Herb advice for relieving stress
As a herbalist I often concoct formulas for patients for anxiety and stress, mixing several specific ingredients that can work together to help them in my office pharmacy; these are based on their needs and my evaluation. There are certainly some singular herbs you can use on your own that may help take the edge off. Some of my favorites are:
Lavender and Geranium which is very soothing in a bath; don’t forget the relaxing music.
Chamomile tea with 2 slices of fresh ginger on the porch watching the horizon while taking in the fresh air.
Taking a stroll eating some frozen organic yogurt with added fresh berries sprinkled with cinnamon.
Tonics The Secret to Longevity and Increased Vitality
In Chinese culture ginseng has been considered one of life’s necessities for millennia. Millions of Chinese reach for the herb regularly. They believe it will slow aging, enhance sexual excellence, and prevent disease.
You may not be aware that there are many other herbs that are used for strengthening the body’s functions to keep us youthful and active when indicated. I have listed many of the ones I have incorporated into formulas over the years. In addition I have listed some endangered herbs.
The world of Ginseng:
1. Asian Ginseng (Korean, Red ginseng)- Is used as a natural preventive, restorative remedy and valued for its adaptogenic properties. Believed to be an anti-aging herb. By equalizing the system levels in the body, Korean Red Ginseng has been used to balance the metabolism, increase energy levels, and stimulate the immune system.
2. Red Ginseng (Panax ginseng)-The original one. A good metabolic regulator that seems to perk up your cells in a variety of environments, including some forms of cancer.
3. Fresh Ginseng– The raw product, its use is limited by availability.
4. White Ginseng (Korean)- Is an adaptogen having yang properties and an arousing and stimulating metabolic effect on the central nervous system, head, brain, and blood vessels. It may benefit blood sugar levels, histamine levels, stress levels, inflammation, mental and physical abilities, impotency, anemia, artery hardening, depression, diabetes, ulcers, edema, immune and lung function, appetite, libido and may offer protection against radiation exposure and easement of cocaine withdrawal. (North American type)- is believed to give a cooling effect to the body. This cooling, energy and, endurance enhancing factor is believed to be the most beneficial for our fast paced, stressful world.
5. Wild Ginseng– Rare and increasingly endangered. Requires years for a root to reach maturity. Often harvested prematurely.
6. American Ginseng (P. guinquefolius)- Good for fighting fatigue, *possibly* improving sexual performance, and improving cellular health in general. Because it has a cooler property I frequently use it in female formulas during the change of life. American ginseng, was at one time plentiful in all mountainous regions of the United States. However, it was over-harvested in the mid-1970s, and was subsequently defined as an endangered species. Now, only licensed ginseng harvesters are allowed to dig for the wild ginseng root.
Other Plants sometimes called Ginseng are also “adaptogenic”:
1. Codonopsis pilosula (poor man’s ginseng)-Used to boost the immune system; and may improve weakness, loss of appetite, chronic diarrhea, short of breath, noticeable heartbeat, asthma, cough, thirst and regulate sugar levels. has been used to help control HIV infection, as a cancer protective of the effect associated with radiation. Increase in endurance in athletes and promotes circulation. Can also help to maintain normal blood sugar levels and remove harmful fat; improving the function of the metabolic system. It has a cleansing action on the intestines and stomach leading to healthy bowel function.
2. Schisandra chinensis (five-flavored berry)-Increases resistance to disease and stress, increases energy, and increases physical performance and endurance. Also believed to prevent early aging and increasing lifespan, helps control blood sugar and blood pressure. Stimulates the immune system and speeds recovery after surgery. It also assists in controlling liver conditions and protecting the liver from poisons.
3. Gynostemma pentaphyllum (southern ginseng, jiogulan)-Believed to increase strength and stamina. Protects the mind and body against stress (mental or physical). A very potent health tonic. Has the largest amount of saponins which is what gives this herb its adaptogen ability ( four times the amount of ginseng). Popular because it has the ability to help you gain and lose weight. It has a balancing adaptogenic action; brings the body back to its normal weight. A powerful antioxidant content helps the immune system. Used to help normalize cholesterol levels. Stimulates the release of nitric oxide which relaxes blood vessels and therefore may help lower blood pressure. This is a popular herb for body builders because of its strength and endurance enhancing properties.
4. Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng)-Particularly good at allowing your body to cope with metabolic stress. Cellular regulator, and provides a sustained energy boost/improvement in physical performance increasing stamina. May help the body resist viral infections and environmental toxins. Research has shown specific effects that support the central nervous system, liver function and the circulatory system. Also praised for its ability to restore vigor, increase overall health, longevity, and stimulate both a healthy appetite and a good memory. It is widely used in Russia to help the body adapt to stressful conditions and to enhance productivity. Also called eleuthero root.
5. Psuedostellaria heterophylla (prince ginseng, Ben Cao Cong Xin,)- Believed to slow down aging, relieve fatigue, and enhance the body’s resistance. Research shows it has a significant stimulating effect to the lymphocytes. Its strong suit is that its healing properties are quite mild and stable therefore ideal for people who are suffering chronic diseases and are physically weak or require long-term medication.
6. Withania Somnifera (Indian ginseng, aswagandha)-Has a variety of neuroprotective effects, might improve some forms of cognition, and likely a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.
7. Pfaffia paniculata (Brazilian ginseng, suma)-Seems to improve physical performance somewhat, a few anti-cancer properties, and likely scavenges free radicals within the body.
8. Lepidium meyenii (Peruvian Ginseng, maca)- restores energy, improves vitality or sexual energy. A powerful aphrodisiac for both men and women. Effective for restoring sexual desire, and reinforces libidos. Also useful for frigid women and for men suffering from erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation.
9. Oplopanax horridus (Alaskan ginseng)- Ideal to assist with cough, colds, chest pain and upper respiratory infections. Anti inflammatory properties because it contains Stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol. Caution if you are diabetic.
Other plants referred to as ginsengs and may not be adaptogens (although notoginseng is in the genus Panax):
1. Angelica sinensis (female ginseng, dong quai)- I call it “female ginseng” because of its effectiveness for female problems. Helps with symptoms of pre mestrual syndrome (PMS) and menopause. It is a blood purifier that can help in management of infertility, joint pain, blood pressure, and in the prevention of allergy attacks.
2. Panax notoginseng (known as sangi, tian gi or tien chi; hemostatic ingredient in yunnnan bai yao)- Used to stop or slow bleeding. Can be taken for nosebleeds and other bleeding disorders.
It is best to consult with a trained herbalist to find out which herb tonics are best suited for you in a formula.
Chiropractic can help ease “The PMS Monster”
Every month a women goes through a series of changes that serve to prepare her for a possible pregnancy. She goes through a series of peaks and valleys in a 28 day cycle where her hormone levels are fluctuating. This is called a menstrual cycle. It is a natural physiological phenomenon. For some it can be like a “Monster” with physical and emotional pain. If these symptoms occur just prior to the onset of menstruation then she has pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
It is estimated that up to 90% of young women will experience some form of pain and other symptoms related to the menstrual cycle. Another 75% will suffer from various degrees of PMS during their lifetime. This is a considerable amount of suffering.
There are certainly many over-the-counter medications that can help relieve the pain. A chiropractor would rather you end the pain more naturally and without the side effects associated with frequent use of medications. Chiropractors evaluate primarily the pelvic region and associated structures for function. They then perform the necessary corrections that in turn reduce and relieve the pain.
In the Journal of Manipulative Chiropractic it was revealed that using a specific chiropractic technique referred to as the drop-table assisted adjustment can offer female patients more comfort. Clinicians assessed and treated 13 patients who reported ongoing symptoms related to their menstrual cycle (average of 12 years). Over two menstrual cycles, subjects received three treatments per cycle, specifically adjusting spinal restrictions in the lumbosacral spine and pelvis. Most patients responded favorably to the treatment, with notable reductions in back pain and even abdominal pain.( Stude, D.E. The management of symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. JMPT, 1991, 14, pp.209-216).
