Alleviate Stress With Adaptogens
Season 2, Episode 8 is here!
Says the great Stephan Hawking, “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” We live in an ever-changing, hyper-stressful world, therefore we must tap into the intelligence of adaptogens if our health, happiness, and longevity are of any interest. The EmPOWERment Couple has harvested some medicinal grade info regarding the alchemical capacities that adaptogens possess on safeguarding the body from the deadly effects of stress. Mother Nature has gifted us her roots, leaves, and fruit, so that we may continue to power on without burning out.
In this stress releasing episode, we will forage for:
- The body’s 3 stages of the stress response
- The long term effects of stress
- Understanding how adaptogens work within the stress response
- An overview of the various adaptogenic herbs, mushrooms, and fruit
- How to supercharge your supercharged adaptogens
We know that you are busy doing what you need to do. We also know that you are not a machine. You are not designed to work more than you play. The EmPOWERment Couple has declared a state of emergency for those of us who battle stress on the constant. Adaptogens are the vaccine for a stress-filled life. So, breath, take a break and steep in the love we prepared for you.
Today we are going to talk all about adaptogens. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions but they’re having a nice revival in use and thankfully supplement companies are coming out with great adaptogenic blends to help us all combat the stress of being a human in this strange time on Earth.
Before we jump into the various types of adaptogens, let’s first focus on the universal reason why using adaptogens is important.
We researched the top seven causes of death in the US. We chose to list the top seven because the number seven is an angelic number. As you review the list, take note that they all have one thing in common. Can you figure out what it is?
- Heart disease
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases
- Alzheimer’s disease
Now, what do all of these causes of death have in common?
They are all made possible by STRESS.
Imagine carrying around a bag of poison with you, and a few times a day, every day, you take a teaspoon or two. The dose isn’t enough to kill you immediately, but enough to keep your body in a constant state of dis-ease. This poison causes your body to work harder than it should, sleep less than it needs to, and absorb fewer nutrients to name a few. This poison works so well that eventually you don’t even know that you are taking it, and yet, it works tirelessly at reducing your health and happiness until the dis-ease turns into a chronic disease.
We have covered the topic of stress on the body in our Prevention episode in season one. To summarize, stress on the body causes the endocrine system to secrete the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is your flight or fight hormone.
Cortisol isn’t a bad hormone, it’s great at keeping you safe when dodging shitty drivers, dealing with violent people, and outrunning the neighbor’s loose dog. In small doses, cortisol has the ability to cycle out of the body, however, we live in stressful times.
Paying bills, parenting, working for money and not for joy, driving in traffic, keeping up with the rapid changes in social media….YIKES! The list of daily stressors is long and quite frankly, is stressful to list, so we will end it here. The point is, that we are causing our bodies to secrete more cortisol than the body can handle. While cortisol has its benefits, too much of a good thing can kill you.
When our bodies are stressed, we add insult to injury by self-medicating. We drink too much, eat too much, smoke cigarettes, pop prescription pills, develop addictions, and refuse to exercise.
Cut to…one or more of the previously mentioned self-medication will lead to one or more of the previously mentioned top 7 causes of death.
Here is some important information about stress that we didn’t share last season. Here we go, let us introduce Hans Selye, a medical doctor, and researcher, at McGill University in Montreal. He observed that the body goes through 3 physiological changes when exposed to stressful events. The Alarm reactions stage, the resistance stage, and the exhaustion stage.
