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Holistic Living Articles & Resources

The Anti-Stress Remedy That Everyone Should Know About!

As us folks in Wyoming wait for the weather to actually feel like spring, I feel that the effects of this vibrant season have been in full force for the last two months.  Spring and autumn are the two seasons in the year that are all about transition.  While autumn represents a slowing down into hibernation, spring represents a speeding up into awakening and the birth of new life. Though this is a beautiful process, I feel a bit like a grumpy bear being woken up from my peaceful winter slumber.   As spring calls us into action and new growth I think it is natural to feel a bit more stress than usual this time of year.  Especially when we are waiting for the weather to catch up to our ambitions!

Stress is always a factor any time of the year and something we all should care about managing.  Of course we hear this all the time from multiple sources but why is it so important?   Our body’s natural response to stress is for our adrenal gland to produce cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone.  In 1936 a medical report called general adaptation syndrome was created by Hans Selye, a Canadian biochemist.  Selye defined two types of stress, one being the helpful kind called eustress and the negative kind called distress.  Eustress serves a helpful purpose in releasing healthy levels of cortisol to provide increased energy and alertness when we need it only in certain situations and then is designed to subside in the body once the stress or fear is gone.  Distress (now significantly more common to modern daily living) is when we don’t ever physically release our stress.  Therefore cortisol builds up to unhealthy levels in the body and becomes a negative opposing function to our health that creates a feeling of constant general anxiety.  In addition, this overproduction of cortisol has a domino effect that creates an imbalance of health on many levels including:

·         decreased metabolism
·         suppressed immune system
·         fluctuating blood sugar levels
·         overall memory and ability to learn
·         bone density
·         blood pressure
·         elevated cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease
·         depression and mental illness
·         lower life expectancy


So what can we do to combat this new modern response to a very stressful world?  You need to know about Adaptogens. The term adaptogens refers to pharmacological/herbal remedies that stabilize the body’s resistance to biological stress and homeostasis of physiological systems. It makes sense that this very term contains the root word “adapt”, as we must adapt to the increasing demands of an ever changing world and evolve our responses to it.  There are several herbs in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine that are classified as adaptogens.  However for the purposes of simplicity and my own personal experience, I would like to share with you two remedies, under the adaptogens category, that I have tried with great success in managing my own stress levels.
                               I. Ashwaghanda
Ashwagandha is an Indian herb that has incredible stress-relieving properties equivalent to many powerful pharmaceuticals used in treating anxiety and depression.  This amazing herb contains profound antioxidant properties that destroy free radicals that lead to several states of disease and aging.  It has anti-cancer benefits and a preventative/protective effect on the nervous system against further imbalance as well as being used to alternatively treat
such degenerative diseases as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Take Ashwaghanda on its own or try an anti-stress herbal blend that contains this as one of its ingredients.
The blend I have been using is called Stress Care by Himalaya Herbal Healthcare.  This blend contains Ashwaghanda in combination with many other adaptogen herbs that collectively keep stress induced cortisol levels within a healthy normal range.

                                  II. Maca Powder

Maca, specifically the root of the plant has long been revered by ancient Peruvian societies as a superfood for healing and nourishment.  It is native to the Andean Mountains of Bolivia and Peru and is one of the only food plants in the world able to survive at such high altitudes. In the Incan empire Maca was highly valued for its adaptogenic qualities that enable it to soothe and balance the body's sensitive endocrine system in order to cope with stress. It is also a natural energizer, that is much more even than the nervousness and jitters of caffeine.  Maca can also aid in reproductive functions by helping to balance hormones and therefore increase fertility.  

The easiest way to incorporate Maca into your diet is through taking direct supplements of the root or adding the powder form of the root into smoothies, yogurt or even baking with.

If you struggle with depression or the constant anxiety of a nervous alley cat and you feel like you just can’t turn off “the stress switch” there is a high likelihood that the cause is from elevated cortisol levels in your body.  Try Ashwaghanda and Maca together as a new plan to support your adrenal glands and you will be amazed and delighted at the results you see in only a week or two.  Both these blessed plants can help us navigate through an increasingly overwhelming world of constant stress factors that damage our physical and mental health. 

Don’t suffer, help yourself, be well and of course come get your regular massages too as massage has the exact same positive effects in rebalancing the body as these wonderful herbs.

Don’t let stress take away your joy in life, be aware of unreleased stress in your body and take control back!

4 Comments to The Anti-Stress Remedy That Everyone Should Know About!:

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Lamia on Monday, October 27, 2014 12:32 PM
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