Best herbs that help you deal with daily stress


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Best herbs that help you deal with daily stress

  2. 2. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 2
  3. 3. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 3 Table of Contents Preface....................................................................................................................................................xi Part 1: What is stress and how does it influence people? 1: A short description of “stress” ......................................................................................................... 5 2: How does the body respond to stress?.................................................................................................6 3.:What happens inside the brain during stressful periods? ................................................................. 7 4: Can stress be helpful or is it all bad?................................................................................................. 7 5: The link between stress and memory .............................................................................................. 8 6: The difference between male and female response to stress……………………………………………..…………8 Part 2: Herbs that help you cope with stress 1: How can plants help with daily stress? ........................................................................................... 9 2: Adaptogenic herbs ....................................................................................................................9-10 3: Tonic herbs………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…………10 4: A little something about other plants that help with stress…………………………………………………..…10-12 5 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………12-13
  4. 4. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 4 Preface This book is offered by the BR Publishing team which is composed of individuals specialized in the area of nutritional supplementation that includes ingredients, manufacturing processes, and ways in which they affect the human body with both positive and negative sides. Description We often hear people tell others that they’re too “stressed out” or that some activities are “stressful,” but some have never stopped to actually understand what stress is and how it can be stopped from negatively influence one’s life. The major problem is that every time a person is stressed by something, he/she tries to run away from it and finishes in a vicious circle in most of the situations. For example, a person who’s fat is constantly reminded about this feature and in the majority of cases ends up eating more due to being overly stressed by this constant reminder. So, how does one stop this vicious circle and recover from a stressful event that is energy consuming? With the help of this book, we’ll try to give an answer to this question by appealing to a natural way of dealing with stress which is represented by herbs. However, keep in mind that a healthy diet, a balanced exercising program and having outdoor activities are key features in maintaining a stress-less life or help the organism recover from some stress exposures that include job tasks, exams, family events and so forth. So you should pay attention and decide whether these options suit you or not, you lose nothing by trying!
  5. 5. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 5 Part 1: What is stress and how does it influence people? 1. A short description of “stress” Stress is a term that was introduced in 1935 by the Hungarian endocrinologist Hans Selye. Since then the term received many shapes and forms, and people mostly tend to interpret it thorough their personal lives. This is why most of the people who are stressed usually become more stressed due to the fact that they don’t seek to solve their problems, but prefer to blame their unhappy lives and bad decisions on their stress levels. It is often described as being a normal physical response to certain events that determine a person to feel upset or threatened in some ways. This is mostly because the body senses a danger created in the mind of the person which reflects as an automatic and rapid process, known by the name of “flight-or- flight” reaction. This is in fact the body’s way of offering protection because it makes the individual alert, energetic, and focused. Due to this, the stress response of the organism can save one’s life on some occasions. However, considering the old saying “A stitch in time saves nine,” people with stressful lives should try to change some areas in order to become more energized, happier, and capable of following their school or job schedule without having to go through hell for it.
  6. 6. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 6 2. How does the body respond to stress? Another important thing people have to understand about stress is its impact upon the brain which, in some situations, can be irreversible. This is why we’ll try to explain in a way anyone can understand what are the processes behind stress and why the influence is often viewed as being negative, particularly when stressful activities are constant. Let’s begin the explanation by taking a normal situation. Imagine that a person gets stuck in traffic and hears the ambulance siren screaming which alerts of the necessity of moving the car at that particular moment. However, it is highly difficult to do so since the traffic is way over one’s sight. This is the moment in which the individual begins to feel stressed because a decision has to be made, but the obstacle directly interferes with the logic decision. What happens inside the body at that point? The first thing that occurs is described with the help of the next paragraph: "Attention all parasympathetic forces. Urgent. Adrenal gland missile silos mounted atop kidneys have just released chemical cortisol weapons of brain destruction. Mobilize all internal defenses. Launch immediate counter-calm hormones before hippocampus is hammered by cortisol.” This means that some hormones are sent to adrenal glands in order to suppress the cortisol which is going towards the brain while other hormones go directly to the brain so they can round up the amount of cortisol that managed to get to the hippocampus. Afterwards, these hormones take the cortisol back to the kidney so it can be eliminated in the end. After this situation has passed or the individual perceives it so, the brain does a reverse course of action by releasing various biochemical within the organism. In the idea of reaching balance in the body, the brain searches for “homeostasis” which is the state between the tranquilization and stimulation. However, if during this process one of the other states dominates the other, the person experiences an internal imbalance known by the name of stress. This imbalance has a negatively impact upon the brain cells. The relaxation response is offered by the parasympathetic nervous system or PNS while the fight or flight response is due to the sympathetic nervous system or SNS. The responses are directly linked to the hormones that are produced in the endocrine glands which travel to the bloodstream in order to suppress or accelerate the metabolic functions. In comparison, SNS dominates over the PNS which makes it more difficult for an individual to reach a metabolic equilibrium by initiating the metabolic response.
