Support Your Immune System By Calming it Down

UPDATE May 2020: With the pandemic of Covid-19 flaring across the world there are many things we are still learning about the virus. Scientists are discovering that many individuals who succumb to the virus experience a cytokine response – that is an over-active immune response, often in the lungs. While there can be a place for essential oil use in every home when used with care and respect, if you have an illness or disease seek professional medical care from a doctor. This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.

In the last article we covered boosting your immune system.  There are tens of thousands of scientific articles on the immune system,  it’s a much more complex subject to cover thoroughly in a simple blog post. We’ll  break it down into three separate articles and every day language so it doesn’t feel like a college course (my apologies to the biology geeks – I suggest you head over to this FREE article at the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy and get Kurt Schnaubelt’s article on the Cytokine Response that’s filled with plenty of scientific details to please the most discerning chemist). It’s important to understand some foundational principles of this complex system before just jumping in with immune boosting routines.

The right action taken at the wrong time can result in unexpected results.

We have so many resources at our fingertips for healthy living – vitamins, herbs, essential oils, body therapies and more. We know more than ever that stress management plays a huge role in maintaining a healthy immune system so modalities like massage, chiropractic, yoga, prayer and meditation can also benefit our immune functions. How do we decide what is necessary? Do we need to be taking 20 different supplements to truly support the immune system?  

Is Bigger Always Better?  Our culture values BIG, SUPERSIZE, STRENGTH in everything.  We’re performance driven: Cars, Muscles, Energy Drinks, Vitamins.  

For decades, the holistic health industry in the US has been focused on supporting the immune system to make it stronger.  Vitamin C, Elderberry, Garlic, Zinc and Echinacea have been the traditional recommendations circulating in the mainstream. More recently, essential oils have entered in the immune-boosting category along with medicinal mushrooms, micro greens, juicing, bone broth, ginger, Vitamin D,  probiotics, quality sleep, fresh air and more. Many of these are good for maintaining health when used in moderation and balance. While most think of boosting the immune system into action (such as eating 5 cloves of garlic at one time), too much of a good thing can be detrimental.  There is still so much that even Immunologists don’t know about our immune system, we have very complex systems. To get a glimpse into one small cell, watch this amazing  3-D video from Biovision.  

Though we don’t know everything about the human body, we do know enough about some principles that can keep us healthy. This article will focus on Calming the immune system to help it run most efficiently.  

There are several factors that can affect your immune system’s effectiveness, one of them is

1.  Depleted Resources (Energy)  When you body is stressed, your immune system suffers.  When you rest, it allows your body to do what it was designed to do.  Can your immune system do too much?

Yes. 

Overactive immune systems result in a number of illnesses and diseases including allergies, and autoimmune disorders like Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  When the body is ill, the immune system kicks in and becomes inflamed as it fights bacteria, viruses and pathogens.  Normal bodies calm down after the crisis has passed,  systems that don’t shut down cause chronic inflammation that leads to autoimmune disorders and disease.

The number of individuals who suffer from seasonal allergies, asthma and autoimmune disorders are on the rise. Some speculate this is tied with living in a world with chemicals, processed foods, vaccines and other substances that are confusing our chemistry. We have so many ways to take care of ourselves in the modern world, but anyone who already has compromised immune function (allergies, asthma, digestive issues and more) adding immune enhancing resources during an illness may cause the  perfect storm for a cytokine response.