How Herbal Supplementation Can Lower Stress Levels

Webster’s definition of the human body details “a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole”. 


This “wholeness” does not simply refer to the sum of our component parts, rather the dynamic interrelation between them which creates the balance required for us to lead happy, healthy lives with low stress levels - this balance is known as homeostasis.


We live in a time of unprecedented pressure and as such the effect on our lives, both professional and personal, is uncharted territory. With all this at play it’s fair to say that our collective stress levels are higher than ever before, and as a result our all important homeostasis will be getting knocked about as we are forced to adapt to our ever changing environment. 


Good news, we’re here to help! But before we get onto the how, let’s talk about the why… 


Deep inside that beautiful brain of yours are millions of structures which constantly monitor your homeostasis, making tiny adjustments as and when they are needed to maintain the dynamic equilibrium. All of this is overseen by your hypothalamus, which in turn distributes hormonal messages via the neuroendocrine system to the rest of your body through the adrenal glands. 


The neuroendocrine system’s main job is to keep us safe by identifying danger, manifesting in the well documented “fight or flight” response. In animals, this kicks in when they are being chased by a predator and engages their sympathetic nervous system, then subsides when the threat has passed and the parasympathetic nervous system takes over, lowering the stress levels dramatically as the calming hormones flood through. 


Unfortunately as humans our brains tend to operate a little differently, and whilst animals revert to a state of blissful calm quickly, we can live in a constant state of “fight or flight” with our sympathetic nervous system permanently engaged, due to the breakneck speed we tend to live our lives nowadays. 


Living in a state of constant stress like this plays havoc with your homeostasis, and unsurprisingly can lead to mental and physical health problems in the long term. So if you’re reading this and are thinking it applies to you, now is a better time than ever to take a step back and make those all important changes.  


So now the how, and for that we gladly look toward nature for the answers… 


In the plant kingdom there are a group of herbs called adaptogens, and although they have been used in traditional medicines for thousands of years, the group terminology was only applied in the mid 20th century. Later, in the 1960’s, Dr Israel Brekhman defined adaptogens as plants that have “a normalising effect on the body, helping restore normal physiological function that has been altered by chronic stress”. 


They include slightly more obscure herbs such as Ashwagandha, Bacopa and Codonopsis, and closer to home things such as Liquorice, Rosemary and Sage. All of them are known to support your adrenal glands, promote homeostasis, reduce fatigue and increase cognitive function, even during periods of stress. Beyond that they have positive effects on your immune system, the health of your brain, reduce inflammation, promote better sleep patterns, and also make your hair and nails healthier. The list of benefits goes on and on.


Whilst CBD isn’t itself classified as an adaptogen, its effects on the human body are so similar it could very well be grouped together with them. 


We realise that heading into a health food store and searching for supplements can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you are an inexperienced shopper without the correct guidance. Which is why here at Horus Health we have done the research so you don’t have to, ethically sourcing only the highest quality products which you can include as part of your daily routine.  


We know we can’t avoid stress completely, but we can control the way we react to it when it does arise, and that is absolutely crucial as we all strive to live happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives. 

 

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