Today's video is about stress and some powerful herbal medicines called adaptogens that we can use to mitigate the effects of stress on the body and mind.
Remedies for Stress
Any discussion of health and healing is incomplete without a discussion about stress and the effects of stress. By now we all know the effects of stress can lead to imbalance in body and mind. This is especially true if the stress is chronic and ongoing.
So what exactly do we mean when we say stress leads to illness? Stress is actually an essential part of being alive. You have an entire stress system that protects you during danger. When encountering a stressor the body produces hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. It also temporarily increases your blood sugar and blood pressure. These changes help the body to respond to the threat you’re encountering.
For many people this is no longer a temporary occurrence. Many people are habitually living on hyper drive due to stress and are either on their way to burning out this stress system in the body or have already done so.
Adaptogens are a class of herbal medicines that help to protect the body from the effects of stress. They are well known regulators - they help to balance, support and calm the bodies stress systems. Adaptogens help us to adapt to a changing environment. They are also known to be some of the safest and non-toxic herbal medicine we have and are especially good for long term use.
Ashwagandha is a root that has been used for thousands of years within the Indian system of medicine called “Ayurveda”. It’s a great tonic herb that is very soothing. It improves energy levels, boosts the immune system, and has a calming effect on the body. In particular it is very helpful if the body has developed inflammatory responses such as arthritis. But remember to avoid this herb if you are taking stronger pharmaceutical pain or sedative medications. Since it is a part of the nightshade family you may also want to avoid use of this plant if you have sensitivity to nightshades.
Ling Zhi which is Ganoderma mushroom or more commonly known as Reishi mushroom is a very powerful adaptogen used in Chinese Medicine. Reishi supports longevity through its strong tonic properties. In Chinese Medicine Reishi is actually categorized based on its effects on the spirit. It calms and soothes the heart especially when there is insomnia and forgetfulness because of depletion. It also works to build the lung Qi when there is shortness of breath, cough or wheezing.
The breath is also another important ally when working with stress and the effects of stress. Establish a habit of pausing when feeling particularly stressed and notice how you’re breathing. If you’re holding your breath, or the breath is rapid or rough, take a few seconds to slow the breath down and even it out. This will send an immediate relaxation signal to the body and mind.
Be sure to spend time in nature, and get enough sleep - especially when under stress. If you notice that stress is affecting your sleep or causing anxiety try some chamomile tea or breathing lavender essential oil before bed. And look out for another video on working with anxiety coming out soon.
So now you know a few ways to reduce the effects of stress through breath and herbal medicine! Let me know in the comments below what you do to lessen stress and if you found this video helpful.