- Alarm Reaction Stage: The alarm reaction stage refers to the initial “fight-or-flight” response. This natural reaction prepares you to either flee or protect yourself in dangerous situations. Your heart rate increases, your adrenal gland releases cortisol, and you receive a boost of energy increasing adrenaline
- The Resistance Stage: After the fight-or-flight response, the body begins to repair itself. It still releases cortisol, but it is at a much lower amount. This allows your heart rate and blood pressure to begin to normalize, but remain on high alert for a while. Your body begins to repair itself while your hormone levels, heart rate, and blood pressure regain its optimal, pre-stress state. Unfortunately, because we find ourselves in prolonged stressful situations, our bodies are not permitted to rest and repair, and therefore, they remain on high alert. Eventually, our body will adapt and learn how to live within higher stress levels. This is not a good thing. It is at this stage, that the body goes through some negative chemical changes to cope with the chronic stress, that for the most part, goes undetected. Your body thinks that it is under attack and continues to secrete high doses of cortisol and adrenaline, which keeps your blood pressure elevated. You may think you’re managing stress well, but your body is working double and triple time, just to keep up. The body is strong and can hold out for a while. However, at some point, your body is producing more cortisol and adrenaline than it can process, and at that point, it goes into the 3rd stage aptly named the exhaustion stage.
- The Exhaustion Stage: Resulting from prolonged or chronic stress, your once strong and healthy body struggles to keep up with the most basic of tasks. Your body’s physical, emotional, and mental resources are drained and you no longer have the strength to fight stress. At this point, your strength and vigor are replaced with exhaustion and hopelessness.
Again, looking at the top 7 causes of death, each and everyone can trace its roots back to stress. So, how do adaptogens fit into this conversation? According to Dr. Leslie Korn, a Harvard Medical School trained traumatologist, “Adaptogens are like a mini vaccine, and appear to inoculate us to stress and help us cope.”
So simply put, it may be impossible to ward off stressful situations altogether, we can tap into the power of Mother Nature to offset the dangerous effects of prolonged stress on our bodies.
The term adaptogen was first coined by Russian scientist Dr. Nikolai Lazarev in 1947, during the Soviet search for natural and safe remedies to increase the resistance to biological stress. However, the use of adaptogens dates back to several ancient civilizations. Many of the fad energy drinks and power pills will tap into the power of one, or more adaptogens, but in most cases, the quality and quantity will be in serious question. With that said, we recommend connecting with a holistic practitioner who can properly diagnose and treat you.
Now, most, if not all of the following adaptogens are available at a quality health food store and can be purchased without a prescription. But please, please, please, don’t go and snatch up a bunch of adaptogens and try to self-medicate. Each has its own unique use, dose, and complication, so do your research and consult your health practitioner first.
We purchase all of our adaptogens from Thrive Market. Thrive carries organic and natural food, vitamins, pet food, clean self-care, and a lot of adaptogenic supplements. Best of all, you can shop from the comfort of your couch and within a few days, they will be waiting for you on your doorstep. Nice and easy. Our special offer with Thrive is 25% off and a free 30-day trial. Use this link to get the discount today.
You are welcome and we love you.
There are more than a handful of adaptogens out there. I would go so far as to say that there are some out there, say hidden in the depths of our rainforests, that are equally powerful, if not more so, than the known adaptogens that we are about to list. This is even more of a reason to give a shit about our planet, recycle, reuse and reduce, and give to charitable institutions that are fighting to save this precious resource. If we love Mother Earth, she will love us back!!!
The Top 24 Adaptogens:
We will briefly cover how each adaptogen works. We could do an entire show on each and every adaptogen due to its almost magical effect on the body. But, the focus of this show is to steer you in the general direction and let your journey take you, and your health practitioner where you need to go.
- Amla /Indian Gooseberry. Amla has been used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, and scientific studies confirm its many health benefits. Very high in vitamin C and other antioxidants, and has been studied in regards to the treatment and prevention of cancer and has been shown effective against diabetes and high cholesterol
- Ginseng. There are 4 types of ginseng and each type has unique properties and will therefore have a targeted effect on the body.
- Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha has many similar benefits to ginseng. It is a powerful antioxidant that is beneficial to the cardiovascular, nervous, endocrine, and immune systems.
- Astragalus. Astragalus has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is sometimes used directly for wound care. It might also have antiviral properties and has been used to strengthen the immune system.
- Bacopa. Bacopa is also known as brahmi or water hyssop. Several studies show that Bacopa has the ability to regulate cortisol levels during stress, and further, to improve cognitive performance in those facing chronic stress.
- Bilberry. Bilberry can be used for urinary tract problems. It can also be used for the respiratory, reproductive, and endocrine systems. Both the leaves and fruit are used. The berries are high in antioxidants and can be used for eye disorders.
