More and more people have recently reported feeling stressed. A survey found that more than 80% of people reported having emotions associated with stress, including feeling anxious, sad or angry.
It’s no wonder… Just normal things, like mounting bills and debt, news and politics, the economy, work overload and relationship issues can all make you feel stressed. We all know not every source of stress in life can be avoided, especially those related to major life events, like the death of a loved one, divorce or starting a new job.
However, it’s the smaller everyday stressors that can cause the most harm and make you feel like you’re stuck in a cycle where you…
Feel anxious and have trouble sleeping at night.
Experience “brain fog” or difficulty remembering names and appointments.
Feel tired and fatigued during the day.
Can’t resist eating sweets and junk food.
Find yourself overusing caffeine and other stimulants.
Don’t have the energy (and motivation) to get things done.
Stress weighs on your mind and takes a toll on your well-being. Pretending it doesn’t exist isn’t the answer. Like a monster lurking just beneath the surface, you may not notice the physical effects of stress right away. But eventually you will see and feel its impact on your well-being.
Prolonged stress can harm both your physical and mental health.
The Many Unseen Effects of Stress on Your Body
Stress can affect your body in many ways, from disturbing your sleep to impacting your mood, memory and even your sexual energy.
It can raise your risk for cognitive issues as much as three-fold.
Most importantly, your body’s defenses – your immune system – and other important bodily functions can’t work properly when you’re stressed.
And the degree of stress doesn’t even need to be severe or chronic to have these negative effects. Much of what you feel when you are stressed is linked to your adrenals – your “glands of stress.” These two important glands are located just above each of your kidneys.
Part of your endocrine system, your adrenal glands are the number one key to overall hormonal, metabolic and thyroid health.
Your adrenal glands secrete more than 50 hormones that are essential for your well-being. Three key ones include aldosterone, which helps regulate your blood pressure and blood volume, adrenaline, and cortisol, your body’s stress hormone.
When your body detects anything stressful (real or not), whether it be physical, emotional, mental, hormonal, biochemical, inside or outside your body, your adrenal glands mobilize your body’s stress response by releasing cortisol.
A rise in cortisol leads to a “fight of flight” response, which turns on your sympathetic nervous system.
While cortisol is important for your body’s functions, too high of levels and too frequent fight-or flight responses can…
Create an imbalance in your hormones and brain neurotransmitters, potentially leading to poor sleep, headaches, occasional feelings of anxiousness and moodiness.
Impact your blood sugar, energy, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Contribute to faster cellular aging and body pain.
Impair your immune response to threats.
Lead to weight gain and increase in fat storage (belly fat is often a telltale sign of too much cortisol).
Because of its potentially harmful effects, it is vitally important to break the cycle of stress to give your body a chance to rest and reset.
Understanding How Your Body Manages Stress
The good news is your body has a system to help it manage stress from any source, whether it be from an injury or disease, a work or relationship issue, lack of sleep or poor diet.
This system is your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal, or HPA, axis. You need proper balance among all the parts of this axis to enjoy optimal adrenal and thyroid health, as well as:
Your HPA axis controls the release of many hormones. When exposed to a source of stress, it can become dysfunctional and not perform properly. In the past, this was referred to as “adrenal fatigue” or “adrenal exhaustion.” It was long thought that the problem was with the adrenal glands and their ability to make cortisol.
While still controversial, researchers believe so-called adrenal fatigue may be due to a dysfunction in the brain signaling portion of the HPA axis – the hypothalamus and pituitary – and not the adrenal portion of the axis.
No matter the cause, your adrenal glands continue to work under adrenal fatigue but cannot maintain normal function.
Over time, adrenal fatigue can lead to issues with your metabolic health. You may notice increasing muscle wastage or experience issues with your blood sugar, immune health and inflammatory response.
Knowing that, what can you do to help your body – and your adrenal gland – better manage and recover from the effects of stress? I recommend a whole-body approach that includes regular exercise, healthy eating, meditation, yoga and a tool known as emotional freedom technique (EFT).
However, when you find yourself trapped in a cycle of stress, these types of stress management techniques may not be enough for you to find the calm you need to help your body rebalance itself in a prompt enough manner.
There’s a special class of natural agents called adaptogens that can provide the extra help you may need…
The Magnificent Power of Adaptogens
Imagine an herb that gives you both an energy boost and helps you relax at the same time, while also helping to maintain harmony in your HPA axis…
That’s the definition of an adaptogen – a special substance that helps restore or balance the normal functions of an organ or system to help your body deal with stress and support healthy immune function.
The term “adaptogen” was first proposed in 1940, and by 1969, was refined and expanded to include four criteria. To be an adaptogen, a plant had to be…
Able to reduce the harm caused by stressors like fatigue, environmental effects, disharmony in relationships and mood.
Effective at increasing the body’s capacity for managing stress, starting with the first use.
