If you been following me for a while, you know that I have a preference for prevention and for getting to the root of our issues instead of masking the symptoms. Therefore, I highly recommend learning techniques that will help you cope with life and manage stress like EFT, yoga, qi-gong, CBT, CFT, mediation, and all the many other methods that are out there. Find one or more that you work for you and implement it daily as well as building healthy eating habits.
Ok, enough of my ranting, now let’s start reviewing the best adaptogen herbs to restore your body.
These herbs also work to increase innate immunity and provide vital support to the immune system. They are nutritive, directly benefit the nervous system, and enhances our ability to cope with the stress of daily life. Therefore, if you are under chronic stress, you will benefit from taking an adaptogen tonic on a regular basis that includes some of these herbs (There are other adaptogens that I did not list. However, this is a comprehensive list that covers some of the best-researched adaptogen herbs):
1. Astragalus. Astragalus root is one of the most potent immune-boosting plants. It is a Chinese herb that’s been used for centuries to strengthen the body’s internal systems, and it helps specifically with colds and upper respiratory infections. Its greatest strength is preventing and protecting cells against cell death and other harmful elements, such as free radicals and oxidation. Do not take astragalus while you have a fever.
2. Ashwagandha. This herb is popular in Ayurvedic medicine, and it has been used for more than 2,500 years. It has many health benefits, including thyroid modulating and neuroprotective. It strengthens the immune system, enhances stamina and endurance, improves fertility and sexual function, relieves adrenal fatigue, balances blood sugar levels, and improves cognitive function. It reduces stress and lowers cortisol levels. It is anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory.
3. Eleuthero. In Chinese medicine, eleuthero (also known as Siberian ginseng) is used to support adrenals, prevent respiratory tract infections, colds, and flu and to increase energy, longevity, and vitality. Double-blind studies have found that a specific product containing eleuthero reduced the severity and length of colds when taken within seventy-two hours of symptoms starting. Another study found that healthy people who took eleuthero for four weeks had an increase of T-cells, which may indicate a strengthening of their immune systems. It is widely used in Russia as an adaptogen.
4. Ginseng (Panax). An herb commonly used in Chinese medicine, is proving successful in reducing the number and severity of colds in research subjects. Ginseng also improves stamina and stress resistance and enhances the ability to endure the physical strain, resist disease, and perform tests of mental sharpness. It is also an anti-inflammatory. It boosts metabolism; helps with depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue, and erectile dysfunction; lowers blood sugar; relieves menopause symptoms; improves lung function; and prevents cancer.
5. Holy Basil. Also known as tulsi, it’s used as a remedy for anxiety, adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, unbalanced blood sugar, and acne. Scientists have proven that it helps protect organs and tissues against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion and ischemia. It is an antibacterial, antiviral, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, antidepressant, antioxidant, and galactagogue (promotes mother’s milk). Additionally, it has been shown that helps fight cancer, balances hormones, and relieves congestion and other symptoms of respiratory conditions.
6. Licorice. It is an antiviral, antidiuretic, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, demulcent, expectorant, adrenal fatigue, and hepaprotective.
7. Maca. Antioxidant-rich, it increases strength, energy, stamina, cognitive function such as memory and mood, and libido and sexual function. It balances estrogen levels and boosts male fertility.
8. Rhodiola. Also known as roseroot, it is antidepressant, antioxidant, antiviral, nervine, mild central nervous system stimulant, antiarrhythmic (protects against irregular heartbeats), cardioprotective, and neuroprotective.
9. Reishi Mushroom. Nicknamed “the Great Protector,” red reishi mushroom has been used for centuries for its numerous health benefits. Proven to be a potent immune modulator, this mushroom has been shown to contain health-giving compounds that regulate antibody production, protecting you against cold and flu viruses. It can also be taken during a cold or flu to help speed up recovery and minimize a virus’ effect. It works best when taken regularly to prevent infections from taking hold in the first place. Make sure to choose a product rich in polysaccharides, sterols, and other compounds that support the immune system.
Until next week,
Dr. Toni is a Best-selling author, Holistic Health Practitioner (HHP) & Registered Herbalist in San Diego, California. She holds a PhD in psychology, and a Clinical Herbalist Certificate, an HHP certificate and is a Certified Trainer in the Success Principles. In private practice as a HHP she has been influenced by a variety of clinical modalities and orientations, and by the diverse life experiences of her clients. Toni’s approach to healing is holistic & transpersonal. In her work, she integrates the principles of Eastern and Western nutrition, herbololgy, energy medicine, Buddhist mindfulness and personal counseling to assist others in working through their physical or emotional blocks to attain optimal health.