Two Adaptogens to Beat the Stress-Sleep-Immune Trifecta
Tell me if this sounds familiar: After a stressful day at work, you power down your laptop as you anticipate catching up on some much-needed rest tonight (you really don’t want to catch that nasty bug that’s going around the office).
After a calming wind-down routine, you slip between the sheets and flip off the light. “This is it!” you think, “sweet, blissful sleep is just seconds away!” But then it starts...
“Wait, when was that big report due?”
“…Did I pay that bill on time?”
“I can’t believe I said that embarrassing thing ten years ago!”
Suddenly, you’re in a downward spiral of stressful thoughts... and before you know it, the sun is rising and it’s time to go to work.
And then, like fate, it happens: You sniffle a bit… and then you sneeze.
In fact, 30-40 percent of adults report having occasional insomnia, with 10-15 percent having difficulty sleeping every night. But if you’re one of the thousands out there struggling with sleeplessness and stress, you don’t need a study to tell you what you already know.
But loss of sleep isn’t just anxiety-inducing, it can affect the entire system, including immune function.
So, what can be done, naturally?
I personally believe that instead of turning to OTC medications to relieve occasional stress and sleeplessness, one should try using natural ingredients that have been trusted for thousands of years to assist the body in adapting to these difficult situations. Ingredients like adaptogens.
While you can’t really go wrong with any of the top 10 adaptogens, like reishi, rhodiola, and schisandra, today I want to highlight two amazing and under-valued adaptogens for the stress-immune connection: Tulsi and Astragalus.
Used for thousands of years in Ayurveda (tulsi) and traditional Chinese medicine (astragalus), these herbs feature many of the same body-adapting abilities of our favorite functional ‘shrooms. Qualities that have earned these herbs the rare and coveted title of adaptogen.
What makes these two herbs so great? Let’s take a closer look at each one:
Tulsi, also known as holy basil (yes, it’s related to the basil we all love on our pizzas), has a history that dates back at least 3,000 years.
Tulsi helps the body defend against – and adapt to – a variety of stressors, including chemical, biological, environmental, and physical. But what makes tulsi so unique is that it seems to be especially effective in helping the body defend against everyday occasional stress:
“Tulsi has been found to protect … against chemical stress from industrial pollutants and heavy metals, and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion … and psychological stress through positive effects on memory and cognitive function...”, notes one study.
But what about Astragalus?
Celebrated in traditional Chinese medicine for its use to tonify the spleen and balance chi (the force which gives you life), astragalus is one of the oldest-known tonic herbs. It even received a mention in the Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica, which was written anonymously during the first century.
Writes one study, “Astragalus contains flavonoids, saponins, phytosterols, and other potentially beneficial compounds. Lab and some human studies have shown that it has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant … and immune-boosting effects.”
Where tulsi shines in its ability to support occasional stress, astragalus is a stand-out immune function-supporter.
Useful year-round, astragalus is especially helpful during times of sleeplessness due to stress and during colder months, when immune function tends to be low and office bugs are abundant.
Separately, tulsi and astragalus are superstar herbs… but together they’re a dream team, supporting the body in defending against the sleep-stress-immune trifecta.
Try mixing up a tea of tulsi and astragalus to kick back and relax with, or make things super easy on yourself and mix a teaspoon of our Beauty Blend, which contains astragalus, with a packet of Reishi Elixir, which contains tulsi, to support sleep and immune function all at once?