Today, everyone seems to live an extremely busy lifestyle. Juggling work, a family, finances and personal affairs can make anyone feel overly stressed.
By nature, stress is supposed to be a good thing. This evolutionary response triggered the fight-or-flight reaction that helped our ancestors avoid dangerous situations, such as being devoured by a predator. In modern society, it can help us get out of harm’s way, too; for example, the fight-or-flight response can help us jam on our breaks quickly when we see a pedestrian crossing the street when we are driving.
However, while stress can be beneficial in low-doses, when experienced excessively, it can be quite damaging. Some of the detrimental effects of chronic stress include:
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Depleted energy levels
- Weight gain
- A decreased immune system function
How to Decrease Stress Naturally
There are several strategies that you can use to reduce stress levels naturally. Methods include yoga, meditation, and exercise. However, if you are under excessive stress, these methods may not be effective. So, what is another natural option? – Adaptogens.
What is an adaptogen?
Adaptogens are a unique collection of healing plants that have the ability to nourish the body and relieve stress. These plants have been found to be a highly effective tool for reducing stress levels in a natural way. If you are feeling overly stressed, you can take an adaptogen to help ease your stress levels and not only improve the way that you feel, but also improve your mental and physical health, as well as your overall well-being.
5 Adaptogen Herbs for Stress
So, what type of adaptogen herbs can you take to reduce your stress levels? Here’s a look at five excellent options:
Of all adaptogens, ginseng is the most popular. Red ginseng, in particular, is known for its ability to fight off the effects of stress, as well as improve mental performance. This herb provides antioxidant effects, as well as the antidepressant effect. It can reduce blood pressure levels, too.
Also known as Indian ginseng, this herb is commonly used in ancient medicinal practices, such as Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha has been found to stabilise the immune system and decrease the effects of anxiety. In fact, this herb is so powerful that it has been the go-to for stress relief in Eastern societies for more than 2,000 years.
Another adaptogen that is highly regarded for its stress-relief benefits is liquorice root. It helps to boost energy levels, as well as endurance. It also strengthens the immune system, which can be extensively damaged as a result of stress, and shields the thymus gland from harm from cortisol (the stress hormone).
*Liquorice root should be taken with doctor’s supervision, as it can impact blood pressure levels.*
Also known as tulsi, in India, people regard this herb for its ability to combat ageing. Studies have found that holy basil can combat the effects of stress, strengthen the immune system, and even normalise blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
Commonly referred to as the golden root, rhodiola is a powerful adaptogen that has been found to reduce the effects of stress, including physical and mental exhaustion. This herb contains salidroside, a phytochemical that helps to ease anxiety and fight off the effects of ageing. It also reduces the production of cortisone and boosts proteins that have the ability to relieve stress.
If you are feeling overly stressed, these five adaptogens can help to restore your body and reduce the damaging effects that are associated with high cortisol levels.
Henry Williams is a freelance writer from Vancouver who blogs about health and fitness. Henry is an avid traveller and regularly traverses the globe to learn about other cultures while blogging from his laptop.