Stress affects everyone differently, and some people are able to handle it better than others. Stress in itself isn’t all that bad for you as it’s the body’s natural response to a situation whether good or bad – a coping mechanism when the body is experiencing a type of “fight or flight” scenario.
During a stress response, you may notice your breath quickens, your heart rate increases, your muscles tighten, and you feel your blood pumping powerfully through your veins. You could say stress in small doses is beneficial to our everyday life as it helps us accomplish things and can even prevent injury under dangerous circumstances.
The Role of The Adrenal Glands
Our adrenal glands are only about the size of our thumb and they are located just above each kidney. Part of the endocrine system, their job is to produce a cocktail of over 30 different steroids and hormones.
While they are commonly known to secrete stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenalin in the body, they also play a vital role in the reproductive hormones. Along with producing cortisol, they produce estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA – our anti-aging hormone.
Talk about important things coming in small sizes. When we take a closer look at these little glands and the job they do for us we can understand how important it is to not overload them. It’s fascinating to know that something so small like the adrenal glands has the power to highly influence our body.
Most people suffer from stress and fatigue at some point in their life, and our bodies are designed to handle it. But what it can’t handle is long-term chronic stress. When you start to notice that your body is losing the ability to effectively respond to stress, this is when stress becomes a problem and has the potential to turn into adrenal fatigue.
Sudden cravings for sugar and salt, trouble sleeping, or an increase in your dependence on coffee and caffeine, are all subtle indicators that your adrenal glands are suffering and need to be seen to. When the body reaches this stage, health problems usually follow, reaching chronic conditions.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Blood sugar issues
- Poor diet/digestion issues
- Sleep problems
- Trouble concentrating/racing thoughts
- Weight problems
- Hormone imbalance
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Decreased libido
Keeping our hormones balanced and working efficiently is vital to our health and vitality. Any imbalance can impose serious health risks.
What are Adaptogens, and How Do They Work?
Adaptogens, are a combination of herbs that offer a range of health benefits. You may be familiar with some of the more common ones, such as green tea, ginseng, liquorice root, etc.
While they may not be in the mainstream of medical doctors, they have been around for centuries in both Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine.
These herbs are very safe and efficacious tonics and work simultaneously with the body to improve the main body systems functionality by helping the body to adapt and regulate important hormones. They essentially protect the body from the toxic effects of stress, which is arguably one of the most current health issues today.
Research has shown the positive impact adaptogens can have on our general well-being, from boosting our physical performance under intense exhaustion, as well as increasing our tolerance to stress.
Also, they are pretty clever, to say the least – they have the ability to calm you down when you need calming, at the same time boost you with energy without over stimulating, just when you need that extra kick.
You could say that adaptogens act like a magic wand, restoring harmony and balance to our body – nature’s miracle anti-stress fighters.
4 Adaptogens to Balance and Restore the Body
Often referred to as Indian ginseng – Ashwagandha is considered beneficial for good sleep and adapting to stress. It helps maintain normal thyroid function and has been known to encourage vitality, energy, stamina, and endurance, as well as to keep the mind sharp by supporting mental focus.
A popular herb found in Asia and Eastern Europe. In Russia, Rhodiola Rosea was discovered to have a resistance to biological, chemical, radiation, oxidative stress, and physical stressors.
And if you’re someone that suffers when you fly, you may want to pack this herb in your carry-on bag as it has been known to be helpful for fighting altitude sickness.
Chronic bursts of cortisol can wreak havoc on your skin leaving you with dark circles, fine lines, breakouts, or skin irritation and redness. Rhodiola Rosea may help you avoid those breakouts by supporting a healthy inflammatory response and helping to support healthy clear skin.
Some recent research also suggests it may be beneficial for supporting healthy weight-loss.
Holy Basil has had a long tradition in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine, and is also commonly known as “Tulsi.” There is nothing this herb can’t do!
As a member of the mint family, Holy basil supports a healthy inflammatory response and immune-supporting properties. This adaptogen is used as an expectorant, mild stimulant, immune amphoteric, mood-elevating, and antioxidant.
Homeostasis – Finding Your Balance
In human anatomy, the term “homeostasis” refers to the ability of the body or a cell in the body to find and maintain a stable equilibrium within its internal environment when dealing with external changes. Much like the way a warm-blooded animal can adjust to its environment by maintaining a constant temperature inside.
Integrative medicine allows us to find our homeostasis and help maintain a stable equilibrium of hormones through the use of adaptogens. Of course, diet and exercise play a vital role in finding that balance as well.
When we include these powerful herbs into our diet we may notice a positive change in our body.
Some benefits include:
- Improved feelings of well being
- Increased Physical Endurance
- Clear Skin
- Supports Normal Immune Function
- Weight Maintenance
- Helps Maintain Healthy Liver Function
- Improved Sleep
- Improved Mental Focus
- Healthy Elimination
Adaptogens come in different forms, such as tinctures, tea’s, powders, or pills. Finding out which way you’d like to include them in your diet is a matter of personal taste – each form has its own benefits that can suit your individual lifestyle. You can crush a pill or put a powder form into a creamy smoothie, or enjoy it in a nice warm cup of tea.
Suffering from chronic stress and adrenal fatigue can wreak havoc on the body and send our hormones on a rollercoaster ride. It’s never too late to do something about it by focusing on our health, making lifestyle changes, and adding adaptogens to our diet – nature’s very own stress tonic!
Meet the Author!
Lara Brown-Notman is a wife and mom to 3 children. A healthy-living, fitness and nutrition enthusiast, blogger, entrepreneur, world traveler, and the author and founder of Cré Organics artisan skincare. Lara has always been passionate for all things natural and handmade, with an obsession for health, nutrition, and wellness. Check out her skincare line Cré Organics!