.”
“There are many preliminary studies on astragalus that indicate the herb may have other potential benefits, including:
- Improved symptoms of chronic fatigue: Some evidence shows astragalus may help improve tiredness in people with chronic fatigue syndrome when combined with other herbal supplements (29Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
- Anticancer effects: In test-tube studies, astragalus has promoted apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in various types of cancer cells (33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).
- Improved seasonal allergy symptoms: Though studies are limited, one clinical study found that 160 mg of astragalus twice daily may reduce sneezing and runny nose in individuals with seasonal allergies (36Trusted Source).
SUMMARYPreliminary research has found that astragalus may be beneficial at reducing symptoms of chronic fatigue and seasonal allergies. Test-tube studies suggest that it may also have anticancer effects.”
The following Adaptogens are indicated for strengthening your immune function: Alma, Ashwagandha, Asian Ginseng, cordyceps, eleuthero or Siberian Ginseng, guduchi, holy basil, jiaogulan, licorice, lycium, prince seng, reishi, rhaponticum, rhodiola, schisandra, shatavari, and shilajit. Part of these are not herbs but mushrooms. I will be following up over the next months with blogs and articles on these herbs.
All for today, Kate Freer, the Herbladyisin