  7. 7. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 7 1. What happens inside the brain during stressful periods? The first region of the brain that deals with stress is the limbic system. This system possesses a big influence on memory and emotion and is usually called “emotional brain.” Another word by which it is referred is “mammal brain” due to the fact that it marked the start of social cooperation within the animal kingdom. When a threat is perceived by a person, either imagined or imminent, the limbic system automatically responds through the autonomic nervous system which is a complex network made of endocrine glands which regulates metabolism. Some sources state that the term “stress” comes in fact from the word “distress” which mean “to draw or pull apart.” After the danger passes, the organism tries to go back to normal. Unfortunately, this transition gets more difficult as age passes. While the hyperactivating sympathetic system acts immediately, its effects are rather slow. A thing that should be kept in mind is that after the stress response was activated, the system continues to keep the individual in a prepared state for other potential dangerous. 4. Can stress be helpful or is it all bad? According to most sources, stress is not entirely bad. This is because a normal stress response represents a necessary and healthy part of life. Furthermore, during this state, the body releases norepinephrine which is one of the main excitatory neurotransmitters. Norepinephrine helps by enhancing mood and it’s required for the creation of new memories. Furthermore, it determines people to feel more challenged which often leads to an improvement in the creative department and brain stimulation into making new connection. This is why people have to understand that stress management, not stress elimination is the key to a balanced life and that the challenge is to avoid letting the sympathetic nervous system remain into a chronically aroused stage. Another interesting positive influence of stress is linked to the immune system. There was a study made by Ohio State University which points out that the stress which comes from a memory task actually activated immune system. On the other hand, the source of stress is rather important because on the same study, they discovered that the stress that came passively from watching a violent movie did the opposite and weakened the immune system. During this study, the immunity of the people was measure through salivary concentration from SlgA. Furthermore, the results revealed that, while troublesome, stress from deadlines can be beneficial.
  8. 8. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 8 5. The link between stress and memory The problem with stress is that while it’s not all that dangerous, when it’s not properly managed it can easily destroy some of the bodily areas which can later extend to some medical diseases. One of these areas is the memory. This happens because the chronic over-secretion of hormones affects cognitive functions, particularly the memory. Because of this, too much cortisol may prevent the brain from creating a new memory or accessing old ones. Furthermore, periods of sustained stress may damage the hippocampus which is a region of the limbic brain directly connected to memory and learning. While the adrenal glands release adrenaline, after persisting threats or worrying, it will eventually begin to release cortisol. Once this has reached the brain, it affects brain cells and stays there for a much longer time than adrenalin. Moreover, the stress hormones divert the glucose in the blood towards exercising muscles which means that the amount of energy that reaches the brain is highly diminished. Because of this, an energy crisis in the hippocampus is created and this leads to minimizing the brain’s potency of creating new memories. If you think about it, this may be the reason why some individuals are unable to remember a traumatic event and elder people who led a life full of stress have a bad short-memory. 6. The difference between male and female response to stress One of the main behavioral differences between females and males is the way in which they respond to stress. As UCLA researchers found, men usually react to stress through a “flight-or-flight” response, while women manage their stress with a “tend-and-befriend” response. This means that women respond to stressful events by searching for social contact or protecting their young. The “fight-or-flight” response refers to the aggressive behavior determined by a stressful situation. This is why most people react through either verbal conflict or drastic situations after they were exposed to any type of stressful activity. On the other hand, the “tend-and-befriend” method means that the individual tries to do other social activities as a way to surpass stress. These include talking to relatives, asking for direction, seeking comfort in people one trust and so forth. Professor Taylor explained this feature with the following comparison: "When the typical father in the study came home after a stressful day at work, he responded to stress by wanting to be left alone, enjoying peace and quiet away from the stress of the office; when office-related stress was particularly acute, a typical response would be to react harshly or create conflict with his wife or children. When the typical mother in the study came home from work bearing stress, she was more likely to cope with her bad day by focusing her attention on nurturing her children.”
