Adriana Ayales is the founder of Anima Mundi Apothecary. Take this deep dive with Adriana on stress, it’s effects on our health, and the adaptogenic supports and rejuvenative tonics that can help us find balance again…
In order to thrive (and not simply survive!), we must become more mindful about our stress levels. Stress hormones play a crucial role in our cardiovascular, nervous and immune systems, but repeated activation of the “flight-flight-freeze” response can take a serious toll on the body and will disrupt almost all bodily processes. Over-adaptation to stress — the constant disruption of key neurohormones — is the trigger for countless health issues.
Physicians affirm that 90% of all office visits are for stress-related conditions and/or complaints. Stress can directly affect our entire physical-mental makeup, impacting the nervous system and key stress-coping organs like the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands. It’s dangerous to be in survival mode 24/7…
Research suggests that chronic stress, even when operating silently over long periods of time, contributes to high blood pressure, promotes the formation of artery-clogging deposits, causes brain changes that may contribute to brain fog, anxiety, depression, and addiction. More preliminary research suggests that chronic stress may also contribute to obesity, both directly (causing people to eat more) and indirectly (decreasing sleep and exercise).
Over-secretion of cortisol, for example, suppresses the immune system and can cause symptoms ranging from severe anxiety, hypertension, inflammation and depression to chronic fatigue, PMS, infertility, sex hormone imbalance, insulin resistance, weight gain, insomnia, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
We often forget stress doesn’t just come from a busy life or emotional overload, it can also be inherited (think: intergenerational trauma), or it can be triggered by environmental toxicity, agricultural chemicals, exposure to heavy metals, electro-smog, and viruses.
13 Herbs For Stress + Burnout Support
With all these factors in mind, almost everyone can use some support in balancing stress these days. The herbs we most often turn to at Anima Mundi for stress support come in four categories…
+ Herbs for physical + nervous system support
+ Herbs that support stress-related nutritional deficiencies
+ Herbs that support stress-related depressive moods
+ Herbs that reduce stress-related insomnia and agitation
It’s time to relax and restore. Below, I’ve categorized some of the precious nervines, adaptogens, and rejuvenative tonics so you can match the types of stress you may be feeling to a potential remedy to facilitate a return to your normal baseline and better health…
SKULLCAP | An excellent anti-spasmodic, muscle tension reliever, anti-inflammatory and blood flow stimulant, skullcap assists with chronic headaches and relaxation. Used in European medicine and by Native Americans to soothe the nerves and help from body pain recovery, skullcap also supports the treatment of hysteria, insomnia, anxiety, and epilepsy. Learn more
PASSIONFLOWER | A gentle anti-anxiety, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and mild sedative supportive herb. It is traditionally used by Native Americans and curanderos in Latin America to help ease muscle pain, bruises, and insomnia. Quercetin, one of the active compounds, is an exceptionally effective ability in ridding the body from damaging free radicals while helping to inhibit various enzymes that cause inflammation, relaxing the nervous system and helping to relieve nerve-related pain. Learn more
HE SHOU WU | a.k.a. “Fo-Ti” is a powerful root with adaptogenic properties, used for more than 3,000 years as a rejuvenative, ‘anti-aging’ supportive beauty tonic. Traditionally, it was used to thicken hair, increase virility, and rejuvenate the internal organs. Scientific studies have found a plethora of benefits such as aiding with DNA repair, supporting the bones and cognitive functions. If used in large amounts it might be toxic to the liver, be sure to prepare the right dosage for the right amount of time. Learn more
SUMA | ‘Brazilian Ginseng’ nutritionally contains 19 different amino acids, a large number of electrolytes, trace minerals, iron, magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, B1, B2, E, K, and pantothenic acid. In other words, it’s a powerful multivitamin! Its high germanium content accounts for its properties as an oxygenator at a cellular level; its high iron content may account for its traditional use for treating anemia. Learn more
