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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Natural Solutions Can Help Manage Stress

Jun 01, 2014 12:30PM ● By Linda Sechrist

Everyone longs to maintain self-control and a calm, positive attitude when they are under pressure. Although it’s common to perceive our own personal stress as greater than anyone else’s experiences, stress happens to everyone every day. While we intend to set aside daily “me time” for meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi or qi gong, we’re more likely to replace these valuable and important exercises with other responsibilities such as taking the kids to after-school activities, catching up on errands, or personal obligations. In the rush to complete a daily “to do” list, we’re also more likely to skip meals, eat the wrong foods, and suffer from sleep deprivation. In general, the majority of us have experienced living this unhealthy, fast- paced life at one time or another leaving the body and mind to function with a “wired and tired” feeling.

Repetition of this pattern can quickly escalate to adrenal fatigue and a sense of depletion, depression and overwhelming imbalance. Our daily overload of stress, be it our perception or truth, holds the body’s “fight or flight” stress response engaged. This causes an interference with digestion of food for energy and a hormone balance.

Many health problems are caused by stressors in our environment including the foods we eat, the air we breathe, and harmful electricity and radiation from electronics. Some of the many symptoms include constipation/diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, arthritis, all infections, high blood pressure, heart disease, anxiety, allergies, asthma and migraines. Also, emotional stress can contribute to many health problems. All stress is linked to higher levels of inflammation and pain, according to research conducted at the San Francisco VA Medical Center and the University of California San Francisco.

Is it possible to avoid stress or alter the stress response so that what we think, feel and do will cause less harm? The good news is that Mother Nature provides us with natural solutions such as nutrients, B-vitamins, essential fatty acids (quality fish or cod liver oils) and herbs that provide nerve relaxant benefits as well as adaptogens that help our body deal with stress. Adaptogens, such as the herb Ashwaghanda, can help the adrenal glands balance whether they are functioning too high or too low. According to Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, when a quality product is taken regularly under the recommendation of a health professional, improvement can be experienced in from one to eight weeks.

Experienced practitioners also recommend homeopathy and Bach flowers to assist with calming and or energizing the central nervous system.

Herbal solutions that can help with stress

Kava (Piper methysticum)

This plant is native to the South Pacific and used therapeutically to bring about a sense of calm and well-being. It is used to treat restlessness, anxiety, sleep problems (insomnia) and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis)

Since the early days of Greece and Rome, Valerian was prescribed as a medicinal herb to treat insomnia. It was used to treat nervousness, trembling, headaches and heart palpitations.

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

This is an adaptogenic herb because it acts in non-specific ways to increase resistance to stress without disturbing normal biological functions. For centuries, Rhodiola root has been used worldwide in traditional medicine. It enhances mental clarity and cognitive function.

Ginseng

Also an adaptogen, this popular herb is capable of protecting the body from physical and mental stress and helping bodily functions return to normal. It is a recommended remedy for people who are frequently fatigued, weak, stressed and affected by repeated colds and flu.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

This herb, with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties, has a long history of being used as a medicine. In ancient Greece, it was used for a range of illnesses, including various "nervous disorders." St. John’s wort is one of the most commonly purchased herbs in the United States for treating depression. It is believed that hypericin, in St. John’s Wort, helps to raise the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain to improve mood.


Diane KusunoseThis information is solely for informational purposes and is not intended to provide medical advice.

Diane Kusunose is a Licensed Physical Therapist and a Biofeedback Therapist. She is the owner of Insights For Natural Balance, 5825 Avenida Encinas, #107 in Carlsbad. For more information, call 760-420-5210 or email [email protected]. Visit NaturalBalancing.com.