The worldwide COVID pandemic has officiated us all into a Great Turning; a pivot which we do not know just how long it will last and how much our lives will change. Many of us have lost love ones, business opportunities, jobs, income, and more. Everything is upside down. Confusion, uncertainty, and difficulties are abundant. This all leads to stress levels that many of us have never known before. The current fall mutation of the "crown" virus is more contagious than the spring version. There are hundreds of thousands of people getting sick with chances of lasting morbidity if one is lucky enough to make it through....what can make the difference??? How can we lower the viral load beyond wearing masks, maintaining 6-foot distances, and washing our hands often?
Plant medicines provide protection and support under duress since the beginning of time. A special group of plant medicine is called adaptogens gives clues to the physiologic functions these plants carry out; they help us to adapt to the changes we are going through. They help us reduce the harmful levels of stress that reduce our immune system's defenses and make us more susceptible to infection. Daily dosing of these medicines in tea, broths, folding them into soups, sauces, dishes can give you and your family that extra protection needed in times like this.
Many of the adaptogens serve many functions that help us get extra protection: they reduce inflammation, are antiviral, and support our neuro-endocrine system to withstand psychological, environmental, and physiological stress.
It is important to note that more is NOT better when it comes to these plant medicines. They are best used as tonics in small doses on a consistent basis.
Ashwagandha is a gift from the Ayurvedic Medicine system of India. "The Strength of Horses" has been known to strengthen the musculoskeletal system as well as cognitive function. It is neuro-protective. Improvements in anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and attention deficit disorder have been reported. It is good for diabetics and is known to make hypertensive arteries more supple leading to lower blood pressures. It is antiviral as well as antibacterial and is well known as an anti-aging medicinal. Its calming effects should not be mixed with sedatives. A physician knowledgeable in plant medicines should be consulted if you have autoimmune disease before you add this to your daily regimen. Its immunostimulating effects could be too much for a person with rheumatoid or lupus.
Astragalus comes to us from Traditional Chinese Medicine where it is affectionately referred to as the young one's ginseng. Its immunostimulating properties can help the body to produce interferon. It is antiviral, protects DNA and telomeres. It is strengthening to both the liver and the kidney.
Both of these roots should be boiled. They can low boiled preferably in porcelain on steel or pyrex glass pot with a top for at least 15 to 20 minutes. The herbs can be used many times over to get all the medicines out. Add medicinal mushrooms, vegetables, bones to make broth (see recipe)
From the temples of India, Tulsi comes to the rescue. Also known as holy basil, the aerial parts of this plant are steeped, never boiled, and are good medicine from the young to the old, even nursing Moms! This adaptogen can increase milk flow in nursing Moms, which is antiviral. It can help with the sadness that many of us can feel going through this. It too is anti-inflammatory, a brain booster & digestive aid.
Honeybush, comes to us from the sides of the Cederberg tree that has endured thousands of years of growing in adverse conditions in South Africa. These terms alone earn the right to be called an adaptogen. It is a sweet remedy for digestive disorders often caused by stress! It has strong antioxidant properties. It can be prepared as a calming tea, used in marinades, stews, and soups
- Dr. J.