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.
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 the time of year, where more often than not we are turning to our medicine cupboard to support our bodies and our families. An abundance of tea herbs, honey and lemon, fresh herbs like ginger, turmeric, cayenne and garlic are all great to have on hand throughout the winter. A few herbal tinctures also play useful roles and are key ingredients in the medicine cabinet.
Elderberry | Elderberry is an excellent superfood-like ally safe to take in large quantities. With elderberry and plenty of rest, our body’s natural response kicks in–that’s why elderberry syrups and tea have long been used to help support optimal immune function. All these amazing herbs come in handy when our resources are low: elderberry helps our body maintain its normal immune response. Because it’s so much like food, it’s incredibly safe for kids, and happens to taste divine when combined with honey–hence the elderberry syrup! This one is a must have for the kitchen herb cabinet as it’s family-safe.
The flowers of Elder are also quite useful and are used for supporting sinuses and a healthy inflammatory response. While lovely in tea because of its sweet aromatic quality, Elderflower also is great in tincture form and used in combination with other herbs. You can find Elderflower in most of our First Aid formulas because this plant is safe, and supports so many different functions of our body.
Elecampane | Herbalists rely on Elecampane when it comes to