  9. 9. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 9 Part 2: Herbs that help you cope with stress 1. How can plants help with daily stress? While there are a wide array of ways people cope with stress, from intense exercising to walking a dog in the park to having wild Las Vegas nights, herbs can help in this process as well. The point of using herbs is to help the body reach a state of relaxation faster in order to avoid prolonged periods of stress. Even though there are a lot of herbs suggested for stress relief, only some of them have been proven good through either enhanced utilization or scientific studies. Most of the herbs people see nowadays in natural supplements have been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. They are divided into three categories: tonic, nervine, and adaptogenic. The adaptogenic herbs help the organism adapt to stress by creating a balance within the nervous system. On the other hand, the tonic ones help the organism by strengthening organs as well as system in order to prepare it for stressful situations. Furthermore, these are capable of decreasing or increasing the bodily processes in a certain system. The last of these, the nervine plants are often utilized to heal the damage determined by stress while also combating stressful affection. These are more like sedatives that calm and relax the nerves while also stimulating the amount of bodily energy, thus improving one’s mood. For most of existing herbs there is more than only category that describes them. Furthermore, there are some that can be used for reducing illnesses, diseases and symptoms. To put it in simple terms, there are a lot of herbs that can help the body, either on specific regions or as a whole. Unfortunately, we can’t describe each one of them in detail since the space is limited, but on the next few chapters we’re going to focus on 6-7 of the most used and only mention the others. 1. Adaptogenic herbs As we’ve previously mentioned, adaptogenic is a property that improves the ability of the organism to resist to some type of stressors. The herbs that have this property positively influence the adrenal glands, which is the organism’s way to responds to emotional changes as well as stress.
  10. 10. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 10 While there are a lot of plants that presumably have this property, some of them are more popular than other. The top of the list in this category is Red Ginseng, also known by the name of Japanese, Chinese or Korean Ginseng. It is viewed as the “gold standard” of adaptogenic plants. Asian Ginseng or Panax Ginseng represents a tonic for the yang chi by traditional Chinese medicine. The reason is that it was given to people that showed yang deficiency, which translates through a weakness in constitution, voice, and muscles. Furthermore, people that are well muscled should avoid this plant due to the increased possibility of bursting into anger. In addition, there are several studies that point out the plant’s effectiveness when it comes to enhancing the ability of an individual towards stress resisting, as well as mental functioning and learning abilities. After some evaluations of this herb, researchers used two thousand people and discovered that consuming Ginseng in different forms such as dried, fresh, or cooked lowers the risk of developing cancer as compared to people that don’t consume it. Moreover, this risk appears to keep decreasing when the herb is consumed for enhanced periods of time like years. Other examples of adaptogenic herbs are Siberian Ginseng, Suma, Ashwaganda, Astralur, Licorice root, Reishi, Jiaogulan, and Schisandra. Even though some of them are less known and used, they often prove reliable for the organism. An interesting aspect is that modern medicine sometimes recognizes their beneficial properties. However, in most cases, they’re included in natural supplements either as a single ingredient or in some combinations. Keep in mind that it is important to do some research before deciding to follow a treatment that features a less known herb in order to avoid potential side-effects or counteractions with other medication. 3. Tonic herbs A tonic herb possesses the property of improving immunity, thus increasing the body’s resistance towards infections. Furthermore, these herbs should also reduce anxiety and stress by increasing cognitive performances as well as sleep quality. Additionally, they may balance digestion processes, which means that ulcers and indigestion are more likely to be prevented. Furthermore, they can as antioxidant and reduce the damage done by free radicals within the organism. Even though there are plenty of examples of tonic plants, they are specifically designed to target a bodily area from circulatory system to skin, skeleton, and muscles. Since the topic of this ebook is linked to stress, we’re going to present some herbs that affect nervous system. Some examples would be lemon balm, mugwort, motherwort, and black cohosh. Known as black snakeroot, black bugbane, fairy candle or Actae racemosa, black cohosh represents a flowering plant from the family Ranunculaceae. It generally grows in North America and people use it to prepare tablets or tinctures. These are mostly destined as a treatment for symptoms linked to menopause.
