We’re heading into my favorite season. The crisp mornings, the colors of the leaves changing, and all the pumpkin-flavored offerings are just some of what I love about Autumn. Fall is more tolerable temperature-wise and it invites us to prepare for the colder shorter days of the introverted season of winter.
If we were to take our cues from nature, we may slow down naturally as she does.
After all, it’s quite the change for trees to drop their energy from their leaves into their roots, so why wouldn’t this also have a huge impact on us? We can’t underestimate how our bodies are designed to be in tune with the seasonal shifts. Ancient traditional practices are designed around this tenet.
As much as I love Autumn, it is a transition that can challenge my body. I start to notice some lack of grounding, fogginess (some of which can be Fall allergies), and a need to eat less and more simply. I notice that I’m more sensitive and need to slow down a bit, adding in self-care – more yoga, plus a seasonal transition treatment with acupuncture or craniosacral therapy.
Take some time to tune into how your body feels during this transition:
Honor your craving for some extra rest (Yes, it’s totally OK to declutter that closet next week or even the week after!),
Enjoy some warm tea (I’ve formulated a delicious chai tasting immune formula below), and make time for that Epsom salt bath.
These are all also great supports for optimal immune health 🙂
Now shifting back to our immune system overview. Last time, we learned about the B and T lymphocytes – the primary cells that control the adaptive immune response. This response is extremely complex and it goes on and on and on. It keeps us from getting infections!
B-cells are responsible for antibody driven immunity while the T cells are involved with cell mediated immunity. T cells are experts at recognizing antigens (carbohydrate or protein residues on bacteria, viruses, and worm surfaces) and then expressing them by a very complex process called antigen presentation. This allows the appropriate immune cells to provide the type of defense that’s needed:
Cytotoxic T cells – directly kill the virus with cytotoxic proteins
Macrophages – engulf and destroy damaged infected cells
Dendritic cells – send cells to the lymphatic system
B cells – make antibodies against the microbes
The B cells and T Cells are like 2 branches of the immune response, and both have a part in long term immunity. We typically think of being immune to a type of illness when we have the ‘antibodies’ for it. This is true, but it’s only part of the story. We also have T memory cells that carry an imprint of a pathogen. They recognize specific antigens on invaders and mount a faster and stronger immune response after encountering that same antigen again. This is how vaccines work to protect us against infection.
The T memory cell, primed for a repeat appearance, not only tells the B cells to make the necessary antibodies, it also unleashes a cascade of players, including cytotoxic or killer T cells, which are capable of directly destroying viruses with cytotoxic proteins.
The reason why I bring this up is that there is a widespread idea that if you don’t have the antibodies to COVID19, then you aren’t immune to it. I have a problem with this because this does not take into consideration the T cell side of the immune response which we just mentioned above. The podcast goes into this nicely.
We’re learning as we go with the pandemic, and it’s important to look at the whole picture. The fact that there is no blood test for the T memory cell makes things tricky. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore an established part of immune function, and jump to the belief that no antibodies means no lifelong immunity.
Since we will be in this for a long haul, I think it’s important to not let this limited thought get rooted in our minds. After all, our bodies follow what our minds believe.
Immune-I-Tea I’ve been brewing up my Immune-I-Tea which turns out to have a delicious spicy chai flavor when you boil the herbs vs steeping. Add almond milk and a bit of honey and you have a delicious chai tea.
I came up with this formula as a gift for our Immune Resilience workshop
last Sunday. It’s a balanced blend that tastes like a delicious spicy chai
Ingredients: (I measure intuitively)Astragalus – a significant longevity herb in Chinese medicine that acts as an immune ‘shield’Cinnamon – extremely rich in antioxidants, reduces blood sugarGinger – anti-inflammatory/antioxidant (among other vast benefits!)Licorice – supports respiratory IgA (neutralizing antibodies)Orange Peel – rich in vitamin C, strengthens the immune systemMethod:Boil 2 TBSP of tea in 4 cups of water with the lid on.Then once at a rolling boil, turn to simmer for 45-60 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool with the lid on for 10 mins. Add your favorite non-dairy milk: almond/oat/cashew, etc and some raw honey and enjoy.
I still have some bags of Chai Immune-I-Tea left if you’re interested, message me!I also have 8 oz bottles of Elderberry Syrup that I’ve handcrafted if you’d like. This tea will support your grounding through the seasonal transition 🙂