Balancing and stabilizing for the body’s functions.
Be completely safe and cause no negative side effects.
Finally, as research continued over the next half century, the US FDA, in 1998, came up with its own definition of an adaptogen:
A new kind of metabolic regulator that has been proven to help in environmental adaptation and to prevent external harms.
However you define them, adaptogens can be a boon to a stressed body and mind by supporting healthy normal adrenal gland secretion and minimizing the destructive effects of stress on your body.*
Certain herbs can help boost your strength and stamina, and help you feel more energized to deal with life’s demands – and everyday stressors.
And when you are able to resist the harmful effects of stress, you help strengthen your body’s systems and support your nervous system and adrenal health. By regaining balance, you can benefit from both greater energy and endurance as well as calm and focus.
While all adaptogens help reset and balance your body’s stress response, each has its own unique effects on various systems.
What makes adaptogenic herbs special is they contain multiple beneficial components that work synergistically to promote wellness. So, when you combine more than one adaptogen, you can end up with truly powerful effects.
Let’s take a close-up look at the first of four of my favorite adaptogens for stress…
“Purify” Your Mind, Body and Spirit with Holy Basil*
Highly revered in India for over 5,000 years for its protective and uplifting nature, Holy Basil, or Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), is an herb long-favored in Ayurvedic medicine – an ancient holistic practice.
In fact, Tulsi is one of the herbs in an Ayurvedic herbal formula called Ayush Kwath, which is recommended by the government of India for supporting immune health.*
Holy basil is a flowering plant in the mint family and contains hundreds of beneficial phytochemicals with many health-promoting properties. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and other phytonutrients, such as flavonoids, saponins and triterpenoids.
As a powerful adaptogenic herb, holy basil has been shown in studies to lower stress in humans and animals.*
In one animal study, stressed subjects were given isolated extracts from holy basil. Positive effects were seen in the subjects, including helping to maintain healthy, normal levels of substances seen in high-stress situations, such as cortisol.*
Earlier, I mentioned how stress may increase certain individuals’ risk for cognitive concerns later in life.
Another study suggests a daily dose of 300 mg holy basil may offer not only a protective benefit but also additional support for your cognitive health when under stress.*
So, how does holy basil help your body deal with stress?
Researchers have found that ursolic acid, found in the leaves of the holy basil plant, along with other important anti-stress compounds, help maintain normal levels of the stress hormone corticosterone – and cortisone – in your blood.
Plus, holy basil supports your brain’s neurotransmitter system, which consists of chemical messengers that are involved in cognitive function, mood, sleep and bodily functions, such as blood pressure and heart rate.
“King of the Herbal Kingdom” and India’s Most-Loved Herb
There’s an herb known to be so effective at supporting you through challenging times that some experts have suggested it might be the only nutritional supplement you’d need for stress if stuck on a deserted island.
While I don’t know how true that statement may be, I can say that ashwagandha has been hailed as a regenerative and daily tonic for centuries.*
Ashwagandha is a small, evergreen perennial herb that grows to about two feet tall.
Also known as Indian ginseng, winter cherry or Withania somnifera, ashwagandha is widely considered the “King of the Herbal Kingdom.”
Referred to as rayasana in Ayurveda, it’s considered the number one go-to herb in India’s traditional herbal practice.
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha helps your body and mind adapt to stress. It supports your brain, nervous system and adrenal health, and it helps enhance your energy supplies and memory.*
This in turn helps your body deal with internal and external stressors and supports your immune function.* Ashwagandha, revered for its stress-reducing effects, works by promoting healthy levels of cortisol and maintaining the normal balance of other hormones.*
Clinical studies show that supplementing with ashwagandha can significantly reduce stress levels as well as help your body become less reactive to stressors.*
In a double-blind study of 64 adults, the group receiving ashwagandha root extract experienced the following benefits, compared to the placebo group:
Lower serum levels of cortisol*
Improved scores on tests measuring stress and overall well-being*
Feeling more relaxed and mentally calm*
Improved sleep quality*
Improved interactions with others*
A “tremendous” improvement in quality of life*
What accounted for all these effects? The researchers believe they are a result of ashwagandha’s ability to regulate serotonin, an important neurotransmitter, and the stress hormone, cortisol.*
How Ashwagandha Helps Balance Your HPA Axis
Ashwagandha is a complex herb with many phytochemical constituents. It contains one of the broadest ranges of phytochemicals of any herb.
While ashwagandha’s two most important bioactive constituents are alkaloids and withanolides, Ayurvedic experts believe the potential benefits of the roots come from a synergistic effect of all of its many components.
One of the most exciting discoveries about ashwagandha is that it increases an important antioxidant in your body called glutathione, which is essential for healthy cell development and your body’s detoxification processes.*
Known as the “master antioxidant,” glutathione is especially needed for cells and tissues that come into frequent contact with free radicals and experience lots of wear and tear.
