Stress is something that effects us all at some point or another. There are many types of stress. Many have potential physical and mental health risks.
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
Lifestyle changes such as proper nutrition, exercise, and a full night’s sleep will be the best way to combat stress- in a perfect world. When that isn’t enough, supplements are a cost-effective way to manage your stress. Herbal therapies for stress management date back to ancient times in Chinese medicine and with good reason. Modern science and research also supports the use of many herbal therapies for stress.
What are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are unique plants or herbs that can support adrenal function and balance the body’s stress response in a non-specific way. The herbs in this article are all considered adaptogens or meet the criteria of adaptogenic qualities.
Ashwagandha is an herb that belongs to the Solanaceae family. It is also known as Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry. Hilariously enough, Ashwagandha (named in ancient times) translates as “smell of horse” for two reasons. The first is the fresh roots have the scent of a horse. The second reason is when consumed, the person may develop similar strength and resilience as a horse. It is specifically known in the scientific community for its cognition promoting effect. This proves to be useful when combating neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzeimer’s (1). This root is made into supplements that are thought to have various positive effects on the human body including a boosted immune system and increased energy (2).
Rhodiola rosea, also known as arctic root or golden root, grows in cold, high-altitudes of arctic areas- mostly in Europe and Asia. It has been used for hundreds of years in traditional Russian, Swedish, French and Icelandic cultures. Many still use rhodiola supplements to improve mood and decrease the symptoms of stress and burnout in their day to day routines (3, 4).
Millions of Americans suffer the negative effects of poor sleep every day. Poor sleep can have severe health consequences, lowering your immune system, energy levels and productivity. Melatonin, also known as an the sleep hormone, naturally occurs within the body- the brain specifically. When released before bed, it helps the body relax and fall asleep. An extra boost of melatonin through a supplement can help regulate the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle. Research suggests that melatonin supplements can help you fall asleep faster when taken before bed (5). It is one of the first lines of treatment for primary sleep disorders and can potentially improve a person’s quality and quantity of sleep (6, 7).
CBD is a catch-all for managing stress and is predicted by experts to be the number one supplement for pain and stress relief in 2019. It is the non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp plants. Its been studied in reducing some of the major causes of stress including:
- Chronic pain and inflammation
- Sleep quality and quantity
It is unclear how CBD works exactly because it stimulates multiple biochemical pathways through the body’s vast system of endocannabinoid system. It is typically derived from hemp despite rumors and stigma associating it with marijuana.
CBD Oil use is continuing to rise with the increasing amount of research showing its amazing potential health benefits- particularly with pain, mood and stress.
Is CBD oil safe?
Yes, in fact its use in medicine dates back to ancient times.
To date, there is no evidence of public related health problems associated with CBD use, including substance abuse potential, according to one report published by the World Health Organization.
Another 2017 study states that CBD safety is established in a number of ways throught published clinical trials.
What is CBD used for?
CBD is used world-wide to relieve pain and other chronic conditions. It is often used as adjunct or complimentary therapy. Chronic pain and other ailments include:
- Nerve Pain (9, 10)
- Muscle Pain
- Joint Pain (11)
- Migraines (12)
- Anxiety and Depression (13, 14)
- Nausea (15)
What to look for when shopping for Supplements
Picking out the right non-prescription pain relief product can be tricky considering the wide variety of options available and the lack of regulation in the supplement industry.
All supplements and products have unique benefits but there are criteria and certifications that you must be on the look-out for when choosing a product:
- CGMP certification- these are current good manufacturing practices established by the Food and Drug Administration.
- Organic Certified
- Free of pesticides
- Free of heavy metals
- Optimal for absorption
Here are some optional things to look out for:
- Gluten Free
- Third-party testing for purity
Stress will look and feel different on each person therefore the therapy for stress will be different as well. Trying out different methods and seeing which ones work the best for you and your life style is key. Supplements are a cost-effective way to manage stress but there are other options as well including but not limited to:
*Complementary or Alternative therapies such as
- Massage Therapy
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
- Physical Therapy
*Natural Supplements- These might include:
- Essential Oils
- Supplements (like the ones listed above)
*Prescriptions Medications- Anti-depression, anxiolytic or other medications are available with a prescription and can be very effective in cases of severe stress or mood disturbances. However you should always consult your physician about this option.
Lifestyle Changes- These changes are some of the most effective ways to combat stress. Changes to consider include:
- A good night’s rest
- Proper Nutrition
- Healthy coping mechanisms such as exercise or a creative outlet
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