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Stress & the Body

What is Stress?

Merriam-Webster defines stress as mental or emotional strain that results from either very demanding or adverse circumstances.

Stress can come in many forms, and not all stressful situations are necessarily detrimental. When we think of stress, we think of negative circumstances – the loss of income, the illness of a family member, or perhaps something as simple as fighting traffic during one’s commute to and from work.

However, stress is not always the result of a negative happening in one’s life. We may experience stress when confronted with new situations, such as starting a new job or the birth of a child. Stress is actually a fairly normal part of one’s life; few people can go throughout life without ever experiencing any kind of stress.

Stress can cause one’s adrenaline to surge, raise one’ heart rate, and deliver more oxygen to the blood. Stress, in limited amounts, can actually be good for a person. It is long-term, unrelenting stress that can have a detrimental effect on one’s health.



What is the effect of stress on the body?



Stress that continues for a long time can do great harm to one’s body. Constant stress can cause a number of physical issues – headaches, chest pain, loss of sleep, upset stomach or other digestive issues, and elevated blood pressure.

Prolonged stress can cause one with underlying physical conditions to see a worsening of their symptoms. For instance, someone with conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis can see a worsening in their illness as a result of prolonged stress. Long-term stress can also cause people to develop physical illnesses. Those who develop fibromyalgia often do so as a result of prolonged stressful situations.

Yet, once again, even the medical experts will relate that some stress is actually good for the body so long as it is not prolonged exposure to stressful situations.

What are some statistics regarding stress?

Up to forty-three percent of all adults experience negative physical effects of stress. Between seventy-five and ninety percent of all doctor office visits are related to the effects of stress. Stress can worsen asthma, arthritis, diabetes, heart health issues, and skin conditions such as psoriasis. It can also cause physical problems to develop, particularly depression and anxiety. In fact, approximately half of all the emotional disorders adults experience can be traced back to the individual’s experiencing prolonged stress.

Ironically, OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has cited stress as a workplace hazard. This is telling in that stress can be a major distraction while working; a good example would be when an employee in a manufacturing plant fails to complete all safety checks and is injured (or injures another employee) due to a lack of concentration from the presence of stress.

How does long-term stress affect one’s health?

Medical professionals relate that their are actually two kinds of stress – “eustress,” which is considered “positive” stress, such as getting a promotion at work; and “distress,” which is the negative stress that can actually be harmful to us over a long period of time.

Distress can cause a person to feel overworked, overwhelmed, and tense. This is the type of stress that leads to the high blood pressure, headaches, and stomach issues noted previously.

It should also be noted that some people may suffer negative effects from stress when they choose to use alcohol or other substances to deal with stressful situations. These substances can include using tobacco to deal with prolonged stress. Using any type of substance to deal with stress can have significant, long-term detrimental effects on a person’s well-being.



I get that stress is bad for me. What can I do to combat stress?



Physicians state that one must learn how to manage stress in order to prevent the harmful physical effects of the condition.

There are many healthy ways to manage stress. First, one can plan physical activity which can alleviate many of the effects of stress. Take a walk or participate in some form of physical exercise. Many individuals pray or meditate in order to combat stress. Utilizing breathing exercise in addition to meditating is often a good way to alleviate stress. Choosing daily to find a way to deal with stressful situations goes a long way to combating the negative physical effects of stress.

Ginkgo Biloba Dosages For Cognitive disorders

Ginkgo biloba is highly regarded as one of the most beneficial health supplements available on the market today. It has a long and rich history throughout Chinese medicine and is used as a therapeutic treatment for a whole plethora of ailments. Ginkgo biloba is extracted from the ginkgo biloba tree, which is now recognized as the oldest living species of tree on the planet. It is also a protected species in many countries around the world, mainly because of its beneficial health benefits that it affords to the individual who supplements with it.

ginkgo biloba leaf

The amount of Ginkgo biloba you will take each day will depend largely on the main reason as to why you are taking it. It has use as a treatment for many conditions, especially those which stem from cognitive disorders. It is an effective way to naturally treat depressive disorders, such as bipolar and borderline personality disorder. It is also useful as a natural tool in the fight against age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Treatment for depressive disorders

The majority of people will find that supplementing with 100 mg of Ginkgo biloba each day will help improve their mood. It is recommended to take the ginkgo biloba supplement first thing in the morning upon waking. You can choose to take it with a meal or while fasting, it’s therapeutic effect will be just as good either way. Ginkgo biloba improves the overall mood of the individual by helping the body deal with stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. When these two hormones are reduced throughout the body, the amount of Stress and Anxiety experienced by the individual will become manageable.

Ginkgo biloba for cognitive disorders

For those who are looking at a way to treat cognitive disorders, such as age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s, supplementing with 50 mg of ginkgo biloba three times a day each day has been shown to be beneficial. For those looking to improve on performance and boost cognitive skills, the individual should consume between 120 to 240 mg roughly 2 to 4 hours before the effects are required. As the active compound in ginkgo biloba takes roughly 30 minutes to 2 hours to enter your bloodstream, it is recommended to take it in advance to benefit from its therapeutic form.

Ginkgo biloba for anxiety

May be beneficial in helping alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. Those who suffer from anxiety will experience effects such as stress, nervousness and a feeling of impending doom. To treat anxiety with ginkgo biloba it is recommended to take 120 mg of the supplement twice each day, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. Ginkgo biloba is known to calm the mind and provide a feeling of relaxation to the individual. While there are no known interactions between Ginkgo and anxiety medications, you should discuss using the supplement with your doctor before commencing any treatment plans.

