8 Adaptogens That Can Help With Managing Stress

Stress is a common and often chronic condition many people are facing these days. If you or someone you know is likely to experience stress on a regular basis- you may want to consider the use of adaptogenic herbs to help treat it. The use of adaptogenic herbs in the natural health world is booming right now though it is important to note that the bulk of evidence you will find on its effectiveness is by word of mouth as opposed to scientific fact. However, more research is being done and there are many healthcare practitioners backing the benefits of their use. If you are interested in giving them a try, here is a list of adaptogenic herbs that could potentially help you with managing stress.

1. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is also known as “Indian ginseng”. It is known for helping with a variety of issues from sleep disorders to anxiety, to backaches.

2. Holy Basil

Holy Basil is also used to treat a variety of discomforts. Such discomforts include the common cold, headaches, and migraines. It is also used to treat malaria and even heart disease.

3. Asian Ginseng

This herb improves memory, concentration, and depression. There are many types of ginseng- most of which are touted as natural energy boosters.

4. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is known for treating depression and contribute to more mental clarity. It is a root, known also as the “golden root”, and is said to help improve concentration and ease stress.

5. Licorice Root

Licorice Root can help with all sorts of digestive issues such as ulcers, heartburn, and inflammation. It is also used to treat bodily infections and regulate hormone levels.

6. Siberian Ginseng

Some people use Siberian ginseng to improve athletic performance. It provides a boost to the immune system and combats flu symptoms.

7. Astragalus

This herb is often used in combination with other herbs such as ginseng and licorice to increase its effectiveness. It’s good for strengthening the immune system, easing the symptoms of allergies, and managing diabetes.

8. Schisandra

Schisandra is said to protect against disease, stress, strengthens the immune system and provides one with more energy.

If you are considering the use of adaptogenic herbs to help reduce stress and improve your health, consult your healthcare provider first.

Why Everyone is Talking about EFT aka “Tapping”

Too often, people find themselves caught in a cyclone of negative thinking. When left untreated, mental illness and associated physical conditions tend to rob life of its enjoyment. But treatment isn’t necessarily effective. It can involve a strict regimen of chemicals, each with a hefty price tag, not to mention a plethora of serious side effects–which then require treatment of their own. In this way, the cycle of negativity twists and constricts, threatening happiness and siphoning life’s potential.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT Tapping), also known simply as “tapping,” presents a new method for freeing the body and mind from spiraling negativity. No one should be condemned to an endless loop of feeling discontented with treatment followed by treatment to remedy discontent. By dispensing cutting-edge psychiatry through the medium of 5,000 year old Chinese acupressure treatment, tapping aims to offer relief from life’s accumulated baggage. Chronic pain, depression, anxiety, addictions, phobias, post traumatic stress disorder and more: all of these may be relieved via tapping, a remedy that balances the mind, no pill required.

For how effective tapping can be, the technique behind it is remarkably simple. Over millennia, the Chinese have perfected acupuncture to relieve many forms of stress. Acupuncture involves targeting the body’s nearly 400 “meridian points” to promote healing. Tapping invokes a similar technique. Instead of needles, however, tapping requires only its namesake: a series of 5-7 “taps” along the body’s 12 major meridian points. This is done while a patient concentrates on a particular emotion, thought, or other form of distress, framing it within an ideal resolution. Unlike acupuncture, tapping is physically painless, and can be self-applied anywhere.

Traditional doctors and psychologists are understandably skeptical when it comes to tapping. However, a growing body of evidence supports the fact that tapping actually does produce real, beneficial effects. For example, a double-blind study at Harvard Medical School found that stimulating meridian points through pressure–in other words, tapping–reduces the severity of stress and fear responses. Also, in a randomized controlled trial by researcher Dr. Dawson Church, PhD, it was shown that cortisol (stress hormone) levels decreased an average of 24% after an hour-long tapping session. Some of Dawson’s 83 subjects even exhibited reduction rates as significant as 50%. Among the strongest evidence in support of tapping is a 2016 meta-analysis of 14 studies published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, through which researchers were able to verify that EFT facilitated a substantial drop in anxiety scores among adults experiencing emotional distress.

Tapping has undoubtedly changed thousands of lives for the better, however researchers caution that it shouldn’t be taken as a miracle cure-all. The technique works best when combined with traditional cognitive therapy, as well as healthy eating, daily exercise, and other positive lifestyle changes.

