Dealing with chronic stress
Chronic stress appears to be the new ‘normal’, and when you are chronically stressed, relentless cortisol (your main stress hormone) production can have a negative impact on your body. High cortisol drives the overactivity of your nervous system and creates imbalances between stimulatory neurotransmitters (brain chemical messengers) and inhibitory neurotransmitters that help keep you calm and relaxed.
The drivers of chronic stress are best supported by regulating cortisol release through adrenal gland support. Adaptogenic herbs help the body resist physical, mental and emotional stressors, helping the body ‘adapt and cope’ with stress. Herbs that provide support for a healthy stress response in the body include:
- Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb, typically standardised to contain the active components, salidroside and rosavin, traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to reduce symptoms of stress such as fatigue, weariness and feelings of weakness. Rhodiola supports exercise performance and maintains both physical and mental stamina.
- Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic tonic herb, traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as an adaptogen and to restore vitality. Ashwagandha supports energy production and assists convalescence.
- Licorice is traditionally used in Western herbal medicine as an adrenal tonic to help maintain the tone and function of the adrenal glands.
See Stress Ease.
Getting a good night’s sleep
Your quality of sleep can affect the way you look, feel and behave, so it’s important to get a good night’s sleep. High levels of cortisol at night can lead to restlessness, making it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep or a combination of both. The third report commissioned by the Sleep Health Foundation found that four in ten Australian adults (7.4 million people) frequently experienced inadequate sleep. Even after one night of disrupted sleep, you can look and feel tired. Traditional herbs that help relieve sleeplessness include:
- Ziziphus - traditionally used in Chinese medicine to relieve sleeplessness, improve sleep quality and maintain refreshing sleep.
- Passionflower - traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to calm the mind to relieve sleeplessness and reduce symptoms of mild anxiety.
- Californian poppy - traditionally used in Western herbal medicine to induce sleep and improve sleep quality, supporting deeper sleep. It is also used traditionally to relax the nervous system, relieve excess nervous energy and relieve pain.
Most of us will experience mild anxiety briefly at one time or another during our lifetime. Feeling anxious is a normal body response to a stressful event when we anticipate impending danger or dread. Traditional herbs that help relieve mild anxiety include:
- Ashwagandha is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to help relieve symptoms of mild anxiety and KSM-66® provides a unique, full spectrum extract of Ashwagandha standardised to >5% withanolides.
See Mind Ease.