Randy Buresh (Registered Nurse and Herbalist), is the co-owner and founder of Oregon’s Wild Harvest. Oregon’s Wild Harvest grows, harvests and produces their own medicinal herbal products, many of which use the herbs grown on their certified Biodynamic® and Organic farm in Sandy, Oregon. www.oregonswildharvest.com
Now more than ever we are learning that stress may be a leading cause of health-related problems. It is estimated that 75 to 90 percent of all visits to doctors are in some way related to stress. While stress may be a fact of life, more than 50 percent of Americans report living with high levels of stress. High levels of stress, it seems, are simply part of the American lifestyle.
The many different forms of stress include biological, chemical, environmental, nutritional, physical, psychological, and spiritual. In most cases, we are all subjected to one of the above. A stressor can threaten normal body functions; chronic stress can wreak havoc on the adrenal glands and immune system.
There are many plants that provide nutritional support to the adrenal glands and neuro-endocrine system, and have a long history of traditional use to help support the body during stressful periods. One group of herbs that deserves special attention are the adaptogenic herbs. The Great Equalizers. Adaptogens help recharge the body’s adrenal glands, and subsequently increase the body’s resistance to physical, emotional, biological and emotional stressors.
Like the name suggests, adaptogens help the body to better adapt to the conditions it experiences. Adaptogens are unique in their ability to help balance endocrine hormones and the immune system, helping the body to achieve optimal homeostasis. Adaptogens have been used for thousands of years to restore balance to the interconnected and often delicate nervous, endocrine and immune systems. They are also known for increasing stamina and countering common effects of aging.
One of my favorite adaptogenic herbs is ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote good health and well being. It is one of the few calming adaptogens and is helpful for reducing insomnia, anxiousness, bad dreams and nervous exhaustion. It's a great herb to provide nutritional support to the older adult population, improving sleep, yet providing energy and stamina for their daily activities.
There are actually several adaptogens that are great for helping us adapt to our hectic lifestyles: Holy basil, licorice, astragalus, ginseng, cordyceps and rhodiola.
So along with a healthy (organic, if possible) diet, good clean water and plenty of exercise, ashwagandha will complement even the most busy lifestyle.