Intro: The connection between stress & your immune system
Picture this – you’re getting ready to go on holiday. You’ve got a big deadline at work to finish up before you go on leave; you are packing and making bookings and making sure the car has a service.
You get through alllll the preparations, arrive at your accommodation ready to relax for the week and… Boom. You get a cold.
Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you may have experienced the connection between stress and your immune system.
You know that old song, “the leg bone’s connected to the hip bone...” Well, turns out the same thing applies for stress and your immune system.
Hokey pokey aside, the nervous system, immune system, and endocrine system (our hormones) are interconnected. They feed information back and forth in a reciprocal relationship, meaning the immune system is vulnerable to fluctuations in stress levels.
It stands to reason that supporting your nervous system and managing your stress as best you can, will have a positive effect on your immune system.
Here are my three must-have calming herbs (and my favourite artemis calming supplements) to help ease your stress and support a healthy immune system.
1. Ashwagandha (Withaniasomnifera)
Ashwagandha is a plantfrom Ayurveda - the traditional Indian healthcare system. It grows in hot, dry climates and belongs to the nightshade family – just like potatoes and tomatoes. It is a small shrub that grows little red berries that have a papery covering, like a cape gooseberry.
The root is the part most commonly used for herbal support. The root smells like hay, and the name ‘Ashwagandha’ comes from the Sanskrit, meaning “horse-like smell”. This name also refers to the fact that this plant has been traditionally used to support people recovering from illness – said to give the user ‘the strength of a horse’.
Ashwagandha’s role in stress and immune health
Ashwagandha is primarily an adaptogen, a plant that supports your body's stress defence system and is useful during times of ongoing physical and/or emotional stress. It’s a nourishing option to support your nervous system andhas also been shown to help support a balanced immune system.
Who is Ashwagandha suitable for?
When you are under any kind of ongoing stress, Ashwagandha can support your normal defences, so you’re able to keep functioning in a healthy way. Busy parents, employees, students, athletes, and those wanting to support their immune system after being rundown, can all benefit.
How should Ashwagandha be taken?
For best results, Ashwagandha root should be taken regularly for several weeks and is best taken with herbs that support and nourish the nervous system, such as Green Oats and Lemon Balm.
Favourite Ashwagandha: artemis De-Stress Spray
- Ideal for nervous tension
- Builds resilience to stress
- Calms & relaxes a busy mind
2. Kava (Piper methysticum)
Kava root and rhizome have been traditionally used in Pacific cultures for hundreds of years for health, recreation, and as part of ceremony.
Kava’s role in stress and immune health
Stay calm with Kava to keep your stress and immune connection happy. Kava is one of the most well-researched and fast-acting plant ingredients to support feelings of worry, overwhelm, and a good night’s sleep.
Kava is an ally when you’re feeling overwhelmed and restless and when sleep is impacted by this.
The root of Noble Kava, a variety known to be well-tolerated, provides rapid, effective nervous system and sleep support, without any unpleasant ‘morning-after’ feeling.
Who is Kava suitable for?
Kava is suitable for adults and children over 12 years of age in appropriate dosages. High dose Kava should be avoided by those on sedative or dopaminergic medication unless under the supervision of a health professional.
How should Kava be taken?
At a lower dose Kava provides fast-acting support for a calm nervous system and a clear head. A higher dose provides a greater calming effect to support sleep by easing racing thoughts, relaxing muscle tension, and soothing worry.
Favourite Kava: artemis Deep Sleep Restorative Sleep Support
- Fall & stay asleep
- Calm & relax a busy mind
- Support healthy sleep pattern
3. Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita)
Chamomile has been used in natural healthcare for thousands of years, and in fact, examination of Neanderthal dental calculi found they were eating chamomile 50,000 years ago! Chamomile is native to Europe and is a member of the Aster family, with small daisy-like flowers and feathery leaves.
Chamomile’s role in stress and immune health
This herb has a wonderful combination of actions – not only does it help to calm the nerves which as we know contributes to a healthy immune system – but it also supports the digestive system.
Think of the nervous tummy that children often experience – your digestive system and nervous system are linked. It’s the hokeypokey all over again.
Who is Chamomile suitable for?
Chamomile is suitable for children and adults alike. It is a very gentle herb, making it especially useful for soothing irritable children.
How should Chamomile be taken?
Chamomile can be taken as a tea or tincture and is especially helpful for soothing worry and upset digestion when combined with other herbs that support the nervous or digestive systems.
Did you know:
It was chamomile tea that Peter Rabbit was given by his mother, to calm his upset tummy and help him relax into sleep after his upsetting experience in Mr McGregor’s garden.
Favourite Chamomile: artemis Digestive Ease
- Supports healthy digestion
- Soothes gut discomfort & bloating
- Suitable for long-term use
3 stress-combating practices I do every day to keep my immune health in tip top shape:
1. Walking outside
Walking in nature (even if it's in the city) is my daily support for both my mental and physical health. It helps me unwind, forces me to take deep breaths when I’m going uphill, to help stress melt away.
2. Read before I scroll
Most of us have now heard the term “doom-scrolling” and felt the effects of too much negative information. In the evenings I have a plan to pick up a book before I pick up my phone and it really helps to reduce my screen time and my information overload.
Getting my hands in the dirt is almost meditative. Plus growing a few of my own veggies helps with my overall nutrition, and with the cost of living which is another major contributor to stress for many of us.
Immune system in need of some extra support? Here are my top 3 herbs for targeted immune support:
1. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
- One of the most loved plants for respiratory health and to support natural resistance to bugs
- Soothes chest congestion and supports easy breathing
- Especially suited for drippy noses as it is a very drying herb
- Suitable for your whole family
2. Elderflower (Sambucus nigra)
- Supports a healthy immune response
- Supports the upper respiratory system
- Anyone who gets a stuffy nose
- Especially lovely and gentle for children
|Shop artemis Kids ViroGone →||Shop artemis Immunity tea →|
3. Ivy Leaf (Hedera helix)
- Encourages the clearing of mucus from deep in the lungs
- Supports easy breathing
- Best for those needing deep lung and bronchial support
Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. Artemis, Auckland