Stress is something that affects everybody. Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional tension or strain resulting from demanding or adverse circumstances. This can result in a multitude of symptoms, including headaches, muscle tension, pain, insomnia, worry, anxiety, depression and even disease. And according to a recent survey, nearly 77 percent of all Americans regularly experience physical or psychological symptoms caused by stress (American Institute of Stress, May 2017).
On acellular level, chronic stress has actually been shown to shorten the immunecell telomeres. Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes found in chromosomes thatpromote genetic stability. When the body is stressed, the immune cells are lesslikely to duplicate and this puts the body at risk of infection or illness.
Sowhat can be done to reduce stress? The simple answer is a ton. Some examples ofways to deal with stress include exercising, journaling, meditation, coloring,getting a massage, reading, watching a movie, talking with friends, playinggames, sitting in nature, eating healthy food and even acupuncture.
Thisleads us to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a 3,000 year old medical system thatcan balance the body, relieve stress and decrease/prevent disease. TCM utilizesmany modalities to treat people, but according to many scholars, it all beganwith herbal medicine. Herbs can be used alone or in conjunction with oneanother to create customized formulas that help heal the body. Here are someexamples of herbs and formulas that can combat stress.
1. Eleuthro or Ci Wu Jia: This herb is anadaptogen, meaning it has revitalizing or restorative properties. Inparticular, Ci Wu Jia works very well for people who work high stress jobs,work long hours or have erratic schedules. It supports quality sleep and alsostrengthens the immune system.
2. Aswhagandha: While this herb is not regularlyused in TCM, it is still a very potent herb for tackling stress. Specifically,ashwagandha helps with anxiety, fatigue and stress-induced insomnia. It is alsoused to support the immune system and stimulate the thyroid gland for thosesuffering from hypothyroidism.
3. Xiao Yao San: This herbal formula combinesseveral herbs to become one of the most frequently prescribed formulas in TCM.Xiao Yao San soothes the liver, which according to TCM theory is where stressis controlled.
4. Cordyceps or Dong Chong Xia Cao: Cordyceps isa type of fungus found on caterpillars. It has been used by TCM practitionersfor centuries to fight fatigue, support the immune system and protect the liverand kidneys.
5. Suan Zao Ren Tang: This herbal formula is veryeffective for treating agitation, insomnia, irritability and scatteredthoughts. These symptoms are very common in people who are overworked andemotionally stressed out.
Herbscan be very beneficial and help keep the body free from illness. The herbs andformulas mentioned above are just a few examples that would be good to havearound if you suffer from stress and anxiety. To find out more about theseherbs, reach out to us!