Immune Elixir
Immune Boosting Elderberry And Mushroom Elixir Our rich immune elixir is made over 48 hours, slowly infusing the wildcrafted elderberries, mushrooms, adaptogenic herbs, and spices. After the syrup has finished infusing, it is cooled and raw local honey is added for sweetness, and it’s soothing and healing properties. It is then finished with organic vodka, just enough to make it shelf stable. The final product is a rich elixir that offers incredible immune boosting properties, as well as being powerfully grounding to the nervous system, and deeply nourishing on a cellular level in the body. Mushrooms are a powerful addition to many traditional immune boosting herbs for many reasons, but one of the most beneficial effects many mushrooms have on the immune system is their ability to stimulate and support the immune system when it is functioning at a lower level that usual, and also down-regulate or gently suppress the immune system if it is overactive, such as with autoimmune issues. So unlike many immune boosting herbs and plants that should be avoided in illnesses where the immune system is overactive or attacking itself; chaga, shiitake and reishi all act to help bring the immune system back into homeostasis rather than simply stimulating it, and can safely be used even if the immune system is overactive. Here is a quick overview of the herbs in this elixir, and a few of the ways they help support the body: Elderberries are one of natures power houses for preventing flu and cold bugs from taking up residence in the body. Elderberries have been extensively studied for their effectiveness, and it has been found that they are helpful in both prevention of cold and flu viruses, as well as shortening the duration of the virus once an illness has been acquired. Elderberries are packed with antioxidants, and vitamins which help reduce inflammation, lessen stress, and also act to protect the heart. Because elderberries are so effective at boosting the immune system, they cannot be taken in conjunction with immunosuppressants as they can reverse or reduce the effects of the medication and stimulate the immune system. In general we WANT our immune system to be boosted, but in certain health conditions, where the immune system is attacking itself, (such as in certain autoimmune conditions), or certain types of cancers etc., the immune system may need to be suppressed for a period of time to prevent it from causing damage in the body; and in these situations, using elderberry is not advised. The elderberries in this elixir are those of the Blue Elder, and are wildcrafted by myself and our family out in the wilderness of Northern Idaho. Chaga is a beautiful fungi or “mushroom” that grows on birch trees. Because it grows on birch, chaga has a unique combination of the medicinal properties of both fungi, as well as the medicinal properties of birch trees, which are numerous. Chaga is a nutrient dense superfood, that can help slow the aging process, prevent cancer cell growth, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, detoxify the blood, nourish the cells, heal the lining of the digestive system, reduce inflammation, and support the immune system among many other benefits. It is exceptionally high in nutrients such as Vitamin D, potassium, copper, selenium, manganese, magnesium, zinc and iron. A 2010 study found Chaga could slow the growth of lung, breast and cervical cancer cells in a petri dish, and that same study showed the test results in the petri dish were also replicable on the same cancers in mice. In 2009 another study showed that certain compounds found in chaga cause tumor cells to self destruct, but unlike many other cancer treatments, chaga had no negative effects on healthy cells. For immune boosting benefits, chaga is quite the queen in my book.. She is full of cytokines, which are the immune system’s chemical messengers. These cytokines are proteins that play a vital role in stimulating white blood cells, and white blood cells are of course the bodies first line of defense against a vast range of illnesses and diseases. Scientific studies done on mice suggests these cytokines also support the immune system by helping cells communicate more effectively with each other, thus empowering them to more effectively eliminate unhealthy cells, or attack and eliminate virus and bacteria before they take root and cause an infection in the body. Chaga is also a powerful inflammation fighter, and the reduction of inflammation has a huge impact on many systems of the body. Inflammation reduction can significantly decrease the negative symptoms caused by certain conditions, and the immune system is a big system that high inflammation levels drastically affect. The scientific studies currently being done on chaga point to it being a powerful ally for dealing with autoimmune issues, and more studies are currently being done to see the exact extent of it’s effects, but the results of the studies so far are very exciting and promising. Shiitake mushrooms are used for boosting the immune system, and show very promising signs of being effective for treating and reducing the unpleasant side effects of HIV/AIDS, and certain types of breast and prostate cancers. Shiitake mushrooms are high in polysaccharides which are compounds that are known to boost the body’s anti-inflammatory and tumor-inhibiting abilities. The mushrooms also contain a compound called lentinan which activates the immune response and helps fight infections and tumors as well. In one study, scientists found that patients taking shiitake mushroom extract or powder had significantly improved cell function, immune response, gut immunity, and reduced inflammation. Nutritionally, shiitake mushrooms are