God's Calming Herbs, Part II – Stress

In these trying times, you can take comfort knowing that God has provided safe, natural ways to help manage the effects of stress in your life.

Stress and anxiety touch so many of our lives that it is considered the number one health problem in the United States today. It has been on the rise for the past 25 years, and has spiked even higher in the past year.

Stress can negatively impact your health and well-being both in the short-term and the long-term. Immediate effects include increased heart rate and breathing, headache, back pain and neck/shoulder tension, sweating, nausea, diarrhea and feelings of anxiety.

Prolonged stress can have numerous damaging physical and emotional consequences. It is linked to high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart disease and heart attacks, diabetes, fertility problems, and chronic pain. Stress can also make skin problems, arthritis, asthma, COPD, and stomach problems such as ulcers, reflux, and irritable bowel, worse.

In addition, stress can affect your thoughts and emotions, making you feel frustrated, angry, irritable, tired and jumpy. Stress makes it hard to focus and can affect your decision-making and productivity. Feelings of being depressed, overwhelmed, anxious, or excessive worrying are also common.

There are a number of lifestyle steps you can take, including exercise, prayer, healthy eating, maintaining close relationships, and talking with a counselor, loved one or minister. But if you need additional support, God has also provided us with a number of natural, calming herbs and nutrients that can help you deal with stress.

Magnolia Bark
Magnolia bark is an herb known for promoting relaxation. Researchers have determined that "honokiol" and "magnolol", two chemicals found in Magnolia Bark, are up to 1000 times more potent than Vitamin E in antioxidant activity. These two active compounds are also thought to contribute to the primary anti-stress and cortisol-balancing effects of the plant.

Numerous animal studies have demonstrated honokiol to act as an anti-stress agent at lower doses. In fact, in studies, honokiol was compared with diazepam (Valium), a well-known pharmaceutical. Honokiol was found to be five times stronger than diazepam in reducing anxiety without the side effects.

Eleuthero Root
Eleuthero, a member of the ginseng family, has long been used in Asia to increase resistance to stress and fatigue. Eleuthero is thought to be an adaptogen, or a substance that adapts itself to correct whatever is out of balance in the body.

Researchers believe that eleuthero may enhance the body's ability to process interferon, a chemical that boosts immune system activity. It is also thought to help regulate cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a hormone produced by the body during times of stress that can have detrimental effects when at high levels for too long.

Gotu Kola
Gotu kola has been used for thousands of years in ayurvedic medicine to improve memory and concentration, and to maintain a healthy central nervous system. Recent clinical studies continue to support these traditions. Gotu kola is higher in the B-complex vitamin group than any other plant previously examined, and it has been shown that gotu kola protects the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the brain, which helps increase the brain's oxygen supply. Gotu kola has also been shown to have a calming affect on individuals prone to anxiety.
Gotu kola should not be taken by women who are pregnant or nursing.

Chamomile
Dried chamomile flower is an age-old medicinal drug known in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome to promote general relaxation and relieve stress. Extensive scientific research over the past 20 years has confirmed many of the traditional uses for chamomile and validated its long-held reputation. Animal studies show that chamomile contains substances that act on the same parts of the brain and nervous system as anti-anxiety drugs. Chamomile has become increasingly popular, and is now included as a medicinal substance in the pharmacopoeia of 26 countries.

Passion Flower Extract
Passion flower has long been used as a folk remedy in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The extract of this flower has a relaxing, mild sedative action. Numerous studies have substantiated the claim that it encourages sleep and relieves nervous irritability. Passion flower is believed to work by increasing levels of a neurotransmitter known as GABA that creates a relaxing effect by lowering the activity of some brain cells.

Other Nutrients to Help You Manage Stress

Magnesium
Magnesium is critical to more than 300 of the human body's enzymatic, or chemical, reactions. Magnesium deficiency causes increased levels of adrenaline, which can lead to a feeling of anxiety. Studies have found that those with agoraphobia and certain other phobic disorders often have lower levels of magnesium in their bodies. In additions, certain stress hormones, such as cortisol, can deplete the body's magnesium stores, leading to a further deficiency among those who are under stress.

Taurine
Taurine helps create nerve impulses by aiding the transport of potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium in and out of our cells, thus playing a key role in brain and nervous-system function. Taurine is also a calming chemical messenger and cell membrane stabilizer, which means it helps calm the brain and nervous system.

Vitamin B5 and B6
B vitamins are important for the production of the key chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters. Research shows that low levels of essential B-vitamins may contribute to poor mood and feelings related to anxiety and depression.

You can't eliminate the stress from your life, but you can give your body what it needs to help it better handle stress. Stress Support combines all of these stress-fighting nutrients and God's calming herbs in a unique, safe, natural product. Put yourself in control, and on the pathway to a more peaceful and relaxed life.