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Combat the Symptoms of Stress With Herbal Remedies!

Updated on March 1, 2010

Does your job have you stressed out? Maybe it's your kids or your perhaps your mother in law (sorry, Mom!). Whatever the cause of your stress may be now is the time to take back your life and reduce your stress level! Your body is made to handle small amounts of stress. Large amounts, however, can be extremely unhealthy…not only for your body but your mind as well. Obviously, quitting your job, selling your kids, or exchanging your mother in law for a better model, probably aren't viable options. So what can you do to reduce the amount of stress in your life? Herbal remedies to the rescue!

Fortunately for you, there are a diverse group of herbs that can actually help to reduce your stress level (sorry guys, but beer is not considered an herbal remedy). There are no medications (over-the-counter or physician prescribed) available to cure stress. Yes, there are medications that can help ease the SYMPTOMS of stress (such as aspirin for headaches), however most, if not all of these medications have an herbal counterpart. Why not travel a different road for a change and give an all natural, herbal remedy a try!?

Always read the label before taking any herbal remedy that you purchase!
Always read the label before taking any herbal remedy that you purchase!

Be Cautious!

There are MANY different herbal remedies on the market today that CLAIM to fight and reduce stress. It is very important that you READ the product labels so that you know exactly what you are purchasing and putting into your body as many herbal stress reducers are NOT what they claim to be. Getting to know your basic herb groups can be quite beneficial (for one thing, you will know what to look for when reading the ingredients label on a product you are considering).Take a look at the groups of herbs below (and their descriptions). Many of the herbs that fall within these categories have the capability to ease the symptoms that often accompany stress. As I always say, knowledge is power, my friends!

 

Know Your Herb Groups!

Adrenal Gland Tonics – An example of a tonic herb would be Siberian Ginseng. Herbs that fall into this category help to restore overstressed adrenal glands, working miracles on people who are chronically stressed out (Siberian Ginseng just so happens to be one of the "primary" tonic herbs). So why are they called Adrenal Gland Tonics in the first place? Well, in a nutshell, stressful and chaotic situations often stimulate the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. If you are often stressed out, your adrenal glands go into hormone release over-drive and quickly become exhausted. When this happens, you may feel fatigued, anxious or irritable. Over time, herbal remedies that fall under the category of Adrenal Gland Tonics (such as Siberian Ginseng) can help to restore the health of your glands, therefore, refreshing your spirit (which hopefully, will help to reduce your stress level!).

 

Sedatives and Calmatives – This group of herbs calms even the most savage of beasts. Ok, that's a bit dramatic…but they do have the capability to calm frayed nerves, induce sleep, and settle anxiety. Chamomile is a wonderful example of an herb that falls into this category. The ancient Greeks sipped on chamomile tea in order to relax. Today, chamomile tea is enjoyed by millions of people each day and is also highly recommended by doctors as a way to calm the nerves and reduce stress. If you are stressed out, drink three cups of chamomile tea per day and see what happens. Hopefully, the calming effects of the tea will ease your nerves and restore calm into your life (or at least your day!). Lavender is also considered a calming herb. After a long day at work try taking a lavender bath. Simply wrap dried lavender in a washcloth and hold it under the faucet as the water fills the tub.  The smell of lavender not only calms humans, it can tame the craziest of canines as well (a recent study showed that over- anxious dogs tend to relax when in a room that has been infused with lavender). So what is the difference between a sedative and a calmative? Well, some herbs are considered calmatives when taken in smaller doses and sedatives when taken in larger doses. Just as with over-the-counter or prescription medications, it is important that you read and follow the directions of all herbs and/or herbal remedies that you purchase (especially ones that are considered sedatives).

Adaptogens – Herbs that fall into this category are substances that, over time, help the body cope with stress as well as improve immune function. They're best for rebuilding your health after dealing with a long term, stressful situation or a serious health issue. Adaptogens can also increase mental alertness, physical stamina and athletic performance. Asian Ginseng is an example of an Adaptogen. This herb is well suited for long term, daily use and can act as an over-all health enhancer as well as an immune system rebuilder. It should be noted that many Adaptogens should not be taken if you are pregnant (consult your physician). It is also important to limit your caffeine intake as well.

Liver Herbs- Last but definitely not least are the Liver Herbs! When people become stressed, they often turn to unhealthy means as a way of coping (for example, drinking, smoking and fatty comfort foods). Exposure to unhealthy toxins stresses the liver, therefore, taking an herbal remedy that supports liver function is ideal. Milk thistle is a wonderful example of a Liver Herb. Highly researched, milk thistle protects the liver and stimulates the regeneration of liver cells after an injury. This herb is a must for people who are known to enjoy a cocktail or two!

Milk Thistle
Milk Thistle

Now that you are aware of the different herb groups and some of the herbal remedies that can assist your body when it comes to fighting the symptoms of stress, you now know what to do (and what herbs to reach for) the next time you are dealing with a stressful situation.  It is very important that you listen to your body and RECOGNIZE when something is not right. Over time, stress can wreak havoc on your body. It can quickly weaken your immune system, damage your heart and blood vessels and over-all weaken your state of mind. By using herbal remedies you can combat these symptoms and improve your over-all health. It is important to remember that nothing works over night…not even herbal remedies. When fighting off the symptoms of stress, patience is key. After all, good things come to those who wait…and herbal remedies are no exception! Here's to a peaceful, stress free life!

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