CORDYCEPS | Prized for their natural ability to help fight free radicals, infections, and inflammation, Cordyceps are impressive disease-fighting fungi that have been used for hundreds of years to reduce symptoms of respiratory disorders, coughs, colds, liver damage as well as energy. A true superfood, the cordyceps mushroom can support slowing the effects of aging and stress and boost energy levels. Learn more
MACA | Grows high up in the Andes mountains of Peru and Bolivia. Maca is an important staple of these diets given it is highly nutritious and able to grow wild, surviving harsh climates. It is also said to help people adapt to the altitude and to thrive in harsh conditions, including severe cold, rugged terrain, low oxygen, strong sunlight, and intense winds. It’s commonly known as a nutrient-dense aphrodisiac; naturally rich in copper, vitamin C, potassium, plus trace elements like iodine, iron, zinc, fatty and amino acids. Learn more
ALBIZZIA | The Tree of Eternal Happiness. Both the bark and the flowers have been traditionally used for hundreds of years as a calming sedative. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is used to anchor the spirit for those who struggle with worry, anxiety, confusion, and depression. The flowers have been used as a treatment for insomnia, amnesia, and melancholy. Albizzia is thought to enhance all aspects of neurotransmitter secretion and regulation, which is why some find it helpful as an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety supportive herb with no known side effects. Learn more
ASHWAGANDHA | Ashwagandha has been a popular Ayurvedic remedy for millennia. Ashwagandha may help to balance the hormones that contribute to anxiety. On one hand, it can fire up your body and give you energy when you’re feeling fatigued and burned out. On the other hand, it can also suppress stimulatory hormones when you’re strung out and stressed. It can also depress the central nervous system, inducing relaxation and aiding sleep. This is helpful for stress and anxiety disorders, which tend to involve two extremes of high stress and stimulation, combined with fatigue and adrenal exhaustion. Learn more
RHODIOLA | Rhodiola has been found through extensive clinical studies to have antidepressant properties by balancing neurotransmitters in the brain. Human-based clinical trials also demonstrated how Rhodiola reduced mental fatigue on stressful work-related tasks by 20% within a 20 day period. In another study, students experienced significantly reduced mental fatigue, improved sleep patterns, and increased motivation after a 20-day intake. Rhodiola is an essential staple as an energizing mental health aid. Learn more
MUCUNA | is a mood-boosting super herb with adaptogenic qualities. Mucuna is one of the only naturally occurring (and certainly most concentrated) sources of L-Dopa—as in dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that ignites brain performance, along with feelings of joy and bliss. Learn more
MILKY OAT | A soothing superfood for the nervous system and excellent trophorestorative, milky oat is a nourishing food that brings deep restoration. This remedy has been crafted for over 150 years by eclectic physicians as a tonic remedy to calm shattered nerves and relieve emotional instability, helping restore peace to an already burnt-out system in need of nutrient-dense recovery. Learn more
MULUNGU | Indigenous Amazonian peoples have used mulungu for centuries as a relaxant, for mental disorders (depression, anxiety, stress, panic, trauma, etc.), liver disorders, high blood pressure, and heart palpitations. Scientific studies demonstrate all of the indigenous uses were highly accurate, demonstrating significant pain-relief, antispasmodic, anti-convulsive, neuroprotective, and anti-inflammatory results.
KAVA KAVA | Kava is a hypnotic sedative used ceremonially for centuries by Polynesians, Hawaiians, and others. There are over 15 varieties of Hawaiian kava alone, and each one has its own qualities, flavors, and potencies. Research shows that kava root can be used to treat anxiety because it’s a nonaddictive and non-hypnotic anxiolytic. Kava is used to improve mood, ease anxiety, and boost sociability. It works by stimulating dopamine receptors and inducing euphoria. Learn more
Shop all of herbalist, Adriana Ayeles’ top picks for stress and nervous system health at Anima Mundi Apothecary..
Read Next: 13 Ways To Regulate Your Nervous System (Yes, Stress Hormones Are Addictive)
This story is brought to you in partnership with Anima Mundi. From time to time, TCM editors choose to partner with brands we believe in to bring our readers special offers. The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.