The Stress – Immunity Link (And How Plant Medicine Can Help!)

Stress Management

The last couple of years have been exceptionally stressful for everybody – and we’ve gained a greater appreciation for protecting our health.

Even at the best of times, finding balance amidst the fast pace of modern life is tricky. The stress response is instinctive – but physiological stress responses that helped our ancestors escape predators are now triggered by daily occurrences, like traffic or work deadlines. This everyday stress accumulates, disrupting your sleep, mood and natural defenses against illness and infection.

Stress management is key for supporting the strong immunity you need to protect your health!

We’re all familiar with some sensations of feeling “stressed out”: tight shoulders and neck, quickened heart rate, a knot in your stomach, feeling hot and sweaty, or distracted and unable to focus. 

BUT stress is not just perceived stress. It is the body’s reaction to any change that requires your body to respond or adjust. In other words, stress can sneak up on you without you even realizing it!

Healthy amounts of stress work to keep us motivated and alert, and we can recover from it with our bodily systems returning to regular functioning. But too much takes a toll and makes us vulnerable to infection – this is the stress-immunity connection.

The Stress-Immunity Connection

The body is constantly adjusting to compensate for the impacts of stress, and, in doing so, redirects its resources away from certain functions, like circulation or digestion (ever experience digestive disturbances when feeling anxious? That’s a sign!).

When the brain perceives stress, it sends messages to the endocrine system (the hormonal system of the body) to prepare the body to react to an emergency (fight or flight). Chronic stress can cause the adrenal glands to hypertrophy, thus increasing circulating serum cortisol (stress hormone) levels, while immune organs like the thymus atrophy. In other words, these reactions shunt resources away from the immune system leading to lowered immune function and increased susceptibility to infections.

Over time, the residual effects of intense or repeated stress responses can shift the immune system into an unbalanced, compromised state.   

We can’t eliminate stress from our lives, and, as mentioned – we need moderate amounts of it. The key is finding stress management tools to prevent the immune system from becoming overwhelmed and out of balance.

Restore Immune Balance with Adaptogens!

Adaptogens have gained mainstream attention for their ability to help with stress management in today’s world. Their use dates back centuries across the globe in many traditional healing modalities, as they support stamina, reduce fatigue, and improve resiliency.  

These specific herbs, plants, and mushrooms work to recalibrate all systems of the body, making it more resilient, and diminish the negative impacts of physical, emotional, and mental stress.

Master Herbalist D.M. Yance affirms that, “strengthening the nervous system can be the real key to supporting the immune system” and that adaptogens “improve our ability to recognize, respond, recover, and restore” when we encounter stressors in our everyday lives.

Adaptogens are distinguished by their ability to adapt their function to an individual’s unique health needs for stress resiliency, effectively supporting whole-body health - which in turn, helps the immune system to operate in its “sweet spot”, where it is balanced and prepared!

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that has been used for thousands of years to strengthen the body’s vitality, fortifying resiliency to infection while restoring and calming the nervous system, alleviating anxiety.

Our Ashwagandha Caps are prepared from a proprietary Certified Organic ashwagandha root – KSM-66® – a clean, sustainably sourced ashwagandha backed by clinical studies supporting its positive effects on stress and anxiety – providing enhanced potency and absorption in the convenience of a vegetarian capsule.

Our high-absorption Certified Organic Ashwagandha Tincture offers this revered stress-relieving herb in a traditionally crafted format that features time-honoured extraction methods which adhere to the highest quality standards.

Our award winning Strest® formula contains ashwagandha, PLUS 5 other highly esteemed stress-resiliency herbs, including:

  • Holy basil – effectively reduces anxiety and improves mental focus.
  • Rhodiola – boosts brain function and memory, balances mood and alleviates fatigue.
  • Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero) – improves mental and physical performance and builds resistance to environmental stress.

Strest® is available in both tincture format and convenient Strest® Capsules.

Single herb or formula? Which is right for me?

Single adaptogenic herbs are often more appropriate than formulas for those with sensitivities or for whom certain herbal ingredients are contraindicated. In this case we would recommend Ashwagandha tincture or capsules as part of your daily herbal stress management routine.

Multi-herb formulas can be more suitable for those experiencing a variety of stress symptoms or more intense anxiety and are looking to benefit from a combination of herbal ingredients. Strest® contains 6 stress-supportive herbs, and their synergy results in a formula where the effect of the combination of herbs is greater than the sum of its parts.

Learn more: Stress Less – How Plant Medicine Can Help Manage Stress.

Lifestyle factors are also a vital part of a holistic approach towards stress management:

  • Movement and mindfulness. Practicing yoga, meditation, deep breathing, exercise, journaling and exposure to nature and green spaces all have positive effects.
  • Healthy sleep is essential! Read more about the Sleep-Stress connection here

Incorporating adaptogens into your stress management program can help you find your balance in today’s busy world – and help keep your immune system at its strongest, so you stay at your healthiest!

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