Restoration Health

When Your Stress Handling System Gets Stressed

Our bodies are designed to manage stress no matter what form it comes in. Whether it’s an internal stressor like gut inflammation or an external stressor such as your current tax bill, you should be more than capable of helping you manage whatever stress comes your way as long as you can keep it in check.

Under normal circumstances, your brain sends a quick signal to your adrenal glands, telling them to release a stress-management hormone known as cortisol. This powerful hormone helps you get through a particularly stressful moment and then allows you to resume whatever you were doing beforehand without consequence. But when the stressful moments become more frequent, turning into long-term life-events, lasting for days, months, or even years, the signal from your brain has to adapt. So instead of sending just a quick signal to your adrenal glands, your brain turns up the volume and makes the signal much louder and more frequent to ensure there’s plenty of cortisol to help you out.

But here’s the problem. Your adrenal glands (and your body) can’t work that hard for that long. The increased amount of cortisol leaves your adrenal glands gasping for air, similar to a runner going non-stop for months or years. In short, your body becomes stressed because of stress. As your brain continues sending the signal for more and more cortisol, the end result is never good. Insomnia, anxiety, irritability, weight gain, hormone disruptions, thyroid problems, bloating, constipation, and fatigue are just some of the symptoms that can ensue. Not a very desirable outcome.

One of the best ways we’ve found to help your body deal with stress a little more efficiently is an herb known as ashwaganda. Classified as an adaptogenic herb because of the way it helps your body adapt to stress, ashwaganda helps calm you down and improve the way you instinctively react to stress. So instead of feeling panicked when you remember that you didn’t do something super important, you’ll notice that your response is much more mellow and in control.

But it’s important to note that not every product with ashwaganda in it will provide this benefit. The phytochemicals in the plant that exert this effect are known as alkaloids and they must be at the proper level for it to work effectively. A high-quality herb with the right amount of these compounds will make you feel much more calm, focused and able to manage what life throws your way.

This herb is one of our top five favorite herbs to use for stress. Our patients LOVE the way it makes them feel. If you are feeling the effects of stress and want to start feeling better, let us know and we’ll see if ashwaganda might do the trick!

Ronda Nelson

Ronda L. Nelson, PhD, MH is a holistic nutritionist and master herbalist who started Restoration Health, Inc. to help support and restore optimal health for those who are looking for alternative options with regard to their overall health and well-being.

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