Ginkgo biloba for treating tinnitus

For those individuals who suffer from a constant ringing or whining noise in the ears, using ginkgo biloba can help reduce the symptoms and make life more bearable. For ginkgo biloba to be effective on tinnitus the individual is required to take quite a large dose. Studies have found that 480 ml mg per day is sufficient for helping alleviate the debilitating and annoying sounds heard by the individual. Ideally, you want to find a ginkgo biloba extract in its purest form. If the supplement contains high levels of ginkgolic acid, then your best bet is to avoid this.

Ginkgolic acid has a high likelihood of being a severe allergen which can cause inflammation throughout the body. Some of the more common side effects of this acid are intense skin rashes and headaches. It is a good idea to perform some research on products before making a purchase, as the FDA does not require manufacturers to list the actual amounts of this acid when sold as a supplement.

5 Best bedtime herbs for better sleep

Bedtime is an essential part of your day. It is during your sleep that the body gets to heal and rejuvenate. The average sleep time should last between six to eight hours. Unfortunately, a significant number of our population hardly gets enough sleep. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that about 50 to 70 million adults have a sleep or wakefulness disorder.

Without enough sleep, you will not perform the activities of the day efficiently. For example, you may find yourself dozing off at work or while driving. Lack of sleep can cause chronic insomnia and depression.

The good news is that lack of sleep can be easily managed using natural sleep aids. These remedies help you get the much-needed sleep, to get you rejuvenated for the day’s activities. For your convenience, here are five best natural herbs/supplements for better sleep.

  1. L-theanine

The use of l-theanine dates back to the 1940s when it was used by the Japanese . It is an amino acid contained in tea. L-theanine promotes relaxation of the brain, hence facilitating better sleep.

It increases the levels of neurotransmitters, which include dopamine and serotonin. They help to regulate sleep, alertness, moods, and cognitive skills. The elevated levels of these neurotransmitters promote calmness and relaxation. As a result, you will be able to sleep better. L-theanine also reduces the chemicals in the brain that cause anxiety and stress.

You can consume L-theanine in black tea, coffee, green tea. For best results, take 100mg to 400mg of this supplement or herb.

  1. Passion flower

The passion flower is a native plant found in the Southern United States, South, and Central America. It got its name in 1605 from Pope V,who saw its resemblance to the thorn Jesus wore during the crucifixion. For decades, the passion flower has been used both as a stress reliever and a sleeping aid.

Consumption of this herb results in an increased production of GABA (Gama Aminobutyric Acid) by the 

brain. GABA is the inhibitory neurotransmitter that regulates excitability and relaxes the nerves.

You can enjoy the benefits of passion flower as tea or as an extract. If you are a great drinker, take two to five grams of passion flower tea three to five time a day. If you like the extract, take 30 to 60 drops before you go to bed. Pregnant women should avoid taking passion flower because it is not clinically tested.

  1. Valerian root

Valerian root is among the most common herbs for insomnia. It was originally used in Europe and Asia for thousands of years. You can use Valerian herb to improve your sleep because it has a relaxing effect.

Valerian root contains GABA, which causes a calming and relaxing effect. It also has hesperidin and linarin, which are antioxidants that have sedative properties. Valerian root also increases serotonin levels in the brain, which stabilize your mood. The herb helps you sleep 36 percent faster than usual.

Soak dried Valerian root in a cup of hot water for about 15 minutes and drink it as tea. If you are not that much of a drinker, you can take it in capsule form. You can combine Valerian root with other herbs like hops to achieve an even better effect on your sleep. For best results, take it about 1 hour before you go to bed. Also, do not take it for more than a month without the doctor’s orders.

  1. California poppy

California poppy has been used for many years as a natural sedative. It originates from Mexico and the western valleys of North America. It is a vibrant plant with orange petals. Traditionally, the herb was used by Native Americans as dye and medicine. However, today, it is commonly known for its sedative properties.

The herb activates GAMA, which is a neurotransmitter that supports sedation. It also stimulates the 5-HT receptors that promote dopamine and serotonin availability.Both of them trigger the brain to relax, leading to better sleep. They also limit the production of norepinephrine, which is the neurotransmitter in the nervous system, responsible for fight or flight response. As a result, little amounts of it reduces anxiety.

 

California poppy is available in the form of a capsule or tablet. Alternatively, you can boil it, strain it, and drink it as tea. For best results, consume 20 drops or 400g of the herb and expect to have a better sleeping pattern in no time.

  1. Chamomile

Last but not least is Chamomile herb. It is a flower that is closely related to the daisy family. It was originally used in Europe, Mexico, and South America. The herb exists in two types, which are; Roman Chamomile and German Chamomile. They both work well in improving sleep patterns through reducing stress and anxiety.

Chamomile contains a compound called apigenin, which binds to the GABA receptors to cause sleepiness.It also relaxes your muscles, which makes it easier for you to sleep. Chamomile also helps eliminate racing thoughts, stress, anxiety, and irritability.

The herb is commonly brewed as tea. Users can also consume it in the form of capsules or tablets. For best results, take chamomile at least an hour before going to bed. If you are drinking it as tea, then consume two to three cups daily. In case it is extracted, take 30 drops three times daily. If you are allergic to any members of the daisy plant, consider using other herbs for better sleep.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, sleep is an essential part of your health. Lack of sleep does not have to be a problem any longer. The list highlights five best herbs for better sleep including L-theanine, Chamomile, Passion flower, California poppy, and Valerian root. These natural remedies are far much better than the synthetic medication. Try as much as possible to stay away from artificial aids for better sleep because they may lead to serious side effects. Start using the list of herbs today and get ready for better sleep.