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Adaptogen is a name given to a special class of plants that are able to survive in the harshest and most stressful conditions on earth.
When ingested, scientists have discovered that adaptogenic herbs pass their amazing ability to adapt to stressful conditions on to people!*
Although adaptogenic herbs have been used for thousands of years in Asian cultures, they’re great value has only recently become recognized in the Western world.
Our 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. It’s like our body’s medicine cabinet constantly protecting us from getting sick.
When our immune system is working well, we can be exposed to all kinds of harmful, disease-causing microbes without getting sick! This is because our first line of defense (our awesome immune system) is vigilantly protecting us.
Nevertheless, we do get sick sometimes, don’t we? And that’s because something has gone awry with our normally-powerful and efficient immune system.
You’ve heard of the “fight or flight” syndrome which can happen when you find yourself in a stressful situation -- whether it’s mental stress such as an important deadline you must meet at work; emotional stress such as a family or relationship problem; or physical stress from being overworked, over-tired, missing sleep, etc.
When these things occur, physiological changes take place in your body. Your muscles tighten up, your heart may start pounding, and your breathing may quicken.
Your body naturally readies its defenses to protect itself, and its energy goes to protect us from a perceived threat by discharging stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
At the same time your body’s energy is taken away from other functions that aren’t critical at that moment, such as your all-important immune system.
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 proving the direct relationship between chronic stress and its adverse impact on your immunity and your health. (9)*
In today's world, stress has become a normal part of life. Stress comes in many forms and can be mental, emotional, physical, environmental or chemical stress.
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, chronic, on-going stress that becomes a daily experience is dangerous because it continually taxes your immune system, taking your vital energy away from it. This process gradually chips away at your body's ability to protect you from disease. (9)*
Stress of every type compromises our immune system, and this can eventually lead to illness. Even just not getting enough sleep for a few nights can result in coming down with a cold or the flu.(21)* Consider this recent headline:
Stress Causing You to Get Less Sleep?
-- Carnegie Mellon University Researchers say,
“Get Ready to Catch a Cold!” (21)*
Stress directly affects immune function due to the flow of the stress hormone cortisol, which is released by the adrenal glands. Cortisol has been shown to depress the immune system.
Long-term chronic stress has been linked to heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes, obesity, neurological disease, respiratory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergies and virtually every degenerative disease and autoimmune condition. Not to mention mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicide. (22)*
Health experts tell us we must find ways to reduce stress if we want to stay healthy and prevent disease. They suggest things such as: meditation, deep breathing, yoga, regular exercise, getting out in nature, taking long walks, etc. to relieve stress.
While those things are all beneficial and may help temporarily, much more is needed to keep chronic stress from eventually wearing down your immune system and damaging your health.
It’s called: adaptogens. Adaptogens are amazing natural herbs that help your body to adapt and overcome stress. They act by either preventing your natural stress response or calming your adrenal system from activating in the first place to a stressful event or situation. (12, 13)*
Further, adaptogens promote an overall state of well-being. By modulating the reactions of the body to stress, they not only protect the immune system, they restore your vitality, stamina, and resilience. (12, 13)*
Used in Eastern medicine, both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic, for thousands of years, adaptogenic herbs were used to strengthen the body against disease and to promote energy, vitality, stamina, anti-aging and longevity. They were also used in European cultures and by the Vikings to increase their strength and endurance before embarking on long journeys and going into battle. (9)*
Perhaps the most studies on adaptogens were done by Russian scientists over several decades, primarily between 1945 and 1985. (9)* Thousands of studies were conducted by The Soviet Academy of Science which showed the remarkable ability of adaptogens to protect the body from stress and strengthen the immune system.
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. (12, 13)* Go here for more information on what the Russian scientists discovered.
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, etc. These white blood cells are the first line of defense and protect us from infections including the flu and colds.(23)*
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. (19) (20)*
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. (16)*
Note: New studies are being conducted to identify how adaptogenic herbs may be useful in treating many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and respiratory conditions.
Adaptogens have been used throughout history as a way to help the body resist and overcome the negative effects of stress, increase immunity, fight off fatigue, boost strength and stamina, enhance energy and attention, and promote health and longevity. (12,13)*
If you are interested in learning about highly-effective adaptogen supplements that can reduce stress, fortify your immunity and protect your health, go here: Peak Male for Men and EmpowHER for Women.