Supporting Your Adrenals with Adaptogenic Herbs

Are you stressed? Perhaps you feel like you are running on all cylinders all of the time? Or maybe you feel exhausted even though you slept a full 8 hours last night? If you feel like any of this describes you right now, then it is likely that your adrenal glands are being pushed to their limits and could use some TLC.

Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and are responsible for producing and regulating your stress hormones cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine. Basically, if you feel stressed or busy, or even under threat, then your adrenal glands are pumping out a mix of these hormones to help you to get through these times. However, if these states of constant high alert last for long periods at a time, it can have negative effects on your adrenals and your health in general.

Are you Stressed?

Many of us don’t even recognise we are in a chronic state of stress because we are so used to the feeling. A common example of this is a mother who might also be working full or part-time with a constant to-do list running in her head. Add in the housework that never seems to end, and you’ve got a recipe for a chronic state of stress. Or perhaps you work demanding hours, in a high pressure environment? Again, this is another scenario where chronic stress is likely to be affecting your health.

What Can you Do?

While changing the factors that are contributing to your current state of chronic stress is the most important and effective way to relieve your stress and improve your health, this is sometimes not possible, at least in the short to medium term. Instead, focus on the things you can control right now. Things like what you eat, how much sleep you get, exercise, and avoiding foods that stress the nervous system further, such as coffee, sugar and alcohol. Adaptogenic herbs can also be helpful in managing stress levels and nurturing the adrenal glands.

Some of my favourite adaptogenic herbs include:

Rehmannia - Rehmannia is a traditional Chinese herb, used to restore the kidneys and adrenal glands. It is referred to as an adrenal tonic and can be useful in times of chronic stress and exhaustion. It is particularly useful in perimenopausal and menopausal women who often present with adrenal exhaustion.

Korean Ginseng - is often referred to as a ‘male herb’ as it tends to more commonly suit the male constitution. It is one of the most stimulating adaptogenic herbs, and can be used to improve mental processing, attention and reaction time. Because it is a stimulating adaptogen, it has been reported to improve chronic fatigue conditions as well as athletic performance.

Withania - is a nurturing adaptogenic herb and is more suited to those who don’t feel exhausted, but rather feel as though they are on high-alert all the time, often finding it difficult to switch off or relax. Withania can help to ease stress and promote mental clarity.

NOTE - before taking any herbal medicine, talk to your naturopath, herbalist or doctor, as herbs can be contradicted in certain conditions or may interfere with medications you might be taking.

About the Author

Casey is a clinical naturopath and nutritionist and the founder of The Natural Path Health. She has a passion for identifying and treating the root cause of disease to achieve long-lasting health goals with her clients. "I love helping my clients regain their energy and vitality for life."