Stress Free Summer with Adaptogens
Ah, summer time. In the blink of an eye, our favorite teas have gone from hot to iced, the trees have become greener, and the days have become longer, seemingly leaving us with a bit more time to ourselves. Whether your summer is business-as-usual or you’ve got a bit more time away from routine, there is no better time of year to sit back, reevaluate our lifestyle, and reconnect with nature while it flourishes for these limited months of the year.
Throughout the year, most of us experience stress from the often over-stimulating combination of work, school, family, health, finances, and social life, etc. all trying to function and succeed daily. The American Medical Association shows that 95 million Americans experience a health problem caused by stress every week. Dr. Aviva Romm, midwife and practicing herbalist, links stress to a common difficulty to find the balance between saying “yes” to opportunities and overextending ourselves both personally and professionally.
Have you ever felt like you have a motor in your chest? Do you self-doubt? Do you get short tempered or pick a fight with a loved one? Do you experience shallow breathing or tense shoulder? If this sounds like you, your body is trying to tell you that it feels overextended. These symptoms are your body’s “Fight or Flight” response to stress, pumped out of the adrenal glands. These stress responded increase our body’s level of Cortisol, a naturally occurring hormone, which can lead to osteoporosis and osteopenia.
It is important to note that stress isn’t all bad. Stress can be a motivator to reach great success in our lives. It can motivate us in our daily lives to reach deadlines at school and work. Ever heard of the classic story of the mother lifting a car with her bare hands to save her child trapped underneath? That’s healthy stress, which fills her body with adrenaline to have abnormal strength and energy. After all, nothing in life is black or white, all good or all bad, but it is all about finding balance. Find the motivating power of healthy stress, and listen to your body when it sends signals of overextension.
The answer to those symptoms of stress can be found in simple lifestyle changes. Keep to a sleep cycle of 7-9 hours a night and organize your days mindfully, allowing for Ultradian Rhythms. These daily rhythms call for 20 minutes of rest in between 90 minutes of active work. These allow the body frequent rest and rejuvenation in short bursts, to avoid long stretches of uninterrupted stress that lead to heavy crashes.
Most importantly, make time for self-care. The way we feed our body is how we nourish not only our physical body, but also our mind and soul. We are surrounded by an abundance of herbs in our world called Adaptogens, which help us reduce stress symptoms and improve our mindset in a natural way. According to Dr. Aviva Romm, Adaptogens are natural herbs that help us address the root of our energy crisis: adrenal imbalances. Adaptogens are a special class of herbal medicine that have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Scientist Israel Brehkman from the former Soviet Union brought Adaptogens into modern medicine by scientifically researching and using these herbs starting in the 1940s.
Ashwaganda, an adrenal soother, is the king soother for people who feel “tired and wired” and experience muscle tension and anxiety. At Passiflora, we carry this as an herb. We recommend boiling it in with a glass of almond milk, cinnamon and molasses as a warm drink before bed. This soothing drink is also a great support for thyroid health. In fact, Ashwaganda is one of the only herbs proven to stimulate and re-regulate the thyroid.
Maca, an adrenal nourishing powder improves mood, lowers depression, and increases vitality. It is especially great for women as it helps settle hormone imbalances. At our Passiflora Café, we carry a delicious and nourishing Cacao Maca Chia smoothie, a blend of coconut milk, yogurt, cacao powder, maca powder, chia seeds, bananas, and agave.
Holy Basil, or Tulsi, is another excellent, drinkable adaptogen to nourish your adrenals. Tulsi increases energy, lowers fatigue, and decreases Cortisol levels. It also soothes depression and helps with a bright and healthy mindset. Leading herbalist and ethnobotanist, David Winston, even uses Tulsi as a natural antidepressant in his clinical practice. At Passiflora, we offer Tulsi as a loose herb that can be blended into just about any tea. Our favorite is taking equal parts Tulsi and peppermint over hot water for a fresh, nourishing, and vitalizing tea.
Rhodiola, an uplifting adaptogen, calms the spirit with stress reduction and softens the feeling of being overwhelmed. This type of adaptogen helps us target the effect of stress on our mood and our personal relationships in life. Rhodiola is an excellent support for the immune system as well. In Siberia, Rhodiola’s native land, people would take Rhodiola during long, wet, winters, to prevent sickness. At our Passiflora Herbal Shop, we carry Mega Foods Supplements Adrenal Strength capsules which contain Rhodiola, to be special ordered online.
If you’re looking to reduce stress, create or re-organize your adaptogen and herbal supplements, consider setting up an herbal consultation with Karen. Her mission is to allow your mind and body permission to pause and create a self-care strategy that suits your lifestyle. For more information contact Karen at email@example.com.
We owe a warm embrace of gratitude to Mother Earth for providing such abundance for centuries that helps clear our minds, heighten our energy, and equip us with the positivity to live the best life we can live, even under 21stcentury stress.
Happy Stress Free Summer to all!
-Dr. Aviva Romm Podcast “Natural MD Radio”
– David Winston and Steven Maimes, “Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief”