Last year’s coronavirus nightmare was also a cold and flu miracle. As millions stayed home to avoid the pandemic, those old seasonal enemies pretty much fizzled out.
But I wouldn’t bet on that happening this year. In fact, we could face a triple threat of misery as ALL THREE viral illnesses start circulating simultaneously. And this time around, people aren’t staying home.
We’re out. We’re about. And we’re exposed to these and other germs from every direction.
Now, new research reveals one move that could help give your immune system an edge in this fight. And as a bonus, this same all-natural remedy can help with another common cause of seasonal misery as we head into autumn and winter.
It can help battle back against holiday stress. Which, let’s face it, will likely be doubled this year as we try to make up for the lost time.
Ashwagandha supports a healthy immune system
Okay, I’ll admit the ashwagandha doesn’t just roll off the tongue. But it’s a name we should all get to know a little better anyway.
Ashwagandha has been a staple for centuries in traditional medicine in India. And now modern science is verifying the herb’s many benefits.
The latest research explores how ashwagandha can help enhance your immune system. The potent plant extract may help your body stage a stronger defense against viruses, bacteria, and other troublemakers that threaten your health every day.
Your immune system is a pretty complex machine, of course. But it can be broken down into two basic parts. And in the new study, ashwagandha stepped up to the bat to help with both.
Innate immune system:
We’re exposed to germs ALL the time. But in many cases, we never know it. That’s because the body knocks them out before they ever have a chance to become a problem.
Thank your innate immune system for that.
It’s your built-in red-alert system. Your innate immunities kick in immediately when your body senses an invader such as a virus or bacteria and tries to knock them out on the spot.
Adaptive immune system:
But, of course, we do still get sick sometimes. And that’s when your adaptive immune system kicks in.
It’s your body’s way of fighting threats the innate immune system couldn’t handle. And it accomplishes this by doing things like calling on your memory cells to produce antibodies to infections you’ve encountered before in the past.
Tests on volunteers given either an ashwagandha supplement or a placebo found the herb delivered significant results within just 30 days.
The folks taking the herb saw improvements in their cytokines, T-cells, B-cells, and NK cells all found at the heart of the innate immune system. Plus, the volunteers got a boost in a variety of antibodies that are vital to the adaptive immune system including IgA, IgGs, and IgM.
The OTHER keys to a HEALTHY winter
It’s not the first time we’ve seen positive research on ashwagandha and immune function, either. So there’s plenty of evidence that adding the herb to your supplement routine could give you an extra barrier against bugs helping you to stay healthy all year round.
But as helpful as ashwagandha is, as we head into a potentially rough cold and flu season, I wouldn’t rely on it alone.
Be sure to load up on other immune-supporting essentials too. Basics such as vitamins C and D, for example, are a good idea. Plus, have some elderberry syrup on hand in case you do get sick, as studies have found it’s linked to shorter bouts with viruses and milder symptoms.
But that’s not all ashwagandha can do for you. As I mentioned earlier, it can also play another role that’s in many ways just as important this time of year: It’s one of the best natural stress-busters out there.
This isn’t just based on studies asking people how they feel after taking it. (Which is important too.) Scientific tests have also found that ashwagandha can cut levels of the stress hormone cortisol by nearly a third.