Depression Awareness Week is an annual event dedicated to raising awareness of one of the most troubling mental health conditions in the world.
Depression can be caused by a number of factors, but the stresses of daily life can be particularly troublesome.
Learning to cope with stress is one way people can look to improve their emotional well-being and manage symptoms of depression.
Herbal remedies are one such way many find relief. Plants known as adaptogens are often used for their healing abilities of restoring, balancing and protecting the body as a whole.
Below we explore these herbs in more depth and how they can help you relieve stress:
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are so called because of their ability to ‘adapt’ their function to the body’s needs. They target the body as a whole – responding to any influence or stressor it needs to.
These plants are thought to counteract the harmful effects of stress by improving the health of adrenal glands in the body. They allow for more energy to access the body’s cells and enhance the elimination of toxins. This process strengthens the body’s ability to cope with stress, fatigue and anxiety – all of which can contribute to long-term mental health problems such as depression.
The effect is calming and you shouldn’t experience any side effects from taking adaptogen herbs. They work slowly and gently, but the benefits are thought to be long-lasting.
Adaptogens to try today
Here are three adaptogens you may want to consider including in your self-care regime:
Holy basil (Tulsi)
This herb is used for a number of common ailments. It is considered particularly beneficial for helping to boost the immune system and fight fatigue and stress. Studies have shown that holy basil leaves can provide protection against stress. To reap the benefits, chew a handful of leaves every day.
Rhodiola (Golden Root)
This herb contains the phytochemical salidroside, which is considered effective for stalling anxiety and ageing. It is also linked to the suppression of cortisol and the increase of stress-reducing proteins in the body. Other benefits include:
- Resistance to mental and physical fatigue.
- Restoration of normal, healthy patterns (sleeping and eating) following a bout of stress.
One of the easiest ways to take rhodiola is in supplement form.
Astralagus is thought to increase the amount of anti-stress compounds in the body, which can help to prevent and repair the harmful effects of stress. It is also beneficial for boosting the immune system which further protects the body from stress. You can add a few drops of Astralagus Root Extract to your morning juices or smoothies.
Please remember it is important to seek medical advice before taking herbal remedies.