Never before has something so invisible played such a vital role in our survival. If you’ve never given much thought to your immune system’s strength and power, or if you only pay attention to immunity when you get sick, now is the time to wake up and take action.
While we can’t stay 100% safe from any virus or pathogens in this world, we can place a very strong bulletproof bubble around our bodies and lessen the impact of a virus entering our systems and wreaking havoc. And if the pathogen does find an entryway into our bodies, a strong immune system, in most cases, will help us fight off the invader and heal faster.
Going Maverick with Medicinal Plants
That’s right. The conversation we’re going to have now is about embracing our inner holistic maverick and stepping into some alternative methods of healing. What does that mean? Well, the information we’re going to explore has been around for thousands of years, but your doctor might not be talking about it, or know the first thing about incorporating medicinal plants into your care. I’m not advocating a disregard for traditional medicine either. Finding what combinations of both natural and traditional medicine work for YOUR body is key.
It’s up to you, lovely maverick, to do the research, experiment with different plants and find the combinations that are right to bulletproof your immune system.
I’m going to dive into the science side of all of this in another (few) issues, but for now, I want to tell you my own story about healing with plants. I want you to know the story behind why I’m such an advocate for medicinal plants and why I’m shifting my life’s work now to share this information with as many people as possible. Take these stories and my experiments as you will and use only what resonates. Make your own stories as you experiment with healing plants and share them with us as well.
My Immune System Trifecta
Here’s my immune system trifecta in a nutshell. Medicinal mushrooms by the boatload. CBD & Cannabis all through the day. Whole Foods in a capsule, every damn morning.
Along with my immune trifecta, I also cook with as many organic vegetables as I can afford, try to be mindful of my gluten (I try to avoid it all together, but I’m human) and keep my Kettle Chip cravings at bay. During this pandemic, I’ve loosened some of my emotional eating crutches, hence the kettle chips and the gluten, so I’ve doubled up on my mushrooms to counter balance.
So, let’s break it down.
For the past decade, I’ve taken mushrooms on the daily. It all started with a little reishi mushroom coffee that a friend gave me. I noticed within days that I no longer needed Advil for overuse injuries and my mind possessed a new clarity. I eventually switched over to tinctures and about 4 years ago, I branched out to different types of mushrooms.
Last month, I decided it was time to invest in my mushroom stash to ride out the debacle of my state’s handling of reopening and truly fortify my immune system. I added the following fungi into the mix.
- Women’s Health Blend
- Lion’s Mane
Powder from NatureAlm:
Sacred 7 Powder, which includes reishi, chaga, lions mane, cordyceps, maitake, turkey tail and shitake. Yummmmmm….
I take the capsules in the morning to fire up my day. I blend the Sacred7 in a DIY shroom coffee blend that includes a turmeric MCT powder and in the afternoons I usually do a macha green tea and lion’s mane blend.
Before I splurged, I was only taking Lion’s Mane and just didn’t restock my regulars for a month or so. As soon as my restock arrived, I immediately noticed a difference. My anxiety lessened and my cravings (for all the chips and salty foods) lessened and I was gravitating towards vegetables again instead of pasta and cheese. The struggle is real my friends.
CBD & Cannabis
Now, the accessibility to these items will depend on where you live. I believe Idaho and South Dakota are the only states that don’t allow CBD. Cannabis is still slowly becoming legalized and if you’re lucky enough to be in a recreational or medicinal state, embrace this sacred plant. I’m lucky enough to spend my winters in Arizona where medicinal use is legal.
My CBD story starts in the desert. In my tiny ass little RV park where I spend the winters. My neighbor makes an amazing homebrew CBD that she created initially to help her husband overcome a debilitating back injury. For years, I never saw her husband. He was in so much pain, he never left their small RV. One winter I returned and there he was, running about the park repairing and building all the things. His wife had figured out the right combination of CBD and cannabis to allow him to completely stop taking pain medicine and live pain-free.
She made me a few bottles and I just used it as a topical. This was before CBD was really a thing and I didn’t know it was also a powerful internal tonic. I brought a few bottles back East one spring and for shits and giggles, squirted it in my coffee. Her blend has a low level of THC and is derived from cannabis, not hemp. The CBD purchased in non-cannabis states is usually hemp derived with below 3% THC. On the days I added it to my coffee, I noticed a slight difference. So, I went to the new distillery in town and bought a 500mg bottle of CBD from Colorado.
Within a day I noticed a big difference in my mental state. I wasn’t on edge, my low-level “I live in a Trump-loving community of sheep” always present anxiety was gone. And I was PMSing! The cloud of anger and angst was gone. Poof. I was hooked.
I began to explore CBD deeper. Started researching. Began theorizing. In my 20s, I used cannabis recreationally for a decade. I was carefree, relatively happy and lived a life of experience. When I turned 30, I hung up my THC to go back to university and study journalism and politics. I wanted a clear brain and decided to just press pause. Thirteen years later, after my miraculous happy CBD experience, I began to wonder about the absence of THC in my body and the impacts on my mental health. The more I learned about the science of cannabis and CBD, the more I realized I was missing out on the positive impacts of the plant by ignoring the THC element.
