Rhodiola and Ashwagandha: Two Excellent Herbal Remedies for Stress-Related Fatigue
Are you besieged by fatigue plus one or more of other nagging problems such as insomnia, weight gain, or depression? If so, you very possibly suffer from one of the most common causes of fatigue – poor adrenal function.
“Adrenal fatigue” is caused by a poorly functioning HPA axis (hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis). The HPA axis is your body’s hormonal response system to chronic stress. “HPA” refers to three hormone-secreting glands:
- The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in the brain
- The adrenal glands which sit on top of the kidneys.
When the HPA axis becomes dysfunctional you become drained, burned out, and chronically fatigued. You may also have other symptoms such as sleep disturbances, unrefreshing sleep, depression, anxiety, irritability, or difficulty concentrating. If this sounds familiar, some natural adrenal fatigue treatment is in order!
A recent Mother Earth News article, Adrenal Fatigue Treatment: Use Nature’s Herbs expounds on the use of adaptogens to fight chronic stress and adrenal fatigue. Adaptogens are medicinal plants that have been shown to normalize body functions, strengthen systems compromised by stress, and increase attention and endurance for fatigue suffered. They do this by re-balancing the HPA-axis; that is, by getting your brain, nervous system, and adrenal glands working in harmony again so that you can properly “adapt” to stressors.
Two well-researched adaptogens that are effective for adrenal fatigue treatment are Rhodiola and Ashwagandha:
- Rhodiola— Nature’s Antidepressant and Fatigue Fighter. This herbal medicine has been used for thousands of years for increasing physical endurance, work productivity and longevity, enhancing energy levels, and in the treatment of fatigue, depression, and infection. Recent research has confirmed Rhodiola’s ability to act as a natural adaptogen, reducing physical and mental fatigue related to chronic stress.
- Ashwagandha Benefits: Ease Stress and Anxiety by 44 Percent. This herbal remedy is the most calming and the best for treating stress-related fatigue accompanied by symptoms of anxiety. A tonic like ashwagandha benefits you by helping your body adapt to stress, and strengthening your body’s systems, such as the nervous system and the adrenals.
Ginseng May be the Answer to Cancer-Related Fatigue – Mayo Clinic Study
Statistically speaking, men have a one in two chance and women have a one in three chance of getting cancer at some point in their lives. Since cancer affects such a large part of the population and because it is a prolonged stress-related experience, it is therefore one of the most common causes of fatigue. But, recent research by the Mayo Clinic has shed light on how to overcome cancer-related fatigue using a natural herb.
Aside from Rhodiola and Ashwaganda, Ginseng is also an adaptogen that helps the body adapt to stress and overcome fatigue. Used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as a natural energy booster, Mayo Clinic researchers looked into ginseng’s effects on the debilitating fatigue symptoms that occur in almost all cancer patients. A recent article published in the UK’s The Telegraph reveals how the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center discovered that “High doses of the herb American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) over two months reduced cancer-related fatigue in patients more effectively than a placebo.”
The Mayo Clinic’s study utilized an American ginseng dosage of 2,000 mg per day. Various clinical studies have suggested dosages ranging between 200 mg to 4,500 mg per day. You should start out with a lower dose and gradually increase as tolerated; however, it is important for cancer patients to talk with their doctor or an integrative physician before beginning ginseng, especially those who are undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
Environmental Toxins Now Recognized as One of the Common Causes of Fatigue
In a recent article titled, Use a Detox Cleanse to Regain Sagging Energy, Dr. Kathleen Jade discusses an often-ignored cause of fatigue: Environmental toxins. On a daily basis, we encounter environmental toxins through our food, water and air. Dr. Jade explains:
“It is now well-documented that our bodies store unknown mixtures and amounts of many toxins for years, and the long-term health effects of this are still largely unknown. While the human body has sophisticated mechanisms in place to process and excrete toxins it encounters, research is showing that these mechanisms can (and are) being overwhelmed. This often results in feeling tired all the time, even at low levels of exposure in healthy individuals. For example, studies have shown that office workers exposed to low levels of PCBs or mold through building contamination are significantly more fatigued, as are students in poorly ventilated computer labs… If you’re tired all the time, exposure to chemicals, mold, heavy metals and other toxic compounds could be directly causing or exacerbating your fatigue, and spending a short time doing a detox cleanse could be the answer.”
To learn more about undergoing a detox cleanse, or for ideas on limiting you and your family’s exposure to environmental toxins, read our articles here: