Stress is a natural part of life…and isn’t it good to know there are natural ways of coping with it too? After all, unchecked stress from factors like overwork, grief, a personal setback and pollution is a trigger for chronic diseases and is a component in almost all diseases, says Dr. Terry Vanderheyden, a naturopathic doctor and registered herbalist in Barry’s Bay, Ont., as well as the medical advisor for St. Francis Herb Farm. “Stress causes the adrenal glands to produce adrenalin, which elevates the hormone cortisol, a natural response to ‘fight or flight,’” he says. “If you’re under chronic physical stress, it leads to poorer immunity and more susceptibility to infection.”
In addition to excellent stress-reducing tools like exercise, meditation and time with loved ones, herbal medicines can also offer natural stress relief. Some to consider:
An adrenal tonic
A tincture that combines a number of herbs known for nurturing the nervous system is a good option. Herbs such as ashwaghandha, eleuthero, rhodiola, holy basil and schisandra, are adaptogen herbs, explains Dr. Terry, which means that they are herbs that have a normalizing effect on the body, bringing its systems into balance. “Adaptogen herbs help us cope and not be so affected by physical, emotional or mental stress.”
In other cases, a tincture that contains just one herb is the right option for you.
For physical burnout
Milky oat seed is a nervine restorative, which works as a nerve tonic if you’re really overtaxed with physical work or studying hard.
For anxiety and panic
Passion flower tincture is useful to address feelings of acute anxiety and panic due to stress, says Dr. Terry. It’s a sedative so it’s best to take it at bedtime.
Rhodiola is an excellent antidepressant if the depression is a result of chronic stress and mental work, he says. It is stimulating, so take it during the day.
Positive steps to cope with stress have the best outcomes. Why not add herbal medicines that have been used for generations to your stress toolkit?
For more information on stress relief and over all health check out our 5 easy ways to promote longevity every day blog.
Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.
Adrenal tonics that contain adaptogen herbs can be taken regularly, on a three-weeks-on, one-week-off schedule.