Finally the spine protects the nervous system that controls the reproductive system (hormones) which is vital for optimal function. If there is dysfunction which can cause interference of the nervous system, this may impact the function of the organs. Chiropractors remove nerve interference which restores the optimal function of the reproductive system.
There are numerous herbs, spices and teas and many other natural substances that can be utilized to help with weight control. Some of my favorites include: Green Tea which contains a class of compounds called catechins. These are antioxidants that have been associated with an increased metabolism and the ability to stimulate fat burning. Gymnema Sylvestre helps control the sweet tooth. Reshi Mushrooms which I frequently use in my athletes herbal formulas. This mushroom builds strength and immunity to fight fatigue. The way it helps with weight control is if you are feeling strong and energetic it is much easier to stick to exercise and eat healthier. The famous Ginseng can boost your drive and increase metabolism. This is an interesting combination, black pepper combined with red pepper (if your taste buds can handle it?) may block the formation of fat cells and can burn extra calories. Another favorite is ginger it has an appetite suppressant effect with thermogenic properties. Ask your friendly herbal pharmacist for the best herbs and spices for your weight loss program.
Instead of resorting to opioids and other addictive pain killers consider some of these natural safe effective substances that can control pain and inflammation:
Type of pain substance is best suited to target
Anti-inflammatory; fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Neuropathic pain
Chronic joint pain, Arthritis
Pain associated with migraines, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, increases effectiveness of acupuncture pain treatment
Osteoarthritis pain, Rheumatoid arthritis, pain with stiffness
White Willow Bark
Knee and hip Pain
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis
Muscles, TMJ, Connective Tissue Injuries
Auto Immune Disorders
Facial Pain result from cold, sinusitis, abdominal pain
**Some of these may need to be combined, for best results. You may need to seek professional advice.
Herbs can strengthen the spine and disc
In addition to the Chinese, American Indians, Greeks, and Middle Eastern cultures used herbs, roots, and plants to assist overcoming physical ailments. Many cultures rely heavily on natural remedies. Even in modern day India, much like Traditional Oriental Medicine in China, the practice of Ayurvedic Medicine and herb therapy prevails over Western medicine.
The uniqueness of Chinese herb therapy is the art of combining herbs to make a concoction not specific for the spinal pain but to the individual and the cause of the spinal pain. It is this aspect of Chinese herb therapy that focuses on the cause of the spinal pain and not only the symptoms.
Some Favorites that you can incorporate into your healing regime include:
1. Tumeric, “Tame the Pain”-
2. Ginger, “Achy Change of Weather Type Pain” –
3. Kava Kava, “Relax the Muscle Tension” –
4. Eucommia, ” Those Aching Joints in the Back” –
5. Ox-Knee Root, ” Spinal Pain resulting in Weak Knees”-
6. Ramuls Mori, ” Pain and Swelling”-
7. Dan Gui, ” Degenrating Disc”-
8. White Willow Bark, ” Alternative to Apsirin”
9. Grapple Plant, ” Helps abate Connective TIssue Degeneration”
10. Liorice Root, ” Cortisone Impersonator (without the side effects)”
There are many other herbs that can assist spinal conditions. Herbs are best used in a custom formula made specific for the individual and the presenting condition.
Stress creates imbalances
A chiropractic adjustment can help you manage your stress more efficiently and more effectively. One proof of the effects of particularly chronic stress is prolonged muscle tension. This creates imbalances and pressures on the structures of the body that leads to misalignments of the spine and other joints. These spinal distortions can eventually lead to many other conditions, in addition to pain. Chiropractic adjustments correct these distortions and, in turn, reduce spinal nerve irritation, improve nerve flow, release muscle tension and allow your body to return to a more resilient state. These changes can be enough to allow your brain to turn off the flight or fight response when it is not needed. They also strengthen your body physically as well as mentally to deal with the stress.
Your Choice- Medication, Foods, Herbs, Supplements & Lifestyle
Most medical doctors will suggest anti-inflammatory or analgesic medications to help ease the pain caused by the monthly menstrual cycle. There is certainly some evidence that over-the-counter medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen can reduce these symptoms.
