Stress can have an unbalancing effect upon the body, which can cause moderate to severe changes in our normal bodily function. Whether stress is acute or chronic we experience several symptoms, which affect not only our mind but our body as well. Acute stress causes symptoms of increased heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, agitation, irritability, lack of concentration, moodiness, inability to think and many more. Most of these symptoms will dissipate once the stress subsides however, if stress continues then these symptoms can progress causing mental and physical problems such as depression, obesity, cancer, heart disease, withdrawal and anxiety. The body can only protect itself for so long causing an irregular imbalance of chemicals and hormones within our system. Eventually our immune system can no longer stave off infection or disease. Herbs can strengthen the immune system and reduce the ill effects of stress and eliminate depression and anxiety.
Restoring and balancing our nervous system through nourishment can resolve imbalances within the body caused by stress. Herbalists have been restoring balance within the body for thousands of years through the use of herbs. Herbs are a safe and effective way to re-balance the body by supporting the adrenal glands during stressful times. Herbs have been used for thousands of years in both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine and are now being used more regularly for Western (US or American) medicinal purposes. Unlike traditional Western medicine such as medication or surgery, herbs work organically in the body to uplift the spirit and calm the mind and body. Although this seems contradictory, herbs are bidirectional, meaning they can work based upon the needs of the system, whether the body needs to be sedated or stimulated.
There are three kinds of herbal remedies that are able to reduce stress and anxiety. Adaptogens, tonics, and nervine herbs are all very useful in alleviating, reducing and relaxing the mind, body and spirit. Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress circumstances by balancing the nervous, hormonal and immune system. Adaptogenic herbs increase resistance to fight off stress and build stamina and vitality. Tonic herbs strengthen the organs and body systems. They nourish the tissues of the body, combat disease, increase immunity and enhance the quality of life. Tonic herbs can be used in preventing imbalances caused by stress. Nervine herbs heal the damage caused by stress and combat further stress influence.
Herbs can be in one or more of these categories causing a double or triple effect on the mind and body. Additionally many herbs have direct effects on specific systems of the body therefore reducing the physical symptoms as well as the mental stress. No one herb is a panacea. Each herb will affect every person differently, therefore finding the right herb or mixture of herb that works specifically for you may take some time. Each herbal remedy should be tailored to one’s unique condition and constitution.
The quality of herbs that you use makes a difference. In herbalism the belief is that the whole plant is better than an isolated extract and the fresher the herb the better. There are many methods of using herbs to get the desired affect, from the fresh plant (eating), dried to powder, tea infusions, decoctions, tinctures, oil liniment, tablets, capsules, creams, compresses, poultices, suppositories, and herbal baths. Herbal remedies are readily available at drug stores, health food stores and grocery stores. Although, making your own herbal remedy at home is not difficult. Proper dosing and recommendations should be followed strictly. If in doubt, ask a local herbalist.