Managing stress is an integral part of our health. We are constantly reminded that unaddressed, chronic stress has been shown to compromise our health in the short and long term. Short-term symptoms include fatigue, weight gain/ loss, brain fog, decreased libido, hair loss, depression & anxiety, and more. Because stress is known to cause chronic inflammation, long-term stress is linked to an increased risk of inflammatory conditions such as heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, and more.
In our modern-day society, chronic stress is a rising issue. In fact, it is reported that approximately 75% of Americans experience physical and/or emotional symptoms of stress. Although there are prescription medications for stress management, there are natural herbal remedies that have been used by a variety of cultures for hundreds of years due to their soothing properties.
Below are our top picks for whole-body healing, stress-relieving herbs:
Ashwagandha is a strong-tasting root that has anti-inflammatory, blood pressure regulating, immune boosting, and cancer prevention qualities. This popular supplement also supports thyroid function by improving serum values of thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Because the thyroid and adrenals have significant influence over one another, improving thyroid function in this way can also lead to more balanced adrenal activity. Additionally, studies show that ashwagandha is effective at normalizing stress hormones, alleviating anxiety, and increasing energy levels.
Because ashwagandha is non-stimulating, it can be taken in the evening without risk of interrupting sleep. The recommended dosage of ashwagandha ranges from 500-2000 milligrams depending on the degree of cortisol imbalance and individual tolerance level. Treatment duration can range significantly. It is not uncommon for patients with adrenal fatigue to remain on ashwagandha supplements for six months or more.
2. Licorice Root
Not only is licorice root the source of the widely recognized flavor, but it also provides several health benefits. Studies show that supplementation with licorice root improves the regulation of various stress-related hormones including cortisol. Licorice root may also improve energy level, physical endurance, and bolster immune function.
3. Magnolia Bark
Magnolia bark, or magnolia officinalis, is a naturally occurring herb that supports healthy cortisol levels, particularly in the evening. Excess cortisol in one’s system during the evening hours can induce sensations of feeling wired but tired, where the mind is racing but the body feels exhausted. This is a primary problem with adrenal fatigue. Even though the body is exhausted, it cannot get the rest it needs to restore itself. Reducing cortisol levels relieves stress on the adrenals, thereby improving sleep quality and adrenal regeneration.
Some studies have shown that magnolia bark is more effective at reducing cortisol levels, and by extension stress and anxiety, than other common medications such as Ativan and Valium. Furthermore, magnolia bark has the benefit of being nonaddictive and does not cause significant side effects associated with other anxiety and mood medications.
Ginseng provides exceptional support to the adrenals by significantly limiting the effects of chronic stress. The powerful herb facilitates this by regulating the activity of the HPA axis, which is responsible for controlling many of the influential adrenal hormones. Ginseng may also limit the occurrence of autoimmune disease, and mood-related disorders such as depression and anxiety that contribute to the development of adrenal fatigue.
Eleuthero has been used for thousands of years as a stress reliever. The inherent stimulating qualities of eleuthero boost energy level and balance nervous system activity. Furthermore, studies show that eleuthero contains fatigue-fighting and fat-burning compounds that may improve physical performance and weight regulation. Other benefits of eleuthero include normalizing immune function, stabilizing blood sugar, improving concentration, and even alleviating symptoms of menopause.
Relieving Your Stress Naturally
How should you incorporate the above stress-relieving herbs into your daily routine? They are all available in supplement form and many can be found in Holtraceuticals’ pharmaceutical-grade supplements. You can also enjoy herbs and roots like ginseng and ashwagandha in calming teas.
Incorporating either supplements or teas into your daily routine can be an incredibly effective way to promote your overall wellness and longevity. To learn more about why it is important to combat stress, consider reading our article, Chronic Stress & Its Toll on Your Health.