woman peacfully sitting near lake meditatingImagine the body’s interior as the shimmering surface of a calm lake. A small rock hits the water. The rock is an everyday irritant, like a traffic jam, that makes you late for the dentist. Plink. A few ripples appear in the water. No big deal.

Thirty minutes later, the dentist says you need a root canal. Plunk. A bigger rock lands in your lake and the circle of ripples extends to the shoreline.

Your heart beats faster and your mind spins. Then your credit card is declined as you try to pay. Splash! The ripples of stress transform into waves.

Stress poisons every inch of the body. It cripples the immune system, upsets delicate hormones, and disrupts digestion, among other things. Most dangerous of all, it dials up inflammation. Stress lies at the root of every inflammatory disease.

Controlled inflammation is useful, like using heat to cook, but uncontrolled inflammation will burn your house down. A few of the inflammatory diseases influenced, if not sparked, by stress are: obesity, cancer, heart disease, arterial disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, arthritis — and the list goes on. There are no two ways about it, any kind of stress, be it physical, emotional, or psychological, will turn on inflammation in the body.

The Master Switch

That’s where adaptogens come into play. The body has a master switch that responds to things like stress, radiation and tobacco smoke. That single switch controls more than 500 genes responsible for inflammation. Adaptogens ensure that the switch turns off and stays off. In doing so, they help snuff out inflammation.