Deep Immune for Deep Winter
December 30, 2016
Christmas with all its cheer is behind us. We brace ourselves now for the harsh, challenging days of winter. It’s time to batten down the hatches and adjust to the deep freeze for the long haul--two months and even more. Added to the challenge of inclement weather is the baggage we’ve probably gained from Christmas—an extra layer of padding around the belly, for example, and a general physical sluggishness. Our concerns have shifted from the festive to just coping with the season. Looming large before us now is the threat of colds and flu.
With good reason, here at St. Francis Herb Farm, Deep Immune is our defining hallmark formula. It is the ideal all-around protective tonic for the immune system. Of course, we know how important the immune system is to good health. And it is never more critical to keep this vital system in balance than during this time of winter doldrums.
Deep Immune consists of herbs with a long pedigree in the Chinese tradition of defensive qi, which views disease in military terms as an invading force that needs to be repelled.
Deep Immune combines these defensive herbs to address the various critical body functions that are related to a properly functioning immune system. Astragalus and reishi are heart-tonifying herbs, for example, while schisandra is a liver protectant. Codonopsis and eleuthero play their role as first class general tonics. At the same time, white atractylodes improves the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients. For its part, ligustrum is foundational in this formula and relates to the circulatory system and eyes. Licorice is considered “the great harmonizer” in traditional Chinese medicine, amplifying the healing qualities of all the ingredients.
There is a further aspect of Deep Immune that gives it a distinctive therapeutic signature. It is a feature that aligns perfectly with its intent as an immune formula. Nearly all the herbs in Deep Immune are what are known as adaptogens. This is a more or less self-evidently descriptive term that was coined by Russian researchers working in the 1940s and 1950s.
Simply put, adaptogens are plant remedies that help the body adapt to stress and push back against fatigue. They act, in fact, very much in the fashion of a thermostat, constantly working to bring the body into a state of homeostasis or balance by stabilizing its physiological processes. Adaptogens are characterized by a non-specific activity. In other words, they increase the body’s general resistance to harmful environmental agents. These can be biological (e.g. infections), chemical (e.g. pollution), or physical (e.g. the extremes of temperature, like a Canadian winter).
Over time, researchers have established adaptogens as a new class of nontoxic metabolic regulators that reduce the ill effects of stress and fatigue by reducing the reactive response of the body’s defensive systems, particularly the HPA axis (i.e. hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis), which controls the hormonal response to stress.
In helping the body cope with physical, emotional, and mental stress, adaptogens have what amounts to a curative effect and carry a host of benefits. They enhance the vitality and functioning of all the major body systems and organs—the heart, circulation, metabolism, the immune system, digestion, the brain, and the reproductive system, to name the most obvious. The upshot is that adaptogens can function as preventers of disease and have even been called “medicine for healthy people.”
When it comes to taking adaptogens like Deep Immune over the long term, it is generally recommended that they be used in an “on again, off again” cycle. This can be “three weeks on, one week off” or else “four weeks on, two weeks off.” Such a pattern helps the body make the balancing adjustments it needs.
Although safe for children, some of the herbs in the
Deep Immune adult version tend to be stimulatory. Because of this, we have devised
a simplified, stripped down children’s formula that captures the essentials of
this wonderfully effective remedy.
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