I love learning!
And I want to share some of what I have learned or am learning with you, in small ‘bite size chews’, when the spirit moves. This makes sense for us! I am busy and can’t write much at a time and the ‘bite size’ approach is good for you too. It gives you time to actually swallow, digest, and integrate in this fast paced world with so much information.
So come on along if you would like.
Adaptogens – What do They Mean to Me?
Of course I knew the word ‘adaptogen’ but when we decided to create our Stress Support Adadptogenic Blend I seriously had to go to school on this concept. Here is some of what I learned ...
“No category of herbs holds more potential for overworked, overstressed Americans than adaptogens. They are a bridge that can carry us over stressful situations with our health intact,” says David Winston, RH (AHG), herbalist, ethnobotanist, and coauthor of Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief (Healing Arts Press, 2007).
Of course this is not just true for Americans! But these phrases caught my attention, having been someone who had succumbed to rather serious illness at one point in my life. What the heck? Where had that bridge been for me?
Adaptogenic herbs - such as ashwagandha, holy basil, black maca, and macuna - have been used for thousands of years in ancient healing practices like Aryuveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Even so, many people have never heard of them.
The World Health Organization states that over 80% of all disease is directly due to stress. Stress poisons the body. It cripples the immune system, upsets hormone balance, disrupts digestion, and most dangerous of all, it dials up inflammation. “Stress lies at the root of every inflammatory disease,” says Bharat Aggarwal, Chief of the cytokine research section in the Department of Clinical Immunology, Bioimmunotherapy, and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
“Controlled inflammation is useful, like using heat to cook,” he says, “but uncontrolled inflammation will burn your house down.” He counts off a few of the inflammatory diseases influenced, if not sparked, by stress: obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, arthritis — and the list goes on. “There are no two ways about it,” says Aggarwal, “any kind of stress, be it physical, emotional, or psychological, will turn on inflammation in the body.”
This is where adaptogens come into play. “The body has a master switch that responds to stressors,” says Aggarwal, “that single switch controls more than 500 genes responsible for inflammation and adaptogens ensure that the switch turns off and stays off. In doing so, they help snuff out inflammation.”
“As far as something with concrete evidence of promoting health across the board,” says Donald Yance, MH, CN, SFO, master herbalist and author of Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism (Healing Arts Press, 2013), “there is nothing even in the same ballpark as adaptogens.”
Adaptogens improve the entire body’s resistance to stress, not just one particular system or organ, regardless of where the disruption may originate. In other words, an adaptogen works like a tuning fork on your body: It helps bring your system back into harmony after a day of discord.
That’s the bridge!