Spring Immune Defense: Ayurveda and Herbal Support For a Healthy Immune System
The urge to get outside and enjoy the warm weather signals the start of the revitalizing spring season––an ideal time to support your immune system and renew health and wellness practices. While all that fresh spring air and sunshine is a welcome change that lifts everyone’s spirits, the season does come with some challenges for immune health.
Along with increased pollen in the air that can trigger seasonal allergies, asthma often flares this time of year from temperature changes and spring cleaning. This is also a peak time for viruses and the common cold. During the winter, we spend a lot of time indoors leaving our immune systems less robust than other times of the of year. All of these factors can put stress on immune function and bodily systems.
In the spring, our bodies are ready to detox and cleanse toxins from the body which can help support the immune system. A strong immune system is key to supporting seasonal discomfort. Ayurvedic practices, yoga, and a variety of herbal support for a healthy immune system are a few of our favorite ways to provide a broad spectrum defense against common springtime ailments.
Immune Health the Ayurvedic Way
In Ayurveda, herbal support for a healthy immune system contributes to the overall balance of the mind and body for optimal well-being. Ayurvedic herbs and formulations can help balance the doshas, support the nervous and digestive systems, and help you bounce back after illness.
A traditional Ayurvedic approach to supporting immunity is to nourish Ojas. In Sanskrit, the word “Ojas” means vigor or vitality. Ojas is the vital life force that supports the systems of the body, helping to ensure it’s prepared to protect itself.
Lowering Stress for Immune Health
The Impact of Stress on Immune Health
Stress is often thought of as a mental or emotional experience. However, the physical and biological effects of stress are undeniable. Stress raises cortisol levels, increases heart rate and blood pressure, and can cause muscle tension in the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Cortisol alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system, and growth processes.” Increased heart rate and blood pressure over prolonged periods of time can cause damage to the cardiovascular system, triggering an innate immune system response.
Mental, emotional, and physical balance is an immune health basics essential.
Ways to Stress Less: Yoga for Immune Health and Rejuvenation
For centuries, Yoga has been used as an immune health basic and go-to for Ayurvedic practitioners. Studies have proven that yoga can reduce cortisol levels, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and reduce tension. A 2018 study done on the effect of yoga on stress, anxiety, and depression in women found that “Yoga has an effective role in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.” In fifteen randomized controlled trials, pro-inflammatory markers were measured to see if the immune system response was affected by a yoga practice. The overall pattern was a reduction in pro-inflammatory markers, in particular, a cytokine called IL-1beta.
Bhuta Shuddhi is one of our favorite wellness practices. It uses a traditional form of yoga for immune health. This yogic science is meant to help achieve the ultimate well-being of body and mind.
Click here for a lesson with Yogi Subhash Mohanty that will help you understand and practice these ancient methods and principles through Yoga asanas, pranayama, and kriyas.
Pregnant women, people who’ve recently had surgery or an injury, and those with blood pressure, lung, heart, eye or ear problems should consult with their doctor before practicing Bhuta Shuddhi.
Ways to Stress Less: Ayurvedic Breath Work for Immune Health Basics
When the body is under stress, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, redirecting energy away from vital organs and body systems to ensure survival. Pranayama or breathwork has many stress-soothing benefits. Certain types of pranayama can help shift the body out of the “fight-or-flight” response activated by the sympathetic nervous system to a calming parasympathetic state.
Alternate nostril breathing is a balancing pranayama technique that helps relax the body and calm anxious thoughts. Certain types of pranayama are practiced to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to help keep the body and mind calm, focused, and even support digestion.
→ Check out our guide to a simple, warming breath practice called Surya Bhedana Pranayama here.
Ways to Stress Less: Essential Oils for Less Stress
Using organic, calming essential oils is a great way to help ease the mind and body during times of stress. Essential oils can support the nervous system, help the body cope with feelings of stress, and lull your senses which can support a restful night of sleep. Our line of essential oils can be used in a diffuser or diluted for use in beauty care routines (keeping away from sensitive areas like the eyes).