- Cordyceps. This adaptogen is a medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries to enhance immune function.
- Dang Shen. Also known as codonopsis, dang shen is one of the adaptogenic herbs said to strengthen your ability to defend against high levels of stress, anxiety, trauma, and fatigue.
- Elderberry. Elderberry is high in antioxidants and Vitamin C. Studies show it can reduce fevers and support the immune system.
- Eluethero root. Eleuthero is used to help reduce the body’s stress response. It also strengthens the immune system and increases endurance and stamina. It is also sometimes called Siberian Ginseng.
- Goji berry. Also known as Lycium and Wolfberry Contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory carotenoids, flavonoids. It supports healthy vision and healthy bowel flora. It is also said to support the liver, kidney and can strengthen weak muscles and ligaments. Lycium polysaccharides support the immune system and have been shown to enhance the effects of chemotherapy and radiation
- Guduchi. Used traditionally for thousands of years in Ayurveda in India for its detoxifying, rejuvenating, immune-boosting properties. It has been studied for cold and flu prevention, immune support, skin disorders, arthritis, liver disorders, gout, and even to mitigate the negative effects of chemotherapy
- He Shou Wu. This herb used in traditional Chinese medicine has neuroprotective properties, and is used to treat the liver, kidneys, and blood, improve energy, and has been said to even reverse gray hair.
- Jiaogulan. This has a popular name of “the immortality herb”. Also known as gynostemma, it’s a Chinese plant in the cucumber family that has been used for several thousand years. The leaves are used to make tea. Studies show that this herb has many of the same benefits as Ginseng. It has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar and improves immunity
- Lions Mane. Lion’s mane mushrooms may enhance the immune system, partly by reducing inflammation and preventing oxidation.
- Licorice root. Licorice root can affect blood pressure and should be used only under the supervision of a doctor. It has been shown to increase energy and endurance in addition to boosting the immune system. It is used for stress reduction. Licorice root protects the thymus gland (which produces T cells for the immune system) from being damaged by cortisol, the hormone that is elevated due to stress.
- Maca. Maca is known as “Peruvian ginseng,” although it is nothing like ginseng. It is a root that reportedly increases strength, stamina, and libido.
- Reishi. Reishi mushrooms are the most well-known medicinal mushrooms. They can help in the treatment of fatigue, respiratory complaints, cancer, heart disease, and liver ailments. They are also regarded as general immunity boosters.
- Rhodiola Rosea. Rhodiola is used for a wide range of issues, including like most adaptogens, strengthening the immune system. It is also used to restore balance in blood sugar and helps with fertility. It boosts alertness, lessens fatigue, and combats depression.
- Schisandra berry/Magnolia berry. Schisandra protects the liver from toxins and is used for respiratory problems. It can also improve memory.
- Shatavari. This herb is considered the queen of herbs. It’s used as a tonic primarily by women. It is believed to increase fertility. You can read more about the symptoms it is used to treat here.
- Suma. Suma can be purchased in a capsule form or as a dried herb powder. People often refer to suma as Brazilian ginseng. It is commonly used to boost energy. It is used to prevent fatigue and boost immunity.
- Tulsi/Holy basil. Holy basis is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial and one of the mildest adaptogens. It has been used for 3000 years to treat circulatory, immune, and nervous systems. It has also been used in cancer treatments with success. Holy basil also helps with memory and concentration. Studies show that it helps the body maintain stabilize the stress hormone cortisol.
- Turmeric. Boosts brain function and reduces depression.
These are most of the known adaptogens.
What we find fascinating is that we have been using these medications for thousands of years, and yet, when most Americans think about medication, we tend to envision some obscure chemical blend, pressed into a pill or capsule. What I find equally fascinating, is that most of the big pharma companies have profited off of creating a synthetic formula, based on a blend of the previously mentioned adaptogens. Can we skip the middleman and get the medicine straight from the source?
