Mucosa, host defense, and the role of stress
In our quest to combat disease, modern medicine has developed an array of tools: from antibiotics and other antimicrobials, pharmaceuticals can provide a strong push-back against infection when necessary. Conversely, in cases where the immune system turns its fire against our own bodies (conditions collectively known as “autoimmunity”, for example rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or certain inflammatory bowel diseases), we see the use of steroids, anti-inflammatories, and immunosuppressants. And while in either case these modern interventions can be life-saving, both circumvent our immune systems: antimicrobials purport to take over the job of fighting pathogens, while steroids and immunosuppressive drugs just turn the immune system off.
But our immunity is a sophisticated, subtle learning system that works best when it is fully engaged. In fact, we’re starting to discover that some of the dysregulation in immune function (hypersensitivities, asthma and allergies, for example) might be linked to an overly sheltered, microbe-free environment:
without exposure, without challenge, the immune system fails to learn the language needed to operate effectively in a world full of both microbes and allergens.
To herbalists, the use of drugs that fight infection or suppress the immune response as a first-line intervention seems akin to a parenting philosophy that either does a child’s work for her, or tells the child to be quiet and go to her room. Neither, in the long run, produces healthy, well-adjusted adults.
We strive instead to support our immune system’s own functional processes, much […]
There comes a time when we could all use a little boost in energy, especially during the busy season of summer! Thankfully there are many ways to support ourselves and boost energy through herbs and lifestyle habits.
Fatigue is a common complaint, especially after long periods of stress, busy schedules or just in general as we get older.
Many of the ways that we support our bodies to feel more vital and energized is foundational self care = The things we should be doing already to stay healthy. As always, herbalism is about balance, and our energy supply is just the same. We have to look at the whole picture when it comes to supporting fatigue.
Be in touch with yourself and take a critical look at your habits, daily patterns and how you take care of your body and build your reserves. We get our vital essence and energy from our state of physical and mental state of being. With a little practice and support from certain herbs and foods- you can be feeling your best and ready to take on the abundance of this busy summer season!
Try the following:
1. Energy Tonic
An energizing adaptogenic formula that supports your adrenal system and boosts stamina and endurance. It’s fast acting, without the effects of stimulants, while slowly nourishing and building to your adrenal system. It restores mental alertness and pushes back against fatigue. It combines some of the most widely used adaptogenic herbs to protect your body from the depleting effects of stress.
Mindful mamas, we see you. You’re protecting and providing for your baby every minute of the day. You’re constantly researching the best for your family. You’re navigating an unsteady world while providing balance for those you care about most. You are a superwoman.
And if you’re feeling run-down, it’s no wonder! You do a lot.
Resilience is defined as the ability to adapt and cope with stressful situations. You can think of resilience like a big jug of water. We dip into this supply of water when any stressful situation arises. The greater the stress, the more “water” we use. So throughout the day, the level of water goes down. And most of the time that jug gets refilled naturally – when we rest, for example.
However, in times of prolonged stress, our level of resilience gets lower and lower. It becomes more difficult to replenish fully, especially when compounded with sleep deprivation. As a result, we feel run-down in addition to being tired.
This is totally normal and happens to almost everyone at one time or another. Even a superwoman. The good news is that you can support your resilience with self-care.
I think of self-care as a tool to strengthen resilience. Approaching it in this way allows for it to be a priority. For me, the biggest challenge is to shake off the notion that self-care is somehow frivolous; a waste of time that could be better spent knocking things off my to-do list.
But the reality is that you are the only one who can prioritize your self-care. And really, your to-do […]
As the year comes to a close, with some relief; and some anxiety about the state of our world in the future, we can turn to some simple routines to nourish ourselves. Sometimes it feels like time is moving too quickly, and the sense of longevity dwindles with the daily checklists and the demanding reality of our jobs, family lives, and social responsibilities. Time seems to speed up and the practice of personal time isn’t high on our lists. Living in a world that demands every ounce of your energy and attention requires radical self-care, particularly at the New Year and after the holidays. It builds the foundational blocks for the rest of the year and re-establishes a relationship with our deepest self and a genuine meaning of who we are and what we love.
Self-care not only builds our reserves and keeps our systems healthy and well, but it also de-clutters our mind and allows for more positive thinking to take place.
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to turn inward and refocus on our needs. We will be better people for it. And our world needs strong and fiercely passionate people to be engaged and connected.
We all know what happens with elaborate New Year’s resolutions: they aren’t very lasting, and then we feel worse about letting them slip a week into the new year. Focus on small, tangible habits that will sustain the core of who you are and the changes you’d like to see. Everybody has different wants and needs— a nourishing ritual for […]