  11. 11. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 11 Another tonic herb is Astragalus which is viewed as one of the most important plants in the world. It has been utilized for more than two thousand years for its properties of strengthening the organism as a whole. Oriental people also believe that it possesses the ability to enhance metabolic functions as well as muscular system. Moreover, it positively influences the skin’s property of toxin elimination by relieving excessive sweating and having a mild diuretic action. Therefore, it represents a good solution for people that have poor immunity and often catch colds. However, further research is required in this area and there is no scientific evidence of its functionality, but most people recommend it as beneficial. 2. A little something about other plants that help with stress As we’ve mentioned earlier, some herbs can’t be characterized by a single category, but may be a part of two or all. This means that their positive influence extends within the entire organism and positively influences it as a whole, thus enhancing not only the nervous system, but also circulatory, skeletal, muscular, and immune. Throughout this chapter, we’ll present some widely-known herbs in order to let people decide whether they suit their desires and if they can be part of the treatment needed for improving their lifestyle and relieving stress. Gotu Kola represents an Indian herb that has been utilized for centuries in Chinese medicine for treating anxiety and depression. Other utilizations include fatigue and dysentery. During the treatment with this plant, individuals may also experience intelligence and memory enhancement. Furthermore, those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other psychiatric disorders can also consume it regularly, but only under a personal doctor’s surveillance. Rhodiola rosea is an herb from the Crassulaceae family. It is regarded as beneficial for treating a wide array of medical conditions that vary from cancer to fatigue. Furthermore, it seems to possess antidepressant effects, as it was pointed out by some studies. In most situations, the extracts are used from this plant. These are thought to help by enhancing mental performances, specifically concentration. A study conducted in Armenia in 2007 revealed that a dosage from 340 to 680 mg per day given to females and males whose ages range from 18 to 70 years can help treat mild depression. While there may be some side-effects noticed during the treatment, they generally occur if the daily recommended dosage has been exceeded which means that it is better to consult a doctor prior to consuming it. Magnolia bark supposedly provides a wide array of benefits. For example, there was a study done in 2009 that revealed the potency of this herb in producing anti-depressant effects. In comparison with diazepam, this plant can be used for treating symptoms of anxiety, but without the side-effects. Even though there isn’t sufficient information about the safety regarding the consumption of this plant, most of the sources state that it’s safe when the dosage is followed accordingly. However, some side-effects such as headaches, drowsiness, and nausea may be triggered throughout the process and in these situations, the treatment should be immediately stopped.
  12. 12. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 12 Schisandra or Magnolia Vine represents a genus of shrub that is generally grown in gardens. It is consumed due to its ability of enhancing resistance to diseases as well as stress. Moreover, it may prevent early aging and improve one’s lifespan by increasing energy levels and normalizing the sugar in the blood. Because it can also treat problems like insomnia, high cholesterol and asthma, it is viewed as a potential plant for relieving stress. It works in the organism by stimulating enzymes, hence speeding biochemical reactions. On the other hand, for some, it can cause certain side-effects during the consumption which include skin rashes, decrease in appetite, heartburn, itching, and upset stomach. Additionally, people that suffer from high brain pressure should avoid this plant because it can worsen their condition. Green tea is obtained from Camellia sinensis leaves and is originated in Chine. Throughout time it has become associated with numerous cultures from Asia because of its beneficial properties that make it one of the most popular teas throughout the world. In the past years, it was the subject of a large number of studies that were meant to determine its quality as well as direct influence when consumed in form of dietary supplement, beverage or as a part of some foods. Some sources state that it possesses health benefits in areas like cancer, cardiovascular system and nervous system. Additionally, it stimulates the fat oxidation while also boosting the metabolic rate with four percent without enhancing the heart rate. This herb is so good that there were even books written about it. The first one was “Cha Jing” or “Tea Classic” which was written between 600 and 900 AD and revealed secrets linked to the best sources of tea existing at that time. Afterwards, in 1191, the Zen priest Eisai wrote “Book of tea” which gives information about how drinking tea on a regular basis influence one’s health and how often it should be consume in order to have a real impact on one’s general health. There is no major side- effects linked to its utilization, but people shouldn’t exaggerate with it because it doesn’t do much good or instant good, as probably expected. 5. Conclusion We hope that this book taught you a little about how herbs can help with stress management and what type of plants should be consumed in order to have expected effects. However, we would like to stress out that the quantity taken on a daily basis is very important and if it exceeds the suggested dosage, it can do more harm than good. Although we don’t strongly recommend dietary supplements, some of them can be very useful, particularly if the person doesn’t suffer from a serious medical condition. In order to decide the proper amounts, people should either read the product’s labels or consult a healthcare provider before the decision to purchase any type of treatment is made. If you don’t trust the labels or feel that the doctor’s opinion is inaccurate, you can do more online research or seek books that can help you in this area. While the stress can be determined by a variety of factors, the most frequent are lack of sleep, testsm and deadlines either during school period or at the job. Therefore, drinking natural teas or consuming dietary supplements as well as any other variety
  13. 13. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 13 obtained from plant extracts doesn’t completely help with stress relief. Sometimes therapy is also suggested for a more enhanced stage of stress in order to help the individual manage it with proper tools. And above all, remember that overthinking and trying to avoid certain tasks that need to be made and only accumulate throughout time aren’t the best solutions for getting rid of stress, but only makes it worse. Go out, walk your dog, try to breathe some fresh air, play a video game and try to do something new every day! This way, stress will be only history and you will be able to enjoy life at its fullest as you always wanted!
  14. 14. © BR Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. 14 References