very high in vitamin B, selenium, vitamin D, niacin and pantothenic acid. Studies have shown that shiitake may have powerful antimicrobial properties, making it an effective natural antibiotic. And what makes the studies even more exciting, is they show that the mushrooms only killed disease-causing pathogens and microbes, and left all beneficial bacteria in the body unharmed. And because gut flora in particular is so closely linked with immune health and function, this is an extremely valuable quality in an immune boosting plant. Reishi is another beautiful fungi that has been used effectively for food an medicine for thousands of years, but is once again gaining popularity in the USA. Reishi has been called “queen of the mushrooms”, “the mushroom of immortality” and many other grand titles over the last 2,000 years. Reishi helps support the body in many ways, and one is by helping the body relax, and get deep restful sleep. It is not a sedative, so you won’t drink it and find yourself getting drowsy like you might with valerian, or kava, but rather acts more slowly over time with continuous use to help support healthy sleep cycles. Deep sleep is VITAL for a healthy, properly functioning immune system. Reishi helps support the immune system with its high polysacccharide and antioxidant content, as well as being rich in beta-glucans that help support healthy immune function. Reishi is considered an adaptogen or an adaptogenic herb. This means it is a plant that helps the body adapt to stressful situations, and helps support the body during stressful times to minimize the effects of stress, or the “symptoms” of stress in the body. Energetically Reishi is known historically as “The herb of spiritual potency” and symbolizes well being, divine power, and long life. Side note about adaptogenic herbs: Adaptogenic herbs help support the body in many different ways, and as their name would imply they “adapt” to what the body needs, and help the body adapt to whatever situation the body finds itself in. Adaptogens such as reishi work on a molecular level by helping regulate a stable balance in the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands. All of these areas of the body are involved in the stress response, and adaptogenic herbs work by “hacking” the potentially damaging stress responses in the body. When we come in contact with a stressor, be it physical, emotional or mental, our body responds by pumping out loads of hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, etc. These stress hormones cause a cascade of events in our body, all of which are helpful in life or death situations, but many of which can cause long term health issues if the stress is chronic and continues over a long period of time. When the body constantly undergoes stress hormones flooding it’s system, this can trigger cellular change over time that can leave us with a greater propensity for experiencing negative stress symptoms in the future. This is the body’s attempt to “prepare” us for what it perceives to be a dangerous living situation. The nervous system has no ability to differentiate between stress hormones being released in a life and death situation, and stress hormones being released because someone cut us off in traffic when we were already late to work. Because of this, when we experience daily, non threatening events as stressful, our body responds in a chemical way, just the same as if our life was in danger. The problem is our bodies were not designed for that type of continuous stress. Our bodies were designed to release those hormones in danger filled situations, and those hormones are designed to give us the extra blood flow and strength needed to run away from danger, or fight danger. But when there is no danger to flee from or fight, the body is still left with all these chemicals running through it’s veins, and no way to use them/get them out. And this is where adaptogenic herbs come in! Adaptogens help our bodies process and eliminate excess stress hormones from the bloodstream. This is to say they help the body respond LESS to these potentially disruptive chemicals. Adaptogenic herbs such as reishi help the body cope with stress in multiple ways: They act as neuro-protective elements, meaning they help protect the brain from the damage and deterioration that high levels of stress hormones in the blood can cause, they contain anti-fatigue properties that help the body cope with the after effects of a stress surge and the “crash” both physically and emotionally that comes after a stressful situation. Adaptogenic plants also have amazing antidepressant effects, and can help boost the mood, and reduce feelings of anxiety and hopelessness, and they also act as a stimulant for the central nervous system, which can be severely depressed and limited by a high levels of stress hormones in the body. They also help boost mental clarity, which is something that often goes out the window during periods of stress or illness. Crab Apples are often overlooked as a food and medicine source, but that is very unfortunate as they are extremely nutrient dense fruits. Crab apples are typically older strains of apples or wild apples, and their nutrient content and medicinal compounds are typically much more concentrated than modern apple varieties that have been bred to be high in sugar and water content. There are many types of ornamental crab apples, and their nutrient content varies greatly based on how they were bred. But old crab apple trees on homesteads or farms are often old apple strains or wild apple strains that are packed full of all kinds of goodness. Crab apples are extremely high in citric acid, pectin, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B 12, calcium, phosphorus, and