When we are under stress, cortisol is released. Cortisol is your ‘fight or flight’ hormone that can help you through stressful situations. When cortisol is released, your heart rate increases, you feel more alert and your blood sugar increases, so that your muscles get more energy. This is fine short term but what if this is happening long term.
While stress is part of everyone's lives now and then, constant stress can affect your health by
Affecting your digestion,
Lowers thyroid hormonal activity,
Disrupts your sleep and
Can cause weight gain.
These are a class of herbal medicines that can help provide support and tonification of the whole body. They can help increase the body’s resistance to stress.
Some of my favourite adrenal herbs include:
Withania (Withania somnifera) or Ashwagandha is well known for its use in Ayurvedic medicine. It has been used as a general tonic, can increase energy and improve overall health and longevity. It has been dubbed the ‘Indian ginseng’. It is also beneficial for inflammation, supporting immune health, insomnia, a tonic for the elderly and beneficial for rheumatic pains.
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosus) has a long history of being used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is beneficial in helping improve mental and physical capacity. It can also help you to be more resilient to stress and help strengthen and restore the body's immune response (1).
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosa) has the ability to improve adrenal function, as well as physical and mental performance under stressful conditions. In a study with patients with stress related fatigue, Rhodiola showed anti fatigue effects by improving concentration, and reducing cortisol response to awakening stress (2).
Adaptogenic herbs can be taken by themselves but work best with other herbs.
I personally love formulating liquid herbal tonics for clients as they are individual to each person.
It is important to talk to your health care professional before taking herbal medicines.
If you would like advice on reducing stress, please contact me at Casuarina Holistic Health.
1. Bone, K., & Mills, S. (2013). Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy (2nd ed.). Sydney: Elsevier.
2. Hechtman, L. (2012). Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Sydney: Elsevier.