Adrenal Nourish™ for an Active Life
How often do we answer the question, “How have you been?” with the declaration, “Busy!” Indeed, it seems that at the same time we are busier and more stressed, society is offering its permission to do even more. In fact, not only does society offer its permission, it offers encouragement and kudos. But at what cost? Doing more often comes at the expense of our bodies and our minds, and stress lends its effects in both large and small ways, from complaints of fatigue and sleep and digestive disturbances to body aches, anxiety, and a general lack of well-being.
Stress & the Adrenal Glands
The stress response in our bodies directly affects many different systems. Phenomenally, there are two tiny glands that regulate much of this stress mechanism by producing the body’s chief stress hormones—epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. These hormones—along with aldosterone, testosterone, and DHEA—also regulate other vital bodily functions, such as metabolism, immunity, blood pressure balance, and many others. The adrenal glands are small but mighty. Weighing in at just about 5 grams each, the tasks they perform for our bodies, and for our very existence, are monumental.
Here are a few of the most common signs of adrenal gland imbalance:
- Lethargy in the morning
- Fatigue throughout the day
- A sense that you cannot handle stress
- Craving of salty foods
- More energy in the evenings
- Weakened immune system
- Mood changes
- Dry skin
- Mild decreases in blood pressure
Adrenal Fatigue From an Ayurvedic Perspective
Speaking Ayurvedically, the adrenal glands belong to meda vaha srotas, loosely defined as the channel of fat and lubrication. In fact, the adrenal glands are the root of this channel, and as such provide nourishment for all fatty tissue in the body. As the adrenal glands sit on top of each kidney, these two organs are intimately connected. The two doshas that work in opposing forces to maintain balance of this gland are kapha and vata. Kapha's role is to nourish, and in a balanced state, the body is well nurtured and lubricated. But in overdrive, as the adrenal glands are overloaded, we deplete healthy kapha and promote high vata systemically, especially throughout the nervous system. Physiologically, this depletion of kapha is one of the factors in the seemingly pervasive condition that many coin as adrenal fatigue. This is essentially a state where the adrenal glands do not secrete their hormone and molecular signals appropriately because the brain is in a state of emergency, trying to preserve energy for more vital functions of the body (such as the heart or lungs). Because the adrenal glands and their functions are hindered, the fluidness and lubrication that kapha provides, especially in the form of ojas, literally dries up.
Given the light mobile quality of vata, the inability of the mind and body to stop further compounds the state of high vata. Because vata dosha governs the nervous system, movement, and communication, one can see how elevated vata dosha pushes the other doshas out of balance, thus leading our body into a litany of complaints. (For a deeper investigation into adrenal health from an Ayurvedic perspective, you will appreciate reading our adrenal health guide.)
An Herbal Formula for Stress & the Adrenal Glands
There are myriad of ways we can support our bodies and our minds, and simple shifts can make a tremendous difference in our well-being. Herbs are one offering we can make to our health and to our lives every day, in addition to some holistic lifestyle practices. Please welcome Adrenal Nourish™ to our Banyan family of herbal blends, a unique formula designed to support you and your lifestyle by aiding healthy functioning of the adrenal glands, while also contributing to the overall balance of the nervous system—often the root of adrenal imbalance. Adrenal Nourish utilizes the qualities of many adaptogenic herbs, whose properties inherently help to modify the body’s reaction to stress.
Ashwagandha is the Ayurvedic panacea herb, nourishing and strengthening to the body’s tissues, with the ability to promote both energy and deep rest. Numerous clinical studies support its ability to support energy, sleep, appetite, and healthy stress hormone levels. For instance, in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 300 mg of ashwagandha taken twice daily showed a healthy balance of cortisol levels and healthy weight measurements, as well as improved scores on questionnaires asking about common stress and food craving.1 Similarly, a survey study using ashwagandha sourced from Banyan Botanicals showed that taking 1200 mg two times a day improved sleep quality by 66.0%, enhanced overall subjective perception of emotional health by 42%, and overall social life by 45.8%!
Eleuthero is a star Western herb for adrenal health and is applauded for its ability to fight against stress, fatigue, sleep challenges, and even accompanying mood changes. Additionally, it directly nourishes the adrenal glands.
Mucuna pruriens, or kapikacchu, is a natural source of L-dopa, a precursor to dopamine with an affinity for the brain and nervous system, giving it a high reputation for calming vata in the nervous system. Gokshura offers support to the genitourinary system, including the kidneys with their close relation to the adrenal glands. Brahmi/gotu kola is another adaptogen that helps with the body’s overall reaction to stress, especially utilizing its cooling properties and its effect on the brain and nervous system. Adrenal Nourish is further enhanced by guduchi, tulsi, licorice, and ginger. Research has shown that adaptogens in particular are able to “smooth out” the body’s stress response, and we may be able to glean that by supporting the mind and body, we influence the health of the adrenal glands, ensuring that they will be able to support us when we need it most.
Adrenal Nourish is a wonderful companion for managing the stress and the often hectic pace of everyday life. Consider this superstar blend of adaptogens the next time you’re in search of nourishment for you and your adrenal glands!