You’ve probably been around the block a few times with your health issues and unless you have serious health concerns that should be taken to a health care professional, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you are into extreme sports and want to increase performance or have a chronic energy deficit and want to boost your immune system; the first step has to be self education that is centered on your specific needs. This can be as simple as keeping track of the state of your health over a perod of time or it can be as involved as a life long study. Identifying your individual body needs and characteristics is the most important phase of self-education and while you may enlist the aid of health care practitioners, the work is all yours and will progress according to how much time, energy and care you put into it.
After identifying your individual characteristics, you’re faced with the choice of many confusing modalities. From Aromatherapy to the Vedic System, there’s a prolific list of healing techniques to choose from. Most everyone picks one that somehow either appeals to them or perhaps has been experienced successfully by a friend or relative. This is a mistake because some illnesses do not respond to some modalities. To illustrate the point you can exaggerate by saying that most people wouldn’t take their child with a broken arm to see an Acupuncturist. It’s also true that it’s not the modality that heals, it’s the body. Whether it be drugs, herbs or spinal manipulation you need to remember “the most powerful healer is your body” so don’t fight it.
We are in the midst of a health care blitz that has resulted from an information overload. There are so many products and panaceas that it is a confusing experience to stand in front of a shelf of bottles at the health food store. You either rely on the clerk whose advice could range from “Golden” to worthless or rely on an MD who may know absolutely nothing about herbs. And a qualified herbalist may be impossible to find in your area.
Self education is the key and it requires work
Not only do you need to know the personality of your body and it’s imbalances but you also need to know what to do about it. Unlike many modalities Herbalism, at it’s best, seeks to aid the body in it’s struggle with imbalance instead of suppressing the body by dealing only with the symptoms. Herbalism at it’s worst is using plants in the same way chemical drugs are used, to eliminate symptoms and ignoring the underlying imbalances.
Adaptogens are not Medicines – They’re FOOD
Adaptogens are exotic foods and complete a missing element from our dietary spectrum. There’s nothing new about herbs. They’ve been an important aspect of our diets from the dawn of man. It’s only recently that herbs have been replaced by processed foods and chemical drugs not the other way around. The diets of indigenous people rely heavily on live, cooked and preserved plants and so did our ancestors. The advent of processed foods coincides with some of our most devastating diseases. This is not to say that processed foods cause disease (although that may be the case) it is more the absence of key aspects that are destroyed by cooking and processing. Enzymes and other elements are necessary to support health and in their absence disease manifests due to our diminished capacity especially the immune system. The immune system as seen by Western Medicine is a factory for white blood cells and a provider of defense for the rest of the organism. In many heritage health traditions such as the Vedic System and Traditional Chinese Medicine the immune system is responsible for longevity, energy, sexual functioning and many of the major homeostatic systems rely heavily on the immune system. These cultures such as the Asian culture use many adaptogenic herbs not only as supplements but as food.
It can be said then that most Adaptogens are Immune Foods
While each Adaptogenic herb has it’s own characteristics there are several requirements for a food or herb to be considered as an adaptogen. It is a classification that varies only slightly from one author to the next.