Digestive Health for Immune System Support
The bacteria in the gut outnumber the cells in our body ten times over. These bacteria play a crucial role in breaking down food to ensure our body receives optimal nutrition. “The microbiome and the immune system are critically intertwined,” according to a professor of digestive diseases at UCLA. It plays a vital role in “maintain[ing] resistance against the colonization of pathogenic bacteria.” Stress, illness, and lifestyle factors all impact our gut bacteria -and therefore our overall well-being.
The best way to nourish the gut for healthy immune function is through a healthy diet, lifestyle, and gut-friendly herbal support! Sugar feeds ‘bad’ gut bacteria, reducing your sugar intake can help good bacteria flourish. A balanced, seasonal and nutrient-dense diet that’s supportive of your dosha is key to supporting your digestive and immune system. Adding more fruits and veggies to your diet is a great way to add nutrients and soluble fibers that support digestion.
Respiratory Health for Immune System & Seasonal Allergy Support
In spring, pollen is the most common allergen trigger to the immune system. The proceeding immune system response produces a chemical called histamine which can lead to allergy symptoms, such as asthma, itchy, puffy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing.
Herbal support for the immune system can be a great way to support the body through the seasonal shifts. Seasonal Relief, a proprietary formulation combines Turmeric, Triphala, Andrographis, and Bamboo Rhizome to help the body cope with these shifts to support the immune system. These Ayurvedic herbs support balanced immune responses naturally as the body defends itself against pollen and other allergens. Packed with some of Ayurveda’s best vitamins for immune health and wellness, Seasonal Relief is a great addition to your seasonal respiratory and immune wellness routine.
Essential oils and immune health products with ingredients like Peppermint and Eucalyptus like Organic Respiratory Oil offer another simple way to support respiratory health. The invigorating scent supports clear, relaxed airways. The soothing, yet revitalizing aroma is a fan favorite as a bedtime oil in the diffuser.
Herbal Support for a Healthy Immune System
Ojas: Immune BalanceWhen you need an umbrella of herbal support for immune health, Immune Balance is our go-to. This herbal blend was carefully selected to bolster Ojas, the vital life force in Ayurveda believed to nourish the seven bodily tissues: plasma, blood, muscle, fat, bone, nerve, and reproductive tissues. This rejuvenating blend contains Malay Bush Beech, Tribulus, Bael, Guduchi, as well as some of Ayurveda’s best vitamins for immune health and readiness.
During seasonal transitions, self-awareness of your energy levels and general wellness is key to supporting the body. A low Ojas doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual decline that can take time to become apparent. A daily herbal support for immune health can help you maintain your Ojas, immunity, and overall wellbeing.
Shilajit: Mineral Powerhouse
Our Shilajit is a synergistic immune system supplement harvested from the Himalayan mountains. Considered to be one of Ayurveda’s secretly best vitamins for immune health, this pure mineral packed resin slowly forms at high altitudes between layers of rock.
Shilajit is packed with macrominerals and trace minerals that support healthy immune responses, red blood cell production, and it helps protect neurons from the effects of stress.
Shilajit is often referred to as a “carrier” due to its unique ability to help transport toxins out of the body and deliver essential nutrients in.
→ Read more about mineral-packed Shilajit here on the blog.
Moringa: Defense Activator
Moringa is called the miracle tree for good reason. It contains more protein than eggs, more iron than spinach, more vitamin A than carrots, and more calcium than milk. It possesses 46 antioxidants that help support the body against oxidative stress.
In addition to its incredible nutritional profile, Moringa also has neuroprotective properties that support the adrenal glands for healthy cortisol levels, giving the body the extra support to defend itself from environmental stressors that can compromise the immune system.
→ Read more about Moringa here on the blog.
Andrographis: Full-Spectrum Immune Wellness
Andrographis is an Ayurvedic immune health basic used as a seasonal systematic detox to help support immune function. Modern research shows that Andrographis supports immune balance by modulating levels of immune cells in the blood.
Historically, it’s believed to enter the channels of the lungs and digestive organs, clearing dampness and heat to restore energetic balance. Research has linked Andrographis to respiratory health among the many other bodily systems and functions it supports.