As you age, glutathione levels in your brain decline, as well as the blood flow to the central part of your brain (your hippocampus). These two conditions create a “perfect storm” for damage to your brain cells.
In a recent rat study, researchers found they could raise levels of glutathione in rats’ brains by feeding them withanolide – one of the key components of ashwagandha.*
Because glutathione is a key antioxidant protector that helps guard against the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS), ashwagandha with its naturally occurring withanolide may help support your brain cells.*
Researchers attribute ashwagandha's calming properties to its potential cognitive health benefits. Stress and poor sleep quality all affect how your brain works, so by helping your body reach a state of calm, your cognitive function experiences positive effects.*
And because ashwagandha helps ease mental and emotional stress, it may also help improve mood.*
Rejuvenate with the “Queen of Herbs”
Used throughout history and in India’s traditional Ayurveda practice, Shatavari, or Asparagus racemosus, is a nourishing, rejuvenating tonic for both men and women.
It was first discovered in 1799 and quickly became one of the essential Ayurvedic herbs and a key ingredient in many Ayurvedic formulations. Also known as the “Queen of Herbs,” shatavari is a powerful adaptogenic herb that supports overall vitality as it helps your body cope with emotional and physical stress.
Traditional uses of the roots of the shatavari plant include support for reproduction, heart health and circulation, healthy nervous system health, hormonal function and a myriad of other uses.* Shatavari is believed to have a nourishing, grounding effect on the body.
Shatavari contains many phytochemicals that include saponins known as shatavarins, oligosaccharides, mucilage, isoflavones, alkaloids, rutin, quercetin and sitosterols.
In addition to phytochemicals, the roots contain vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids – all of which contribute to its health-promoting qualities, which include support for the following functions in your body:*
Nervous system health*
Balanced hormone function*
Reproductive health and fertility*
Mood and stress management*
The Original Adaptogen – “Five-Flavored Berry” Schisandra
Also known as Chinese magnolia vine, schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) was the very first herb to be named an adaptogen by Russian scientists in the 1940s.
Schisandra chinensis is a plant that produces flowers and small, deep red fruits. The plant’s berries are famous for their five distinct flavors: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and pungent.
Traditionally, the fruits have been used in both Chinese and Russian traditional practice for fatigue and promoting overall well-being. For their use in Russian traditional practice, the fruits are air-dried and then extracted with ethanol. *
According to the Chinese traditional practitioners, schisandra is considered beneficial to Qi, or the life force or energy found in all living things. It’s believed to have a positive effect on several meridians, or energy pathways, in the body, including the lungs, heart and kidneys.
The major components of schisandra appear to be its lignans – more than 30 different types. Present in the fruits at high levels, they are very different from other lignans.
The lignans in schisandra are structurally unique and active by themselves. Some of them act as antioxidants and may offer protection to the nerves and liver.*
One of the most important groups of antioxidant lignans in schisandra are the schizandrins. This group is responsible for a wide array of beneficial cellular actions.*
Schisandra has been found to lower cortisol in studies, and it supports healthy stamina and endurance.*
A group of individuals received 120 mg of a schisandra extract after intense exercise, which led to a 200% decrease in cortisol. Lower cortisol levels can help your body recover faster, build lean muscle quicker and may even help you burn fat more efficiently.
Through its activity on signaling pathways in your cells, schisandra may help improve your mental performance when under stress.*
Help Manage the Harmful Effects of Stress with Herbal Adrenal Support
We formulated our Herbal Adrenal Support to provide not only all four of these important herbal adaptogens but also standardized quantities of some of their most valuable stress-relieving constituents, including…
Organic Holy Basil Leaf Extract, standardized to 6 mg Ursolic Acid
Organic Ashwagandha Root Extract, standardized to 3.7 mg Withanolides
Shatavari Root Extract, standardized to 37 mg Saponins
Organic Schisandra Fruit Extract, standardized to 3 mg Schizandrins
With Herbal Adrenal Support, you can enjoy the fast-acting benefits of true adaptogens and their most important constituents.
In no time at all, you’ll feel more relaxed and noticing fewer effects from daily stress. And you’ll soon be experiencing better sleep quality, more energy and focus, a positive mood as well as a healthy metabolism and immune function.
Rediscover Calm and Balance Today with Herbal Adrenal Support
With the help of these four exceptional, time-tested adaptogens, you can quickly find calm and balance through the challenges of everyday life.
Herbal Adrenal Support can help you break out of the cycle of stress and feel…
Relaxed and able to sleep more soundly.*
Refreshed and alert in the morning and throughout the day.*
More energetic and motivated to get things done.*
In greater control of your eating with fewer unhealthy cravings*
Sharper, more productive*
Don’t let stressful times get the best of you. Order Herbal Adrenal Support today, and start living the balanced life you deserve.