Prolonged stress is something that’s familiar to all of us today.
But, less familiar is the reality that many of our health problems may be the direct result of stress…
You see, this entire stress response is managed by your hormonal control center, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, or HPA axis for short.
From the brain to the organs, the HPA axis triggers the range of hormones and chemical reactions that occur throughout the body. But when one thing gets disrupted — as it can when under stress — it can cause a negative chain of events in return.
We’re talking weight gain, depression, anxiety, arthritis, diabetes, sexual dysfunction, osteoporosis, heart disease and stroke. These conditions can all arise due to the hormone dysregulation that comes alongside prolonged stress.
Thankfully, there is one powerful herb that can rebalance the HPA axis and have positive consequences on your health at the same time…
Ginseng — the “all-healing herb”
Ginseng has been used throughout traditional medicine for centuries. And being that it’s known as the “all-healing” herb, it has remained popular in modern medicine. In fact, approximately six million Americans ingest ginseng on a regular basis!
There are 11 species of ginseng, but American ginseng and Korean red ginseng are the most studied varieties. The roots, leaves, stems and fruit of the plant contain natural antioxidant compounds called ginsenosides, along with many other health-promoting agents.
And, it’s these compounds and agents that give ginseng it’s miraculous all-healing reputation…
Often termed an “adaptogenic” herb, ginseng helps the body adapt to almost any adverse situation. It’s potent effects on the HPA axis help the body to regulate both the hormonal and immune systems at the same time.
So, in terms of stress it can be used as both a tonic and rejuvenator, effectively suppressing the stress response, which of course, prevents the vicious stress cycle from occurring.
Because ginseng stops the stress response cycle, it also stops the subsequent immune response, which means it prevents the inflammatory cascade that occurs throughout the body’s cells that can lead to disease.
Ginseng’s reported benefits are many:
- Treating organ damage
- Improving metabolic health
- Boosting memory and brain function
- Enhancing athletic performance
- Stimulating immune function
- Decreasing acute and chronic inflammation
- Cardiovascular protection
- Anti-cancer agent
- Supporting optimal central nervous system function
- Enhancing well-being
Ginseng is available as supplements, extract or tea.
Just be aware that ginseng is potent and can interact with some medications, particularly blood thinners, antidepressants, antipsychotics, morphine and some diabetic medications. Always check with your doctor before taking supplements if you are on medications.
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- Lee S & Rhee DK. Effects of ginseng on stress-related depression, anxiety, and the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis. — J Ginseng Res. 2017:1-6.
- Ginseng — 2009. Drugs.com. Retrieved July 26, 2017.