Stress is the body's response to a challenge or demand, and every physical body and mind expresses that response in a unique way. We’ve partnered with the herbalists at Wooden Spoon Herbs to share just the right formulas to help the body and mind appropriately respond to stress. But first, it is important to understand what stress and stress management are.
What is Stress?
Stress management is a relatively new concept. While it’s a popular subject, stress itself is not exactly well-defined. What we do know is the body responds differently to chronic and acute stress. When people experience ongoing stress, a pattern emerges: the stressor takes people off guard, the body and mind attempt to resist change to maintain balance, and we become exhausted by the effort.
Stress can be caused by physical, psychological, emotional, or environmental stressors, and it can cause a slew of physical changes, such as lethargy, weight loss or gain, loss of interest in work and leisure activities, and much more.
What Herbs are Good for Stress?
Even though the feelings of stress can present themselves in a similar manner, every individual and every stressor are different. That’s why we lean on multiple herbs for stress management – to address every unique root cause and help us resist and recover from stress.
Adaptogens are especially helpful for non-specific stress and can be supplemented with herbs that target specific stressors. There are those that support the nervous system, promote immune health, nourish the cardiovascular system, or stimulate the lymphatic system. This is why it is especially important to identify where the stress is coming from and how it feels in your body. Integrating a body literacy practice into your day-to-day can help you identify and manage stress before it takes root.
When experiencing stress, it’s important to sneak in moments of pleasure, which is why we prioritize beverages that taste as good as they make us feel when we’re stressed out. Tinctures and beverages that we enjoy not only help with compliance (herbs can’t do anything in your body if you don’t put them there!), but also the simple act of caring for ourselves when we’re feeling stressed out or out of control is a beneficial response. A very small way to take control is to make time in the day to enjoy the flavors of healing herbs.
ALIVE Root Beer and Rose-Colored Glasses are two of our favorite tools for stress support: they feel and taste good, and they help to nourish our bodies and manage our moods during moments of stress. Plus, they include some of our favorite healing herbs – some adaptogens, some not. Below we’re breaking down everything you need to know about our favorite herbs for stress support.
Reishi is a calming adaptogenic mushroom that normalizes, strengthens, and calms the immune system. It also calms the nervous system and helps the body rest. A well-known and beloved herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine, this mushroom has thousands of years of ancient use under its belt.
Turkey Tail is a beautiful mushroom that grows on decaying hardwood logs and looks like – you guessed it – a turkey tail. Turkey Tail is a well-documented immunomodulator, meaning that it responds to either stimulate or suppress the immune system. Stress can often make different parts of our body under-work or over-work, and turkey tail reintroduces balance to our immune systems.
Chaga is an adaptogenic mushroom with a deep, earthy, and smoky flavor. Chaga is traditionally used to stimulate the immune system and balance energy. Also known for sharpening the mind, Chaga may reduce fatigue in the early morning or throughout your day.
Rose is a cooling nervine that offers support in times of grief and is a very gentle cardiotonic. When combined with hawthorn, like it is in Rose-Colored Glasses, it’s skilled at moving engrained patterns of sadness or recurring dips in mood. Rose is calming to the nervous system, strengthening to the heart, and mildly stimulating to the brain to help us think clearly during times of stress.
Holy Basil is a mild adaptogen for fatigue that helps clear mental fog and improve memory. It increases cerebral circulation to improve cognitive function. As a gentle stimulant it improves immune activity and helps to support digestion. If your stress bloats your digestive system and clouds your thinking, holy basil could be a match for you.
Oat Tops are the young, milky tops of the oat plant. They are fantastic food for the nervous system, especially for people who burn the candle at both ends. If stress makes you overly sensitive to sounds and smells, or you find yourself reacting uncharacteristically to small setbacks, oat tops can help restore your emotional foundation.
- Hawthorn is a strengthening nervine that nourishes the heart. Hawthorn restores strength where stress has depleted. It is deeply calming; when stress sends you into a tizzy and you feel untethered, distracted, and unable to settle down, hawthorn will gently steady and soothe.
When it comes to stress support, these ingredients are powerful additives to your current stress management routine. Whether you’re being proactive or reactive towards stress, these tools can heal individually, but work even better when combined. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or in a fog, take a few deep breaths and reach for your favorite ALIVE Ancient Mushroom Elixir or herb-filled tincture.