Everyone is affected by varying degrees of stress and anxiety. Too much stress causes fatigue and is dangerous to health. Serious stress such as a job loss or death of a loved one can become life threatening. Herbs can help prepare the body for stressful times. Medicinal herbs can also help protect during times of stress.
Causes of stress include drug addiction, alcohol dependence, lack of sleep, overwhelming personal problems, depression, sudden change of lifestyle, allergies, chronic illness, mineral depletion, noise pollution, overcrowding, and poverty.
Symptoms of stress vary among individuals but may include losing interest in activities, creases in the forehead, clenched jaws, constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, weight loss, mood swings, crying spells, becoming short-tempered, tiredness, anger, insomnia, paranoia, panic attacks, anxiety, sadness, chronic head and neck aches, high blood pressure, lowered immunity, upset stomach, skin disorders, kidney malfunction, frequent infections, asthma, heart disease, mental problems, suicidal thoughts, and nervous breakdown.
The body is designed to handle stress but sometimes it needs help. Good nutrition is vital to controlling the harmful effects of stress. Protein and mineral rich foods are good choices for helping the body to overcome stress. Vegetables, whole grains, seafood, soy foods, fresh fish, carrots, brown rice, eggs, and sprouts can greatly benefit the body in stressful times. Adding brewer’s yeast, toasted wheat germ, sunflower seeds, and molasses to the diet is also recommended.
During times of extreme stress, it is good to support the adrenal glands with green drinks, calcium supplements, vitamin C supplements, ginseng and honey tea, astragalus, ginkgo biloba, or licorice extract. Other herbs to try include valerian, wild lettuce, bee balm, passion flower, catnip, rosemary, lemon balm, and chamomile.
Stress is immediately reduced when having a good laugh (watch a funny movie or search the internet for humorous jokes). Regular deep breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, aerobic exercise, listening to favorite music, visiting with friends, short vacations, creative hobbies, and celebrating family traditions can also bring relief.
If the workplace is stressful, learn to delegate some responsibilities whenever possible. The world will continue even if a few things are left undone. Learn to live in the here and now. You can’t change the past and the future has not arrived yet. Appreciate life as it is happening and worries will usually fade away. As they say, “Take time to smell the roses.”
Instead of coffee, try chamomile tea. Never eat on the run, while working, between meals, or while watching television. Mealtime should be a relaxing time so that food can be properly digested.
* Always consult with a healthcare professional before taking any herbal remedies especially when pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription medications.
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"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
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