ThorneVet Immune Support Formula harnesses the power of adaptogens for better pet health

In the realm of holistic health, adaptogens have emerged as a fascinating avenue for improving the well-being of both humans and animals. These versatile herbal substances are gaining particular attention within the veterinary field for their potential, and their increasingly proven-effective role in alleviating chronic conditions in dogs, cats, horses, and other pet patients.

Adaptogens have proven to be quite adept at harnessing nature’s power to power up your pet patients’ immune systems. More specifically, this category of herbs works to help an animal whose immune function has been negatively impacted by stress.

Here’s how it all works, which adaptogens to focus on, and how best to use them to support your patients in the ongoing quest for optimal pet health, happiness, and longevity.

The Effects of Stress

Underlying all disease processes are the physiological effects of stress. Stress can be mental and emotional, but it also manifests in the metabolic pathways and in the patient’s physiology.

Regardless of the adverse health condition – acute or chronic – there are specific changes that occur in the body secondary to stress. This involves changes across organ systems including the:

  • nervous system,
  • cardiovascular system,
  • immune system, and
  • digestive tract.

The master regulator of these stress-induced changes is the endocrine system:

  1. The glands of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis help regulate and direct the body’s response to these challenges.
  2. Chronic stress can overwhelm the endocrine system’s ability to regulate the body’s response to these stressors.
  3. This can result in a negative cascading effect on important organ systems, especially the immune system.

This is where adaptogens – a class of plants and herbs that possess unique properties to enable organisms adapt and respond to various stressors – come into play.

The Role of Adaptogens in Managing Stress and Associated Diseases

Adaptogens have a long history of usage in herbal medicine and are some of the safest herbs used for medicine. Today, adaptogens are being increasingly recognized for their ability to help regulate the aforementioned hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, and thus enable the body deal with non-specific stress.

In the right formulations and concentrations, adaptogens can have a normalizing effect on the bodily systems that are burdened by acute or chronic stress. With this in mind, ThorneVet’s Immune Support Formula (formerly Immugen) combines several adaptogens into their formula (as outlined below) which can exert a beneficial balancing effect on immune function and the nervous system.

Adaptogenic Herbs and Their Uses

Eleutherococcus or Siberian Ginseng

Considered the King of the Adaptogens, Eleutherococcus has a strong immune-regulating effect. Eleutherococcus:

  • Supports T cell function,
  • Boosts stamina, and
  • Combats fatigue.


Ashwaganda has a broad effect on balancing the endocrine, immune, and nervous systems. It:

  • Can enhance immune cell function.
  • Works to modulate the inflammatory response and is a potent antioxidant.
  • Has a calming effect on the nervous system and relieves some of the nervous tension effects of both acute and chronic stress.
  • Of note: ThorneVet’s Immune Support Formula uses KSM-66 Ashwaganda – clinically proven to be highest in withanolide content and the most bioavailable form of Ashwaganda available.

Astragalus Root

This root is a time-tested adaptogenic herb that has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Its immune-balancing effects and ability to down-regulate the inflammatory response, supports patients with a wide variety of disease processes.

Licorice Root

This is another Chinese herbal medicine that has been used for centuries! Licorice root has triterpenoid compounds present that have potent health-promoting properties. The flavonoids present in this herb have beneficial immune-supporting properties attributed to its antioxidant and inflammation-modulating effects.

More than all this, what makes adaptogens special is their ability to modulate the stress response without causing harm or disruption to the body’s overall balance. ThorneVet’s Immune Support Formula, with its blend of adaptogenic herbs and medicinal mushrooms, is a powerful ally to this end.

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Dr. Keith Weingardt is a 1999 graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. He completed acupuncture certification from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in 2004 and certification in herbal medicine at the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in 2006. He has started successful integrative veterinary practices in San Diego, CA and Portland, OR. He is a dedicated herbalist and enjoys working with the plants of the Pacific Northwest. Currently, he works as a consultant for ThorneVet, specializing in product development and continuing education.


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