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 […]
March often teases us with springtime weather, while also delivering blustery days full of rain, snow and gray clouds. Our moods can be all over the place too after a burst of warm sunshine and a cold snow storm leave our bodies in confused states. As we make this transition and await the arrival of spring, our spirits are definitely in need of some brightening, uplifting inspiration and energy!
Nourishing ourselves with good food and time spent outdoors is always helpful. We can also turn to our plant allies, whatever the weather, for mood-brightening tonics to get us through these transitional months.
Even if you don’t take mood and stress support tonics on the regular, it’s fun to break up the routine a little and make herbal beverages that are not only beautiful and inspiring but serve a purpose in your mental health and optimal well-being.
Perhaps you are in the mood for a solid energy buzz, or a joyful, brightening spritzer; whatever the occasion these drinks are perfect for this time of year.
Kombucha Joy Tonic Sparklers, with Damiana and Hawthorn
½ cup favorite kombucha flavor- we used schisandra & rose!
1 tablespoon Urban Moonshine Joy Tonic
1 teaspoon Damiana tincture or powder
1 teaspoon Hawthorn tincture
Rose and Schisandra Sugar for cup rim.
To make Rose and Schisandra Sugar- combine 1 tablespoon of each herb (powdered) and add 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix well.
Wet the rim of the glass by dipping in water […]
It’s pollen season. And if that doesn’t sound like good news to you, well, don’t get too disheartened yet. As experienced herbalists are happy to tell you, by supporting a healthy, balanced immune response and a well-functioning liver, it’s possible for everyone to bask in the joys abundant this time of year from a place of clarity and freshness. Our Aller-Blast formula is designed with this in mind and with the added benefit of also including herbs that have traditionally been used to support mucus membrane integrity for healthy eyes, nose, sinus, and respiratory tract.
To understand how herbs support us during this season, it is helpful to understand balanced immune function and how it relates to liver function. Every day, a healthy immune system is busy at work identifying any unhelpful trespassers in the bloodstream and responding appropriately to eliminate them. At the same time, a healthy liver is breaking down and removing byproducts of the body’s normal everyday processes (i.e. immune responses) and metabolizing other normal bodily exposures (i.e. dietary and environmental) so that they can leave our body via the bowels. While an underactive immune response leaves one vulnerable, an overactive immune response can create a hot storm of activity that the liver is left to clean up after. This sort of upkeep is part of the liver’s everyday job. Supporting its optimal function therefor helps maintain clean, smooth metabolism. With this process in good working order, metabolites leave the body rather than recirculate in the bloodstream and your immune system is left to function in peace.