Stress. We all suffer from it. Some of us experience it once in a while when something really taxing happens whilst others seem to live in such a constant state of stress that coming up for air is a rare – nay freak occurrence. However much stress you experience, it can be devastating on our bodies. According to medical researchers who developed the stress scale ranking system – they found that the higher your total stress score in any particular year, the more likely you were to become ill.
That’s right, you heard it here…there is a stress ranking system. Now you can officially count up all the stress in your life and finally prove to your friends and colleagues that you have it harder than them! Moving house? Collect 25 points. Going to jail? Collect 63 points. Going on holiday – take 13! Get your calculators out…here is the stress scale ranking system!
So how did you do? We all need help with stress at different times, and as stress is inherently an internal phenomenon it can wreak havoc on the body…leading to sickness…leading to another whopping 53 points added to our already ample stress score! STRESS!!!! The link between our health and our ability to deal constructively with our lives is now strongly supported by a growing body of scientific literature. Most of us could really benefit from improving the balance of our lives and our ability to cope with life’s challenges, and that is where adaptogenic herbs come in!
So how do adaptogenic herbs help us with stress?
“Adaptogenic or hormonal modulating actions of certain herbs increase the body’s resistance and endurance to a wide variety of adverse influences from physical chemical and biological stressors, assisting the body’s ability to cope and adapt”. These herbs create within us, a much greater ability to cope with the stresses of everyday living. When combined with excellent foods and vitamins these herbs really do make a difference to our capacity to cope. The earlier you can address the stress factor, utilizing foods, herbs and vitamins, then the easier it becomes to cope with problems and to leave that stress score in the dust.
Here are my top suggestions for adaptogenic herbs that I personally use for when things are getting a bit hairy!
Astragalus: One of the most popular tonic herbs in China, having been in use for thousands of years. It increases endurance and stamina and improves resistance to the cold. It is a classic energy tonic; superior to most others including the ginsengs. Astragalus improves physical endurance, lowers blood pressure and raises immune function. It’s helpful in relieving fluid retention, for excessive sweating (including night sweats), for prolapsed organs and for uterine bleeding, as well as being good for anaemia. Do not use this herb in acute illness states.
Withania: (Also known as “Indian Ginseng” or Ashwaganda) The best rejuvenative herb for muscles, marrow and semen. General debility, sexual debility, nerve exhaustion, loss of memory, old age, loss of muscular energy, tissue deficiency, insomnia, rheumatism, depression, anaemia, fatigue, infertility and overwork to name just some of its remarkable abilities. Withania is one of the best herbs for long-term stress and the chronically ill. It is a widely researched herb, showing that withanolides in this plant are similar to the body’s own steroid hormones – these are anti-inflammatory. They also inhibit the growth of cancer cells. It contains a high iron content and is helpful in restoring vitality for those suffering from overwork or nervous exhaustion. It clarifies the mind, calms and strengthens the nerves, and promotes sound restful sleep. Pretty good eh?
Suma: This is one of the best all round adaptogens, strengthening all parts of the body and mind.
All of these wonderful herbs are available to buy at Cottage Hill Herbs. Just send your order in to [email protected]
I have seen many clients and friends find great relief using some of these herbs, so do give them a try. If that doesn’t work, you could try this…
Go easy everyone.