Herbal Stress Busters

Mental and physical fatigue and general weariness resulting from stress are common symptoms in patients I see. Their busy, fast paced lives, often balancing work, study and parenting leave them exhausted and frustrated, with a lack of motivation and energy.

In chronic stress – hormone balance, blood sugar metabolism and immune function are frequently impaired, and in addition to fatigue, other common symptoms can include aches and pains in muscles and joints, menstrual irregularities, digestive and sleep disturbances and hypersensitivity to stimuli such as noise and smell.

As a Naturopath and Herbalist I am fortunate to be able to choose from several treatment options when helping patients with these issues.  Causes and therefore treatment plans will vary from patient to patient, with nutritional deficits addressed via dietary changes and supplements if required, lifestyle choices examined and amended where necessary, and complementary modalities such as aromatherapy, homeopathy and flower essences used if considered appropriate.

Herbal medicine however provides some of the best treatment options for stress and fatigue and there are several herb classes that can assist. Among my favourites are the herbal ‘adaptogens’ which improve the body’s adaptability to physical and psychological stimuli and stressors, and help to increase stamina and endurance and resistance to illness.

Adaptogens exert a balancing effect on various body systems, including immune, nervous and cardiovascular systems, and in providing support for the adrenal glands, can help the body deal more effectively with stress, anxiety and fatigue. The adrenals help us respond to and rebound from stress, and when they become overwhelmed, various systems in the body start to break down. Adaptogens are sometimes called a whole body tonic.

Some well-known herbal adaptogens include Withania somnifera (Withania/ Ashwagandha); Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng); Schisandra chinensis (Schisandra); Panax ginseng (Korean ginseng); Astragalus membranaceus (Astragalus); Rhodiola rosea (Rhodiola); Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice) Bacopa monnieri (Bacopa) and Centella asiatica (Gotu kola). Adaptogens are beautiful herbs which have long been used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to boost energy and resilience. Talk to a Naturopath or Herbalist about how herbal medicines can best assist you.

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