Adapting To Stress: 2 Top Herbal Allies

It’s time to do something about feeling just not up to par, because chances are you’re dealing with it. (Or will at some point of your life.) Many  person can experience fatigue and exhaustion at a particularly stressful point in his or her life.  Our ability to adapt to stress is more often termed “resilience“.  

According to James Wilson (author of “Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome”), chronic stress and lifestyle affect the body’s ability to recuperate from physical, mental or emotional stress.

Our Adrenals glands produce hormones that are vital to life and  when we enter a stressful situation our hormone balance gets compromised. The good news is that nature has provided us with herbal allies that help with this—called adaptogens.

Adaptogens are natural substances that work with a person’s body and help them adapt; most notably, to stress. Adaptogens are a natural ally in dealing with persistent stress and fatigue because they work with regulating important hormones.

Here are my 2 favorites:


Ashwagandha, Botanical Name – Withania somnifera (danish) root —also called Indian Ginseng Root, because it is used in similar way in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine as Panax ginseng is used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The plant has been used for more than 2500 years to restore overall health and increase longevity.  There are many components that will determine the quality and strength of this herb. Namely, the soil it is grown in, how it is nourished, harvested and prepared for use. 

That aside, Ashwaganda has been used in conditions of fatigue, general debility, nervous exhaustion, wasting in children, anaemia, loss of memory and muscular energy, convalescence, insomnia, impotence, spermatorrhoea, inflammatory conditions.  Currently there is even evidence that it is a tonic for supporting thyroid function.   Considered a rejuvenative herb, studies have shown that Ashwaganda promotes physical and mental health, augments resistance of the body against disease and adverse environmental factors, revitalizes the body in debilitated conditions and increases longevity. The herb has mild sedative properties and is thought to promote a restful sleep. This use is reflected in the scientific species name somnifera (= soporific).

Rhodiola Rosea

This herb botanical name is Rhodiola Rosea …It is popular among the Sherpas who work on Mt. Everest because of the way it supports regular energy levels and fights altitude sickness. Studies also show it helps encourage normal cortisol levels as well as energy levels.

Species belonging to the genus Rhodiola grow in high-altitude (up to 2280 meters above sea level) and other cold regions of the northern hemisphere.

Rhodiola rosea probably has its origins in the mountainous regions of the southwestern parts of China and the Himalayas, but now it is commonly found in Scandinavia, Iceland, Greenland, United Kingdom, Ireland and North America.

It is the rhizome (rootstock) that is mostly used for medicinal purposes but the leaves and stems have also been used, both as food and medicine.

Rhodiola Rosea is considered to be one of the best medicinal herbs to reduce stress. Research has shown that it protects against an excessive release of stress hormones, particularly cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. This is important because too much of these hormones for too long can cause the body to deteriorate.

In summary, I have just discussed two of my favorite adaptogens, but as with anything, there are precautions to take.  People on medications, with certain medical conditions, pregnancy and breastfeeding must all take precaution and check with a qualified licensed professional to evaluate your specific needs.

Podcast Link: Adapting to Stress

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