Our immunity takes a hit when the weather turns cold and flu season sets in. It’s at this time that many of us turn to immune-boosting herbs for support. These potent herbs help your body tackle and adapt to stressors by increasing its innate ability to respond positively to stressors and threats.
Adaptogens are supercharged plant allies with incredible benefits. They aren’t only good for helping you cope with stress and help your body return to homeostasis faster after you experience a stressful event. This article gives you an overview of these unique herbs and their benefits. Let’s get started...
What are Adaptogens?
An adaptogen is a plant-based compound that helps the body cope with stressors. Adaptogens have gained popularity over the last few years as an alternative health approach that supports homeostasis and balance in the body. They’re also known for their anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties.
Many different adaptogens have been used for centuries in traditional healing practices worldwide. While all these herbs have unique properties, they also share some commonalities. Some of the main qualities of adaptogenic herbs include stress reduction, immune boosting, and improved mental clarity.
Adaptogens are neither stimulants nor sedatives but promote balance and calm. The effects of adaptogenic herbs can be cumulative, meaning you may take them over weeks or months to feel their full effect.
The Indian herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is one of the most common adaptogens in Ayurvedic and Chinese herbalism. It’s a root that has been used for centuries as a general health tonic.
Ashwagandha is known for its potent anti-inflammatory and anti-stress effects. It’s often used by people who are experiencing chronic stress or fatigue. It also helps support a healthy immune system, making it an excellent herb for the fall and winter.
Some studies have also shown that ashwagandha benefits fertility and reproductive health.
How to use:
Ashwagandha can be taken as a tincture, capsule, or dried powder. The recommended dosage is between 500 and 2000 milligrams, three times per day. It’s best to take ashwagandha in the early afternoon since it can be a mild stimulant.
A fungus called cordyceps develops on cephalopod larvae, just like mushrooms do. Ironically, even though the word “cordyceps” sounds like a virus, it’s been used for centuries as an immune system tonic. This fungus is now cultivated in a lab and commonly used as an adaptogen.
It’s believed to help regulate the hormones that control metabolic rate and blood sugar. In addition, it helps the body respond to stress and improves athletic performance. Cordyceps is an excellent herb for anyone who is experiencing anxiety or fatigue.
How to use:
Cordyceps can be taken as a tincture, capsule, or dried powder. The recommended dosage is between 500 and 2000 milligrams, three times daily.
Eleuthero (also known as Siberian Ginseng)
You may have heard Siberian ginseng being called the “king of adaptogens” or the “crown prince of the herbs.” This herb is known for its potent health benefits and has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries.
This herb has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties. It’s also an excellent herb for healthy blood pressure, metabolism, and blood sugar.It’s often used to support a healthy immune system and help people feel less stressed.
How to use: The root of the eleuthero plant is used for herbal preparations. It can be taken as a tincture, capsule, or dried powder. The recommended dosage is between 500 and 2000 milligrams, three times daily.
The holy basil, also known as tulsi, is a sacred plant in Ayurvedic and Buddhist herbalism. It’s been used for thousands of years and is well known for its adaptogenic properties. This herb is a general tonic known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-stress properties.
Holy basil also helps support a healthy immune system and is often used to help with anxiety and sleep.
How to use: The leaves of the tulsi plant are used for herbal preparations. It can be taken as a tincture, capsule, or dried powder. The recommended dosage is between 250 and 1000 milligrams, three times a day.
Chinese herbalism has a long tradition of using licorice root for health. It’s often used as an adaptogen and is usually taken by people experiencing chronic stress. This herb is high in tryptophan, the amino acid needed to produce serotonin.
It’s commonly used to boost serotonin levels and is often used to help with sleep. Additionally, it helps maintain a robust immune system and alleviates seasonal allergies.
How to use:
The root of the licorice plant is used for herbal preparations. It can be taken as a tincture, capsule, or dried powder. The recommended dosage is between 500 and 2000 milligrams, three times daily.
Schizandra is a beautiful Chinese herb used as a tonic and adaptogen. It’s used to nourish and support the health of the entire body. Schizandra is one of the most potent adaptogens.
It’s been shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-stress properties. It’s believed to help regulate metabolic rate and blood sugar and help support a healthy immune system.
How to use:
Schizandra can be taken as a tincture, capsule, or dried powder. The recommended dosage is between 500 and 2000 milligrams, three times daily.
Many herbs can help boost immunity. These herbs help you feel less stressed, sleep better, and feel more energized. Some herbs you can use to boost your immunity include ashwagandha, cordyceps, eleuthero, holy basil, licorice root, and schizandra berry.
These herbs can help regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, and hormones. They can help you feel less stressed and have more balanced energy. When your body is flat, it can fight illnesses better and stay healthy.