the list goes on! So in addition to all the nutrients like vitamin C that make crab apples excellent for our immune system, crab apples are also extremely helpful for the digestive system because of their high pectin content. Rose Hips contain large amounts of highly absorbable vitamin C, and are full of rich bioflavanoids that help boost the immune system and prevent colds and flus. Ginger Ginger is most often though of for digestion and nausea, but ginger can also bring powerful relief during a cold or flu. It aids in pain reduction, reduces inflammation and helps the body fight infections while improving brain function to boot! Turmeric has many amazing properties. It is anti-inflammatory, contains numerous bioactive compounds that benefit the body, boosts brain function, and dramatically increases the antioxidant capacity of the body, which helps boost the immune system, among many other benefits. Passionflower is used as an aid for sleep problems, pain, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, and other symptoms that result from an overactive nervous system, brain, or emotions. Because of it’s effects on the nervous system, passionflower is extremely beneficial in helping support the immune system by reducing stress hormones in the blood stream, and promoting a state of rest and repair instead of fight or flight. Passionflowers also have powerful antioxidant properties, they help reduce inflammation, and boost the immune system as well. Echinacea Root And Leaf Echinacea is a beloved and powerful immune boosting herb that has been revered for centuries. Echinacea root has been long pried for it’s powerful immune system stimulating effects, and may be the most well known for it’s ability to reduce the chances of catching the common cold by up to %58 and to reduce the duration of the common cold by at least 1-2 days. Numerous studies have been done, and continue to confirm the amazing benefit of echinacea on the human immune system. High concentrations of certain types of phenolic compounds are responsible for echinacea’s immune boosting properties. These phenols are believed to stimulate cells that have as their primary function the ability to fight invading particles and organisms, such as viruses and bacteria. The consumption of echinacea also has been shown through multiple studies to increase white blood cell counts and increase spleen cells which boosts immune function. Echinacea also contains echinacein, which has been shown to help protect the body against bacterial and viral infections. In addition to it’s amazing immune boosting properties, echinacea is also a powerful anit-inflammatory herb, helps eliminate bladder infections, and has an affinity for helping conditions of the upper respiratory tract. Chamomile is a beautiful soothing herb that helps reduce pain, reduce inflammation, promote relaxation and deep sleep, and also helps reduce the symptoms of the cold and flu virus. It helps soothe a sore, scratchy or irritated throat, and may reduce nasal drainage and excess phlegm in the body as well. Lemon Balm is a phenomenal plant for helping the body cope with stress, be that stress physical, emotional or mental. It acts on the nervous system to help reduce stress hormones in the blood stream, boost cognitive function, help ease the effects insomnia, as well as reducing insomnia itself. Lemon balm is a powerful anti-viral herb, and helps fight off cold and flu bugs, helps relieve nausea that can accompany nasal and lymph drainage, aids digestion, and helps soothes sore and scratchy throats. Elderflower is the beautiful flower of the elder tree, and if left on the tree eventually turn into the amazing elderberries we know and love so much. Elderflowers have similar properties to elderberries in many ways, but also have a few extra tricks up their sleeve that the berries themselves don’t. For this reason I typically use both elderberries and elderflowers in my elderberry products. Elderflower is extremely effective at reducing sinus pressure and swollen sinuses. It is used for relief of colds, influenza, swine flu, bronchitis, etc. It acts as a diuretic, which aids the body in flushing out toxins and unwanted bacteria and viruses. It acts as a diaphoretic, which means it helps increase sweating, and the body’s ability to detox through the skin, making it especially helpful when trying to break or reduce fevers by inducing sweating. Elderflower shows exceptional promise scientifically when it comes to treating antibiotic resistant bacteria, and studies have shown it to be effective against even pathogens such as MRSA. Elderflowers are also exceptionally high in quercetin, which is a compound that helps reduce inflammation and allergic response in the body, and can help reduce symptoms of congestion resulting from cold and flu viruses. Cinnamon Bark just adds a delicious flavor in the background of an elixir like this, but on top of just being delicious and pairing nicely with crab apples, ginger, and elderberries; cinnamon is also loaded with antioxidants, which help support healthy immune function, it is anti-inflammatory, and helps the body fight off infections. Vanilla Beans are added for flavor, as well as their metabolism boosting properties. Black Pepper helps boost the efficacy of other herbs, by aiding the body’s ability to absorb beneficial chemical compounds in both food and herbal preparations. In addition to boosting the efficacy of other herbs it is used with, black pepper is also anti-inflammatory and helps boost brain function. Raw Honey helps bring the magic of the bees to this beautiful immune elixir with extra healthy bacteria, and immune boosting qualities, as well as adding a nice sweetness to the elixir. 4 oz bottle