10 Surprising Things Your Body Does When You’re Healthy

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The human body is a fine-tuned machine that will automatically let us know when something isn’t quite right. We can almost always tell when something feels out of the norm. Looking out for changes or discomfort that are out of the ordinary can be a great way to stay on top of your health. However, if in doubt err on the side of caution and seek medical help.

Unfortunately some bodily functions are a little more gross than we would care to admit, but these can actually be signs that your body is healthy. Many of the body’s “gross” bodily functions are completely normal and show that your body is fixing any problems on its own. Your body will automatically give you clues about your health and it’s important to keep an eye out for them. Not every strange thing happens to your body is unhealthy. There are many bodily functions that might surprise you by being a sign of good health. Here are just a few of them that are usually not a cause for panic, but a pat on the back for keeping yourself in good health.

  1. Large Bowel Movements

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THAT came out of ME!? While it’s not the greatest topic of conversation, large bowel movements are good indicators of health. Well-formed bowel movements without any stray food particles show that your digestive system is on track and very healthy. You get major bonus points if you have them every day around the same time. Not sure whether your stool is as healthy as it could be? Consult a doctor and you can take a look at this informative article.

  1. Going To The Bathroom Several Times A Day

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While large bowel movements can be shocking and unnerving, but having them several times a day might instill some concern or pride. However, this is also a sign of good digestive health. Everyone’s frequency will vary from 3 times a week to even 3 times a day. Don’t be concerned if you are not one of those people who poop several times a day. Everyone is different. While any consistency or frequency changes can be a sign of illness it is not a cause for immediate concern unless the changes are sudden and drastic.

  1. Producing Ear Wax

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Much like bowel movements everyone produces ear wax and the amounts will vary by person. According to Kid’sHealth.org ear wax, or cerumen, is made in the outer part of the ear by special glands. Ear wax is actually really important for your ears. It lubricates the ear canal, fights infections, and shields the inner ear from dirt and dust. While it may be a little bit gross, ear wax is extremely healthy for your ears. The good news is that you don’t have to do anything to get rid of it; most of the time it falls out on its own without anyone noticing. If you notice larger than normal levels make sure you consult a doctor to make sure something potentially harmful isn’t happening.

  1. Passing Gas

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Whether it be burping or farting many times a day or even both you are showing signs of good health. Some people swallow more air, such as when you chew gum, and eat certain foods that may cause more gas, such as some vegetables, but passing gas is considered normal and a sign of digestive health. It is your body’s way of getting rid of excessive air. Passing an excessive amount of gas is considered rare, but if accompanied by other symptoms it may be time to consult your doctor. There are ways you can reduce the amount of gas your body excretes, such as by quitting smoking and making small changes in your diet.

  1. Sweat and Body Odor

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Sweat is a natural function the body goes through sometimes multiple times a day. Causes can be stress/anxiety, exercise, and excessive heat. Sweat comes from tens of thousands of glands all over your body, but the largest concentrations are in your armpits and groin where you typically find higher concentrations of hair. Sweat is initially odorless and does not start to smell until it mixes with bacteria on your skin. This is why everyone has their own, unique scent when they sweat much like a smelly fingerprint.

Some people sweat more often than others and this is just a fact of life. Foods and drinks can also change your body odor somewhat so keep that in mind before panic sets in. If you notice any sudden changes, start sweating for no apparent reason, sweat begins to disrupt your life and/or your notice a change in odor you should think about seeing your doctor.

Age can also be a factor for bodily odor changes. Changes in your sweat glands, hormones, and medications can have a major role in why your scent changes as you get older.

 

  1. Eyes Moving When You Sleep

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It might be unnerving and weird to see someone sleeping but their eyes are still moving around apparently “looking” at many different things. Believe it or not this is actually a sign that you’re getting enough sleep which has seemingly endless health benefits.

When we sleep our body’s go through several stages or cycles of sleep. We cycle back and forth between REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep. These eye movements have been associated with dreaming, however scientists are not completely sure of the cause. While the causes might not be fully known at this time, the effects are very beneficial. This REM sleep cycle only occurs when we are in a deep sleep and has been shown to give better sleep quality, make you feel more rested and even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The next time you see someone sleeping with lots of eye movements let them sleep. They are getting much deserved and very healthy deep sleep.

  1. Flaky and Shedding Skin

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Your skin is one of your body’s first lines of defenses against the sun, bacteria, and other harmful substances. Flaky skin can be a sign of dryness, sunburn, or some medical conditions so don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist if you feel like you have something more serious.

