As we trudge into the third year of pandemic life, many of us may be experiencing anxiety, stress and fatigue. Chronic stress can cause all sorts of disruptions in your body, including depressing the immune system.
“Many customers coming into the shop are looking for ways to naturally boost their immune system or reduce stress,” says Cindy Collins, owner of Euphoric Herbals in Milford. “We hear from a lot of people about how the pandemic is really affecting [their health].”
For those looking to up their immunity, Collins recommends two things: “Elderberry syrup and sleep.”
The elixir is made from ripe elderberries boiled down to a thick syrup, she explains. It has been shown to help fight flu, reduce inflammation and shorten the duration of colds. It can be taken daily and is safe for both adults and children.
Sleep is a free way to boost immunity. When our bodies rest, they produce valuable T-cells and cytokines, which help fight off infection, Collins explains. “When your body is tired or stressed, it slows the healing process.”
Another way to help your body heal is to drink tea. Immuni-Tea is packed with antioxidants, which reduce free radicals and thereby strengthen immunity. Also a soothing aid for sore throats, herbal tea with honey is a great addition to self-care when you’re feeling unwell.
“When I start to feel something coming on, [another] thing I reach for is vitamin D,” Collins shares.
Known as the sunshine vitamin (because our bodies absorb it from sunlight), vitamin D helps us bounce back faster when we’re sick. It helps the body absorb calcium, necessary for bone health. Studies show that most people are deficient in vitamin D, especially in areas that experience little sunlight part of the year, so we can all benefit from a supplement (capsule or liquid form) in addition to foods like egg yolks and fatty fish.
Collins says she’s also had more customers ask about adaptogens, as “more studies are showing [their ability] to help the body deal with stress and lower cortisol levels.”
Adaptogens are a group of herbs and mushrooms that have been found to help the body “adapt” to its environment and stressors. Popular adaptogens are ashwagandha, reishi and rhodiola, but those are just a few.
“Whenever someone comes in and is experiencing stress or is starting to feel effects of the ongoing pandemic in their body, I often recommend trying adaptogens. It is something I would recommend you come in and talk to a knowledgeable staff member about because there are different ways to use them,” she says.
Collins opened Euphoric Herbals apothecary a few years ago after operating an herbal business out of her home for several years. Her passion was born during her pregnancy, when she began researching the health benefits of supplements.
“I was looking for natural ways to support my body and to support my baby,” she says. “I realized it was really diﬃcult to find the quality products I was looking for in this area, so I started educating myself and sourcing products.”
From there, a baby—and a business—grew.
The apothecary is welcoming, with a bright, airy space. Shelves are lined with brightly bottled oils and creams, along with a vast selection of herbs and teas in glass jars. CBD products are also popular.
Last year, Collins added a drink bar where clients can order from an extensive menu of smoothies, hot teas and kombuchas on tap, which has become a hit with clients.
“We have a great staff here and they love to talk to customers who are trying to improve their own wellness,” Collins says.
Customers are encouraged to bring their own containers or purchase reusable vessels at the shop. “We really approach the business as a way to provide quality products for our community,” she says, “while also taking care of the planet.”