Yes, and every single time, it’s cheaper, safer, and more effective at helping your body function. Can pharma make money off of these things? No, because people won’t pay $300 for turmeric because you can grow turmeric in your garden. You won’t be a lifetime customer of big pharma for things available in nature. I came across an article doubting adaptogens because modern science hadn’t proved all the things that ancient cultures had been using them for. As adaptogens continue to gain popularity in the West, small and big companies alike continue to hire private labs to conduct research on the quality and effectiveness of adaptogens as medicinal herbs. Whether it be new or ancient research or Western or Eastern text or what is referred to as modern science, the verdict is unanimous: adaptogens are clinically-proven to be a safe and effective way to reduce stress and improve general health.
When reviewing the adaptogen list, we see that the medicine is extracted from different parts of the plant. Some are from the root, like ginseng, some are mushrooms, some are from the leaves, others are from the bark or fruit. Our question is, how many generations did it take for any one of these adaptogens to get discovered and properly dosed? Pharmaceutical companies have only been around for 350 years or so. Whereas adaptogens have been around in Chinese Functional Medicine and Indian Ayurveda medicine since ancient times.
There are a few things to think about before you go off and begin to self-medicate. First, as stated earlier, consult your healthcare practitioner before you begin any new health regimen. Have a discussion about any pre-existing conditions, current prescription medications, the use of over-the-counter medications, drinking alcohol, smoking, the type of lifestyle, and possible allergic reactions that may occur.
Herbs and roots are very powerful and can interact in negative ways with your prescriptions. So, always review these with a professional. Also, many of the listed adaptogens are slow-moving medicine. Some may take 3 to 6 months for you to see a profound change, while others may have the desired effect within a few hours of taking it.
When we researched the topic of natural stress relief, we uncovered more than a handful of great therapies that anyone can tap into. Most of them we covered in previous shows. We love to connect you our Pod fam with free medicine such as sex, laughing, hugging, touch, sound, meditation, dancing, singing, and deep breathing with our inhale happiness episode.
What we didn’t cover is the use of CBD. We are in contact with some industry professionals regarding the use and benefits of CBD and are planning a show based on this emerging trend. But, I did find an answer to a question that I had which was, CIs CBD considered an adaptogen?
The answer is no, but kinda. Adaptogens have a strong effect on the endocrine system. The endocrine system is basically the chemical production glands located throughout the body. These glands, such as your adrenal glands, the pituitary gland, and your reproductive glands, are balanced, cleansed, stimulated, smoothed, and healed by the various adaptogens that we listed.
CBD, short for CannaBiDiol, is one of the many cannabinoids, or chemical compounds, found in marijuana and hemp. CBD affects the endocannabinoid system, which has a strong effect on the endocrine system. So again, it’s kind of an adaptogen, because it has such a strong effect on the endocrine system, but because CBD connects to an entirely different system, it officially isn’t an adaptogen.
But, when used together, under the professional guidance of a holistic practitioner, it can act as a powerful 1,2 punch against the deadly effects of stress.
So, to summarize, stress is bad. It will kill you in one way or another unless you take active approaches to reduce and mitigating stress. Listen to our free medicine episodes if you have not done so. If you have, go through and find the free medicine that speaks to you the most. Season 2 is already becoming loaded with great ways to reduce stress and live your most beautiful life. Connect with your holistic practitioner and see which of the listed adaptogens can help your body return to homeostasis.
We will continue to do our research on the benefits of CBD so that we can serve up yet another way to live your most beautiful life.
Until then, laugh, hug, have delicious sex, get grounded in nature, listen to uplifting music, drink good water, and breathe good air. Our listeners have repeatedly thanked us for recommending the Intellipure air purifying system and providing them a generous discount. If you have not yet taken advantage of this stunning machine, follow the link in the show notes, snatch up the 10% discount using code Zuri and treat your family to the healthiest air you can get.
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Stress is a nasty multi-headed monster responsible for the deaths of many of our loved ones. Protect them and yourself by educating yourself. Use this podcast as a means of awakening to the power of love and healing found in nature. Share this with your friends and family members. And please, gift us a review so that we can continue to serve you love.