There are many more natural remedies and lifestyle choices you can make that are effective for controlling PMS. Some of them are preventative and others have been shown to help while the symptoms are occurring.
Lifestyle changes that can help ease the symptoms of PMS
1. Exercise regularly each week
2. Eat a healthy diet such as fruits, vegetables, seaweed and whole grains
small amounts of lean hormone-free meats, fish (salmon, mackerel)
3. Avoid cold temperature foods, commercial red meats and poultry that may contain
hormones and steroids, salt, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol
4. Try to get 8 hours of quality sleep each night
5. Find heathy alternatives to cope with stress such as yoga, qi gong, meditation, talking
friends, exercise, reading
6. Do not smoke
Vitamins and minerals that can help relieve PMS symptoms
1. Folic Acids (400 micrograms)
2. Vitamin D and Calcium (depends on age)
3. Magnesium (400 milligrams)
4. Vitamin B-6 (50-100mg)
5. Vitamin E (500IU)
Individual Herbs and Herbal Formulas
1. Traditional formula: Classic Modified Merry Life Formula and Cool the Blood Formula
4. Rasberry Leaf
5. Burdock root
6. Lemon Balm
Consider this important detail
Embarking on your weight loss journey. Remember to consider this important detail. If you are overweight your posture adapts to the extra weight often changing the center of gravity of the weight bearing joints. Resulting in extra stress on the joints leading to joint increased joint pressure, distortion, dysfunction and maybe even pain. This can make you more prone to injury when initiating your new weight loss exercise routine. On the other hand as you shed the extra pounds your center of gravity changes and therefore that also results in extra tension on the joints predisposing you to joint injuries. It is prudent to seek out someone who specializes in joint function and the mechanics of the Neuro-musculoskeletal system to remove whatever dysfunction and pain you have from carrying around excess weight. Chiropractors are specialists in preventing these problems. As you continue your journey it will become increasingly important to continue getting checked. Increasing your physical activity when exercising will also cause joints to stiffen creating soreness or pain that can be helped by your chiropractic joint specialist.
Reason for Spinal Maintenance
Acutonix believes health and beauty is more than skin deep. Look at the lovely spines in these healthy spinal beauty contest winners. An important overlooked aspect of Health and wellness is your spine maintenance and function. Your function and health rely on the functioning of your nervous system which is encased in your spine. Distortion of the spine can lead to problems with your nervous system.
Reasons to keep up on your spinal maintenance:
1) Poor Posture Habits – contributes to pain and spinal problems
2) Ergonomics – improper work stations lead to pain and possible injury
3) Inappropriate exercise or no exercise – can’t hold alignment if the muscles are weak and joints are strained, will lead to spinal problems
4) Inflexible due to underuse or nutritional deficits – susceptible to injury, hard to adjust when inflexible
5) Past Back Surgeries – can be prone to deteriorate & future back problems
6) High Stress – tight muscles, prone to headaches, postural distortions
7) Bad Diet – prone to headaches, weight gain leading to back problems, nutritional deficiencies leading to joint and muscle problems
8) History of Back Problems – prone to having re-aggravation and recurrence if not monitored
9) Scoliosis- out of balance, need to monitor curve regression and progression
10) Overweight (joint stress)– prone to back problems
11) Diabetes – prone to neuropathies, headaches, may be overweight
12) Heart Disease – back problems may mask other problems
13) Pregnancy (changes in mechanics of spine)– prone to back problems
14) Immune-suppressed – spinal adjustments boost immunity, reducing unnecessary stress and strain
15) Children – heavy backpacks, active lifestyle, sports, growing pains
16) Compulsive “Self-Poppers” – the real problems are not being addressed
17) Smokers – damaging discs may leave them prone to deterioration
18) Medications – may be masking pain, causing joint, muscle & nerve problems to progress,
19) Arthritis – lack of spinal motion will further deteriorate joints
20) Desk Pilot & Video Gamers – prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, headache & postural problems