Earlier this year, we explored the 7 Pillars of Health. One thing that sort of weaved it’s way through each of the pillars, unintentionally, was the impact that STRESS is having on our bodies. For example, we looked at how stress is potentially affecting our sleep hygiene, and our mental health. And, whilst each month I proposed a challenge or two, to help get our seven pillars back in line, I’ve had a lot of feedback regarding how I can help with stress in a clinical setting.
Being a Naturopath/Nutritionist for over twenty years, I have many tools in my tool kit to help with stress, some of which I have already shared in previous blogs. One thing I can use to help stressed out clients are my herbs. I can make individualised herbal formulas for my clients, specific for their needs, and what their body and mind are crying out for.
So, let’s talk about one of my favourite classes of herbs. Now, just like a parent I know I shouldn’t promote favourite categories or specific herbs…… Nevertheless, I would love to introduce you to adaptogens
Just as the name suggests, adaptogens help us adapt to stress. And in this day and age, most of my clients are under stress of some form or another. Not just stress from work deadlines or social commitments, but other forms of stress. Environmental stress from toxin overload, physical stress from the demands of their fitness goals and pursuits, even cellular stress in the form of our genetic gifts from our parents and grandparents. All this stress adds up, and it all manifests in our bodies differently. For example, some people when they are stressed will get terrible tension headaches, others may get heart palpitations, whilst someone else may get lethargic and fatigued.
When I introduce adaptogens into a herbal mix for a client, I want to look at what they need. Do they a bit of a push to help them over a hurdle, do they need some help coming back down to earth and silencing the adrenal alarm bells? I need to consider what physically is happening to the client as a result of stress, and what herbs may best help remedy that sign and symptom as well.
There are so many wonderful adaptogens to choose from, and they each have different traits for different types and styles of stress. Some adaptogens act like a general tonic for our adrenals. The adrenals are two endocrine glands that sit on top of our kidneys; they are responsible for making ‘stress’ hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. A general adaptogen tonic can help tired and frayed adrenals, and get them back into check. This week on my instagram I’ll be showing you some of my favourite adaptogenic herbs.
So no doubt, after reading this blog you’ll be rushing out the door to your healthfood store to grab a bottle of Ginseng or Withania. Before you do though, I just want you to consider two things:
1. What is actually causing my stress, and what can I do to mitigate it first?
If you’re unable to remove the stressor, I.e can’t quit your job, or the stress is actually training for an Ironman, then;
2. Would I benefit from a tailor made herbal formula that encompasses all my quirks as an individual? By all means, I know not everyone has access to a Naturopath or Herbalist, but consider your needs and health goals before buying the giant discounted tub of supplements from Mr Vitamins.
This month I am going to leave you with the challenge to have a look at your life, and see what stressors you can Marie Kondo out of your life. It might mean asking another parent to do a ride share for your kids once a month, or getting your groceries delivered. It could be as simple as only having two coffees a day (caffeine effects our adrenals, and acts like a stressor to them), instead of your usual four. Make some time in the next week to write out all the things that really stress you out, and see if there is a way you can delegate, share the load, or cut it from your life.
Come and find me on Instagram and tell me how you are going..
Image : instagram.com/drinkgoldthread