Stress can influence reproductive function, the immune system and the brain.The following conditions are commonly linked to stress:
- Auto-immune diseases
- Cardiovascular disease syndrome
- Common cold
- Diabetes (adult onset, type II)
- Immune suppression
- Irritable bowel disease
- Menstrual irregularities
- Premenstrual tension
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
Adaptogens can help people handle stress by providing:
- Antioxidant activity
- Liver protection and antitoxin activity
- Improved blood-sugar metabolism
- Less craving for alcohol or sugar
- Improved immune resistance
- Increased energy and stamina
- Improved muscle tone
- Increased strength
- Faster recovery
- Better focus and concentration
- Less anxiety
- Better sleep
- Better motivation and productivity
- A feeling of well-being
- Better moods
Are you stressed?
I had a reflexology session a couple days ago, and the therapist said that my adrenals were taxed. He said, “you are stressed”, as if I should feel some great big change in my life that I am aware of. Nope, nothing, life is as usual. I searched deep into my being to find the source of stress, but I felt pretty normal. He pointed out how hard I have been working, and again, I thought, life as usual. I shrugged my shoulders with an attitude of dismissal, I mean, if I were stressed, wouldn’t I know it? The therapist then suggested I take Adaptogenic herbs to help my adrenals. Well, I sell such herbs, why have I not been taking them? I quickly re-introduced them into my daily routine, and proceed to research why I feel more grounded today then I did a few days ago.
What does stress look like?
If I am walking around in a constant state of stress, how do I recognize it, and how do I know to deal with it? The feelings of irritability, anxiety, and impatience are all signs of stress that can cause distinct behavioral patterns in people. Stress can be caused by environmental or mental assaults, chemical toxins, lack of sleep, poor diet, or a mere survival technique that is embedded in our DNA.
Our bodies are at a constant state of readiness, this is due to our ancestry of once being regularly attacked by wild animals or hostile people. Although we have since evolved, our bodies still respond to threats by secreting hormones that change our physiology and enhance our ability to run and defend ourselves. This is called a “flight or fight” response that causes intense stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal glands. Signs of such responses are high blood pressure, increase in blood sugar levels, increased heart rate, and slowed digestive secretions. Cortisol is released and our lymphatic system swells to protect our organs from the poisons streaming in our body. At this point, illness and disease are eminent.
The calming of the nerves, can be as simple as adding adaptogenic herbs to our diets to reduce the impacts of stress on the body mind and spirit.
The term adaptogen is used by herbalists to refer to natural herb product that is proposed to increase the body’s resistance to stress, trauma, anxiety and fatigue.
The concept of adaptogens dates back thousands of years to ancient India and China, but modern study did not begin until the late 1940s. In 1947, Nikolai Lazarev defined an adaptogen as an agent that allows the body to counter adverse physical, chemical, or biological stressors by raising nonspecific resistance toward such stress, allowing the organism to “adapt” to the stressful circumstances.
Adaptogenic herbs demonstrate a nonspecific enhancement of the body’s ability to resist stress, by normalizing the over-stimulation that inhibits normal, or natural bodily functions. Adaptogenic herbs have a tonifying effect on such uphevels of stress related effects.
At the core of an adaptogen’s scope of actions is the ability to help the body cope more effectively with stress. Specifically, adaptogens recharge the adrenal glands, which are the body’s nominal mechanism for responding to stress and emotional changes. The adrenals, which cover the upper surface of each kidney, synthesize and store dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. These compounds are responsible for the changes that occur during the fight-or-flight reaction. The question is, if adaptogens normalize the body and enable energy to be used more productively when stressors are not physical threats, can they be used to enhance general health and performance? Several studies indicate they can.
The list of plants with Adaptogenic properties is large due to it’s broad definition (to name of few):
- Codonopsis is one of the most widely used Chinese tonic herbs. It is very mild yet it invigorates the spleen and lung function so that chi is replenished and it promotes the production of bodily fluids. It is also an excellent blood tonic and major immune system tonic
- Astragalus is said to tonify the blood and spleen and aid defensive chi. It is added in formulations to strengthen weak constitutions. It is used to enhance recovery following illness or prolonged stress and to boost vitality
- Licorice root is said to tonify the spleen and strengthen chi. Licorice is the only herb claimed to benefit 12 meridians.
- Ormalite opens the heart and nourishes the soul. It is a remarkable clay, straight from nature and is a secret to a calm state of well being. It contains a broad spectrum of macro minerals, trace minerals resulting in an overall balanced influence on the body
- Ashwaganda is often called Indian Ginseng, though unrelated, shares many of ginsengs properties. It is considered a tonic, an alterative, an astringent, a nervine and a sedative. It is an aid to soothe anxiety and psychological complaints
- Suma is relatively new to western medicine. Suma contains vitamins A, E, B1 and B12: 19 amino acids, including lysine, histidine, arginine, and glycine: along with small amounts of calcium, iron, potassium and sodium
- Eleuthero Root, formerly known as Siberian Ginseng, it helps the body prevent “adrenal burnout”. It boosts concentration and focus along with immunity.
- Reishi Mushroom regulates the immunological responses, calms the mind and soothes nerves
Vitality Herbs and Clay is an exclusive product on my site that I am very proud to be carrying. I began taking the Adaptogen and Mushroom Blend herbal capsules the minute I arrived home from my reflexology appointment, and I am astounded at the balanced state of being that has overtaken me. I am able to cope with the demands of my life with calm and ease. Nothing has changed in my daily routine but the incorporation of these herbs.