Never fear! There is plenty of good news. Our skin is constantly shedding at a rate of 500 million cells a day. This might seem like an alarming rate, but our bodies are forming more skin cells to replace them all each day as well. One of the main chemical in your shedded skin cells is squalene, which has been shown to remove ozone levels inside by 2-15%.

Next time you see dust around the house you can give yourself a pat on the back for improving air quality instead of feeling the need to clean all day.

  1. Producing Mucus

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Boogers have a bad reputation, but they are actually quite useful. Mucus works with your nose hair to trap dirt and dust particles and this combination forms what we unlovingly call the booger. Maybe we should give them a little more credit since they are a sign of immune system health.

If you’re eating you might want to put your food down. New studies are beginning to show that eating your boogers may help defend against some illnesses and infections. While studies are still being conducted there is evidence that ingesting boogers might have beneficial health results.

For now be happy that without eating any boogers your mucus is fighting off infection and keeping dust and dirt from getting in to your body. We’ll tackle ingesting them when the time comes.

 

  1. Waking Up With “Crusty” Eyes

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Eye gunk, eye sleep, eye boogers, sand, crusties, the list goes on. The medical term for those crusty particles you find on the corners of your eyes when you wake up is Rheum. Every human has a mucus layer on their eyes that attracts water. Underneath it is another layer made up mostly of water that functions as a lubricant for your eyes and also washes away infections.

During sleep our body relaxes and some of this fluid can leak to the corners of our eyes, which is completely normal. When inside your eye this “gunk” is liquid, but when it leaves the warmth of your eye it cools and becomes the crunchy, hard substance we all know. Why do we have this substance at all? It keeps our tears in our eyes where it belongs to hydrate our eyes.

If you notice any changes in color or amounts this can be cause for concern, especially in conjunction with red, itchy eyes. Eye infections can cause more rheum to build up and even turn green. Keep an eye out for these changes, but otherwise stay calm and know that your rheum is working to keep your eyes hydrated and healthy.

  1. Forming Thick Foot Calluses

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While they might not be the most attractive thing to happen to your feet they definitely are not the worst. Calluses are thick, protective layers of dead skin cells or patches of skin that have thickened and are commonly found in bony areas. Their primary function is to protect the area on which they have formed, commonly on the feet. You can get calluses from exercise or walking on rough surfaces since they develop as a response to friction and weight.

Think of a callus as a tougher version of a blister. It’s just trying to protect an area of the body that is subjected to more wear and tear than usual. Make sure to always take care of your feet or any callused area to prevent infection. You can always see a doctor if any become painful or you want to have them removed.

A Look into Mind-Body Medicine

In most Western medical practices, mental health and physical health are viewed as two separate entities; physical health is handled by a primary care physician and mental health is covered by a psychologist or psychiatrist as needed. However, newer practices are pulling from centuries-old beliefs that the health of the mind and the health of the body are more interconnected than we’ve been practicing.

Mens sana in corpore sano.

In ancient Greek times, there was a firm and widely held belief that the mind and body are connected and influence the health of one another. A well-known Latin phrase was developed from this belief: “mens sana in corpore sano” translates to mean “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” In essence, total, holistic wellness is wellness in both your mental and physical health. This duality between mind and body remained the common belief and practice until the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods when they were separated into two different entities. In the 17th century, Rene Descarte described humans as being comprised of two contrasting substances which could not unify with one another; the mind being sentient and able to reason but without substance, and the body with substance but constricted to the physics of earth whereas the mind is not.

Reconnecting the mind and body.

As medical knowledge progressed and our understanding of health deepened, the importance and influence of the mind began to creep its way back into discussions of physical health in the 20th century. They began to study the power that the mind has over the body in the wake of studies on how placebos can affect the body’s ability to control pain.

Mind-body health today.

Today, an entire sector of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is devoted to researching the connection between mind and body health. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) studies the impact that mental, social, emotional, spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect a person’s health.

Some mind-body medicine practices from the NCCIH include mindfulness, meditation, tai chi, yoga, deep breathing, massage, and homeopathy. Mind-body practices also promote the use of natural products like herbs, minerals, probiotics, and vitamins.

The designation that mind-body health practices are “alternative medicine” presents a misinforming picture of the power that incorporating these holistic practices in life can have. “Alternative” gives the impression that all typical Western health practices are abandoned when in reality it just expands the scope through with which we view these practices and understand their impact.