I Love My Immune System

by Jeanine Adinaro on April 15, 2011

in General Health, Info on Herbalogic

Did he drink too much at breakfast?

Occasionally my husband buys me books. I love when this happens because he has an uncanny ability to choose books that I would never pick up on my own and yet really enjoy reading. The most recent addition to the collection is At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. I don’t know how to describe the topic of book exactly.

The book jacket says the author’s motivation as wanting, “to write a history of the world without leaving home.” I certainly understand wanting to work from home. Let’s hear it for the internet as my favorite research tool. But At Home is really more than one man’s successful quest for a short commute. It’s also an eclectic collection of random factoids, some of which I am sure the Clue Crew from Jeopardy will leap upon like a pack of hyenas onto an injured lion.

I am particularly amused that Bryson chose to devote the entire 11th chapter of the book to vermin and microbes living amongst us. The history of the mouse trap as one of few inventions that “were so nearly perfect from the outset that they have scarcely been improved upon in all the decades since,” is strangely compelling. But better still is his treatment of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes which he notes are, “…so ubiquitous that we easily forget that a large part of every modern house is taken up with heavy metal object- refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines- that exist exclusively to kill or suppress them.” On the topic of things that make you go eewwww…

The second most efficient way of spreading germs, [Dr. Charles] Gerba [of the University of Arizona] found, is to flush a toilet with the lid up. That spews billions of microbes into the air. Many stay in the air, floating like tiny soap bubbles, waiting to be inhaled, for up to two hours; others settle on things like your toothbrush. That is, of course, yet another good reason for putting the lid down.

Yes, but think of all those public toilets that don’t have lids. You know, the ones in the stalls on either side of  the one you are using at the airport.

The reality is that eradicating disease causing microorganisms from my surroundings is not possible. So short of living in a bubble, and I am sure we can all tell from the movie poster what an unsatisfying existence that is, the only path to staying alive on a planet infested with microbes evolutionarily determined to exterminate me is a good, optimally functioning immune system. That plan goes for pretty much every other multi-celled creature on the planet too.

The Chinese herbalists of 3000 years ago did not have a clear understanding of the immune system as it is understood today. Hell, allopathic doctors of 30 years ago did not have a clear understanding of the immune system as it is understood today. But the Chinese herbalists did understand that while health is certainly influenced by environmental conditions such as cleanliness, some people have a greater capacity to stay well in the face of filth than others. And it was not too long after that observation that they began the task of determining how to improve the health of the sickly folks. Pretty quickly they realized that the path to health is within the body, not outside of it.

Traditional Chinese herbal medicine abounds with formulas intended to improve constitutional fortitude. A lot of them share common herbal ingredients, especially astragalus root and some variety of ginseng. Amongst the Herbalogic formulas, Peak Power, which is our contribution to the improvement of constitutional fortitude, is easily the most underrated. It contains both astragalus root and American ginseng (and I am talking about the real stuff here that costs slightly more per kilo than cocaine).

Who wants to try it? The fist three people to legitimately post comments here will each get a free bottle (I am not sending bottles to auto-generated spam in Wherethefrackistan). Sadly, if you live outside the contiguous 48 United States, you are going to have to come pick it up in Austin, Texas.

And no, that is not my kid in the picture. Photo by viralbus

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