A young lady struggling with daily worry, feelings of being overwhelmed, insomnia and chronic fatigue comes to the clinic to find solutions. She quit her job as her ability to focus and complete tasks had become exhausting. Her food choices have been poor, extreme fatigue keeps her from working out and her sleep is disrupted. She has been to multiple specialists and has tried a number of different mood medications to help her feel better. Her stress level has been high for a while, stemming from being a single parent, financial crisis, weight issues, diffuse pain, recurrent infections and irritable bowel syndrome. She is on a downward spiral and this has affected her daily life and relationships.
’21st Century stress’ can force us into a life of multi-tasking, chronic stress, technology, lack of time, information overload accompanied with poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle and over-indulgence of other substances like coffee, sugar, salt, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, processed foods, drugs and alcohol. This chronic toxic stress and poor lifestyle leads to inflammation spreading like wildfire, setting the entire body ablaze, leading to eventual destruction and disease.
How Do We Regain Control of Our Health?
- Ashwagandha,Withania somnifera- (Indian Ginseng) ‘Fried’ or ‘reaching your limit’? This herb has shown to help balance stress. It can lower inflammation (CRP), dampen anxiety (noradrenaline and cortisol ), support memory and sleep. It helps down regulate the fight or flight, upregulate the parasympathetic system (acts like GABA and increases acetylcholine). It comes from the nightshade vegetable family (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, okra). Helpful with sleep.
- Holy Basil– (Tulsi) – acts as a mild relaxant, it’s leaves can be used to help people who are nervous and have frequent colds. It can support the liver and immune system. Easy to grow in your backyard, leaves can be used as tea.
- Asian Ginseng (Panax)- used for vitality, stamina, mental & physical performance.
- Siberian Ginseng(Eleutherococcus senticosus)- supports longevity, fatigue, muscle pain and immunity. Studies show increased endurance and mental performance in patients with mild fatigue and weakness.
- Bacopa- cognitive enhancer that preserves acetylcholine (supported by Vitamin B1, B5) that helps with memory, focus, recent recall by reducing the stress response.
- Rhodiola– helps with fatigue, exhaustion & inflammation. Studies show improved attention, cognitive function and mental performance in fatigue and in chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Astralagus– “Qi” tonic supporting stamina and resistance to disease. Boost immune function and decrease inflammation. Has a role in the mitochondrial function in muscle cells.
- Panossian A1, Wikman G.: Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Sep;4(3):198-219. Epub 2009 Sep 1.
- Alexander Panossian* and Georg Wikman: Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity.Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010 Jan; 3(1): 188-224.
- Pooja, A. S. Bawa and Farhath Khanum, Anti-inflammatory activity of Rhodiola rosea – “a second-generation adaptogen”, Phytotherapy Research, 23, 8, (1099-1102), (2009).
- S.K. Kulkarni and Ashish Dhir, Withania somnifera: An Indian ginseng, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 32, 5, (1093)
- V. Gupta, S. Saggu, R.K. Tulsawani, R.C. Sawhney and R. Kumar, A dose dependent adaptogenic and safety evaluation of Rhodiola imbricata Edgew, a high altitude rhizome, Food and Chemical Toxicology, 46, 5, (1645)