That winter, I got my hands on some lovely medicinal while I was in Arizona and doubled up on my neighbors homebrew CBD. The difference was notable. My travel partner, and perpetual sidekick, is my hound dog. She’s never been healthy, no matter how hard I try (and I’ve tried everything!). We were in a constant battle of trying to contain her systemic allergies from her broken immune system which manifested in itchy, yeasty skin and a miserable pup. I was at the point where I was going to have to put her down if we didn’t find a solution. Not even pharmaceuticals were working and I’d tried CBD in the past and it didn’t work. I said fuck it, and just started giving her my stash of CBD. It took a few weeks, but one day, she woke up and stopped itching.
And she’s been almost itch free ever since. That was the clincher for me. Seeing the turnaround in my pup helped me decide to go all in on this plant. That same winter, with my increased CBD intake and evening THC microdosing, I noticed my own physical and mental health was just better. Chronic inflammation that manifests in a leaky gut/candida scenario is my only health concern. Too much wine at night and the next morning I’m scratching like my hound dog. If I start drinking unfiltered tap water for a few days (when I’m too lazy to order more filters) the wheels fly right off and my body gets bloated, itchy and just feels shitty.
When I’m out West and have access to legal cannabis, I microdose in the evenings. I prefer this to sipping on a cocktail for happy hour (since one too many makes me an itchy mess or a bumbling idiot). I keep my microdoses low (hence the name microdose– it means to use a tiny amount of something and slowly increase as needed) and I use different strains for different effects. I’m pretty active on THC, so I like sativa (which has less of a psychoactive impact on me) for the most part. It allows me to keep doing my activities and not feel like a space cadet. I will sometimes take a dose of invitica just before bed, which helps me sleep like a rock. For a light sleeper like me, it’s a god send.
For CBD, when I have access to large supplies from my neighbor, I take the tincture daily sub-lingually (under my tongue for 30 seconds) twice a day. I then put a few droppers in my coffee, tea and food throughout the day. When I’m more budget conscious, I tend to just take a dropper full once or twice a day with a dosage around 500mg. If I was working with a specific illness or pain issue, I would double that dosage and take it twice a day.
For a my recent fortifying the immune system campaign, here’s my daily dosage:
And while this is a somewhat pricier approach, I am digging it!
Whole Food Capsules
Last, but never least, is my daily whole food capsule goodness
from Juice Plus. I’m a wellness advocate for the company and have been a daily user for 3 years now. Basically, it’s just straight up veggies, fruits and berries, vine-ripened, juiced, dried and placed into a capsule, shake or a gummy.
I take both capsules and gummies as well as a shake once a day.
When I first started taking JP, I was eating organic and relatively healthy (again, pizza and kettle chips are my kryptonite) but I had my inflammation issues, didn’t sleep through the whole night, had some wicked PMS for a week or so and would crave any and all of the salty carbs I could consume.
I randomly stumbled onto a nomad family who were wellness advocates and we were chatting it up in the coffeeshop when the father went right into a strategic sales pitch. I knew it was coming, but wanted to see how he sold whatever it was he was selling. He was passionate about the product and just a really good talker. So, I signed up to be a distributor. The license fee was super cheap, I didn’t have to buy anything really and it was a health product. Why not?
I ordered the basics which were about 47 veggies, fruits and berries in a handful of capsules. Within a week, all of the above mentioned health annoyances went away. I was floored. At the time, I was a web developer for functional medicine doctors and spent a ridiculous amount of time editing healthy eating content. I always wondered how in the hell I would ever be able to eat enough whole foods in a day to reach optimal health. Damn if I didn’t find it by some random encounter in a Starbucks.
I traveled to the national convention a few weeks later to be sure I hadn’t joined a cult. I mean, the whole thing was so random and weird, I needed to do my due diligence before I dove deep into the business side of Juice Plus. I was blown away. Parts of it were a little sorority like, but basically all of these people were just super passionate about healthy living and helping as many people embrace good health as possible.
Every day, for 3 years, I’ve taken my whole foods capsules. Even the short periods where I would run out of mushrooms, I always had my capsules. I did do an experiment last year where I had a gap in my order and decided to see just how my body would react to not having JP in my system. After about 2 weeks, all the wheels flew off and I was in full blown inflammation mode. I carried my ass right to the computer and made an order ASAP.
I highly recommend doing that often. Keep a journal of how you feel every day when you first introduce a new supplement or dietary change and log the results. After a duration of time, take your body off of the substance and see how it reacts. You’ll find your answers fast!
That’s my maverick immune trifecta story. It’s a long one, and if you’re still with me, you’re a bad ass ready to dive into keeping your immune system rock solid for the chaotic pandemic times we live in.
So, here’s your rabbit holes for this issue. They’re all related to the stories above so you can dive deeper into finding your own maverick medicinal plant stories.