(NaturalHealth365) Stress is at the heart of most chronic health conditions. Chronic stress directly affects the way your adrenal glands function resulting in conditions like adrenal fatigue, hormonal imbalance and suppressed immunity. In fact, adrenal fatigue ought to be called a ‘silent killer’ – because it develops over years and is often overlooked by conventional medicine.
Chronic stress, which often leads to adrenal fatigue, can create serious health problems like, diabetes, hypertension plus many other life-threatening illnesses. Of course, the good news is you can reduce your stress and improve your adrenal health by consuming adaptogenic herbs – on a daily basis.
Can you explain what ‘adaptogenic herbs’ will do for me?
Adaptogens are natural substances in plants or herbs that help the body to cope with stress (or injury) by supporting the body’s normal metabolic function and restore balance – without negative side effects. Adaptogenic herbs are different from other plant compounds due to their ability to restore the balance of endocrine hormones and modulate the immune system. They are truly intelligent herbs.
One of the key functions of an adaptogen is its ability to stabilize cortisol (stress hormone) levels. High cortisol levels lead to many ‘pre-disease’ conditions.
Which herbs are best to take – on a daily basis?
Ashwagandha is one of the most popular herbs, used in Ayurvedic medicine, for treating stress and stress-related disorders of the adrenal glands. Ashwadandha is considered the best treatment for fatigue. In a randomized, placebo controlled study subjects complaining of high mental stress were given 300 mg ashwagandha – two times a day for 2 months.
When the subjects were tested, the group that received the herb showed a significant drop in anxiety, depression and insomnia test scores. The study concluded that ashwagnadha was a safe and effective way to improve resistance to stress and maintain adrenal health. Ashwagandha contains withanolides and sitoindosides, two key components that are responsible for its immune-building, nerve and endocrine health maintaining abilities.
Rhodiola is a natural adaptogen that is often used in the treatment of stress-related disorders. A clinical study reported that rhodiola exerted anti-fatigue effects with increased mental performance. Scientific studies reveals that taking rhodiola helps people with concentration and decreases the ‘cortisol response’ in patients with chronic stress.
Rhodiola also known as the golden root contains six distinct group of compounds that are its active ingredients. Rosavin, rosin and rosarin are the most important ones among the six that help increase the oxygen carrying capacity of the red blood cells – which is crucial during times of stress.
Astragalus is used as a tonic and as an adrenal support herb. Its active ingredients include isoflavonoids, saponins, triterpenoids, polysaccharide fractions and gaba-aminobutyric acid.
These substances positively influence the blood flow, blood pressure and water balance in the body which is thrown into a state of imbalance during chronic stress. In addition, astragalus plays a vital role in regulating the blood sugar levels, alleviating insulin resistance and aids the body to cope and adapt to stress.
Are there any side effects or safety concerns?
Adaptogenic herbs have been used in Ayurveda and Chinese Traditional medicine systems as a safe means to treat imbalances and disorders of our adrenal and endocrine glands for centuries. Herbs like ashwagandha are known to be powerful, yet safe herbs to bring about hormonal balance. The only ‘side effect’ is that you’ll feel great
They are nontoxic, mostly devoid of side effects, according to David Winston, the eminent herbal educator, and author of ”Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief ”. However many health practitioners recommend against using any single adaptogenic herbs over long periods of time. Instead, it is best to rotate the usage of your herbs – every couple of months – to help maintain its effectiveness.
So, the next time you need a boost – put down that cup of coffee (or soda) and try a cup of herbal tea or add these adaptogenic herbs to your next smoothie. Stay strong!
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1. Mills S, Bone K. Principles and Practice of Phytotheraphy. 2000: 273-77
2. David Winston and Steven Maimes ”Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief. 2007
3. Rege NN, Thatte UM, Dahanukar SA. Adaptogenic properties of six rasayana herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. Phytother Res. 1999 Jun;13(4):275-91.
4. Olsson EM, von Schéele B, Panossian AG. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta Med 2009; 75(2): 105-112
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