Strengthening Your Immune System and Combating Stress At The Same Time
Adaptogens are special. They can help reduce stress, boost immune defenses, and
promote fast recovery from exercise, to just touch on a few of their benefits. Two of
the world’s most effective adaptogens are andrographis and ashwagandha. Both have centuries of traditional use, and have more recently been the subject of intensive clinical study. As strong as each one is on its own, as a combination these adaptogens are incredibly valuable.
Strengthen Your Immune System
Andrographis strengthens your immune system and helps you recover quickly from
upper respiratory illnesses, while ashwagandha has potent antiviral action. In a
double-blind, placebo-controlled study, andrographis relieved the intensity of key
symptoms in just two days, including fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, and
sleeplessness. By the fourth day, it significantly reduced all symptoms, which also
included headache, earache, phlegm production, and the frequency and intensity of
coughing spells. Another clinical study of individuals with upper respiratory tract
infection (URTI) showed similar results. By the third day, there was a dramatic
improvement in coughs, headaches, sore throats, and disturbed sleep. If you’ve ever had cold sores – and they tend to catch you during times of stress – you are familiar with herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1). Researchers found that one of the compounds in andrographis related to andrographolide inhibited the virus even after twelve hours following infection. Other leading edge work has found that compounds from andrographis inhibit the immune-weakening actions of HIV and boost antigen fighting lymphocyte activity, helping rebuild an essential part of the immune system. Ashwagandha, the other half of this adaptogen duo, has been shown to boost levels of specific T-cells that kill infected viral host cells and come to our defense when we’re under attack by an illness.
For Colds, Flus, and Serious Virus Protection
Numerous studies and reviews have come to the same conclusion: andrographis is
indispensable for fighting colds and flus. It reduces symptom severity across the
board, including coughs, runny nose, sneezing, and aches and pains. It is highly
recommended for anyone dealing with an upper respiratory tract infection, whatever the cause. Other clinical research has found that andrographis helps relieve headache, nasal and throat symptoms, and contributes to an overall feeling of wellness by reducing the sense of sluggishness and irritation that comes from being ill. Andrographis has such a strong antibacterial effect that researchers are considering it to be one of the most promising botanicals in the world for developing new treatments that will be safe for children and older people alike. And as far as flu
viruses are concerned, there is strong evidence that ashwagandha can stop them
from invading host cells and replicating. Far beyond our common seasonal flus,
ashwagandha could become a treatment for H1N1, and leading research is
investigating the herb’s ability to block even more serious viruses, like Covid-19.
Reduce Your Reactivity To Stress
As a botanical for reducing your reactivity to daily stress, ashwagandha is one of the best. A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study found ashwagandha significantly reduced serious stress in men and women, according to a common anxiety measurement scale. Other clinical work found ashwagandha reduced symptoms in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder. The study researchers noted it was a safe and effective botanical with potential to be used with conventional medications, too. Ashwagandha may regulate how much cortisol and DHEA we generate in response to stressors. People taking ashwagandha have lower levels of these compounds in the morning, which suggests that it may be working to lower stress levels, and by extension, how much of these natural chemicals the body produces. Also, Ashwaganda works directly with brain chemistry influencing GABA and serotonin activity.
Feel More Daily Energy –Thyroid Support
Feeling energetic in body and mind is the key to vitality. As adaptogens, both andrographis and ashwagandha help you reach a state of balance – not jittery, not tired – but alert and able to tackle whatever the day brings. Ashwagandha works wonders for energy by reversing cases of subclinical thyroid that manifest as feeling dragged down and lethargic. Considering its history as a rasayana – a rejuvenator – in Ayurvedic practice, it isn’t surprising that a clinical study found it restored thyroid activity, and boosted levels of triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), and normalized thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in just 8 weeks.
Bolster Your Stamina & Endurance
Keeping fit means being able to get the most from your workouts. An ashwagandha
study focused on the performance of 40 elite cyclists, divided evenly between men and women. The 8-week study was broken into placebo and treatment groups. At the beginning of the clinical trial, these elite athletes were examined via treadmill test for their maximal aerobic capacity (the rate of oxygen uptake by the body that fuels red blood cells), and the respiratory exchange ratio (how much oxygen is inhaled versus how much carbon dioxide is exhaled). The researchers also measured the total time until the athletes reached a point of exhaustion. In every parameter, the ashwagandha group improved. The botanical boosted their endurance, increased the lungs’ ability to bring in oxygen to fuel red blood cells, and the heart’s ability to pump those red blood cells to the muscles in the body. The placebo group showed no change at all.
Michael Chase, MS, NTP
Nutrition Science and Dietetics
DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this document is for educational purposes only, and should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this information. Individuals should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The statements made in this
document have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any product discussed is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.