Complementary and Alternative Medicine Study Shows How Integrative Medicine Can Treat Stress
In today’s world, Stress more than ever will have an impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing. With the current pandemic, we have realized that we cannot control our life. Life has always been like this! But we often run from our fears instead of dealing with them.
When one encounters a perceived threat, e.g. a large Doberman barking while walking, the amygdala, an area of the brain, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system by sending signals through the autonomic nerves to the adrenal glands. These glands respond by releasing epinephrine/ adrenaline) into the bloodstream. This increases heart rate elevates the blood pressure and boosts energy supplies.
If the brain continues to perceive something as dangerous, the hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), this travels to the pituitary releases adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which prompts the adrenal gland to release cortisol. When the threat passes, cortisol levels fall. The parasympathetic nervous system then dampens the stress response.
Prolonged stress can lead to high levels of cortisol being produced, which can result in a series of disorders such as low levels of serotonin, which can lead to anxiety, panic and melancholic depression. Other effects include weight gain, increased blood sugar levels, suppressed immune system, digestive disorders and heart disease.Integrative Medicine Approach
So how can Integrative Medicine help treat prolonged stress?
Integrative Medicine uses herbal remedies as one of the therapeutic options of treating stress in combination with other stress-reduction techniques such as yoga, mindfulness, tai chi, meditation, lifeline technique, imagery and the cornerstone of stress treatment, i.e. diet. Selecting the appropriate herb, vitamin, exercise and discipline that brings the individual into presence is the key to successful treatment outcomes, and this Integrative medicine strategy does work when correctly followed.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Ashawagandha or Withaniasomnifera is a commonly used herb in Ayurvedic Medicine. Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub that grows in India, the Middle East, and Africa. The herb is also called Indian ginseng or winter cherry. In Ayurvedic Medicine, Withania is considered a Rasayana, which means that it promotes longevity, prevents ageing, provides positive physical and emotional health.
As serum cortisol levels correlate to stress, a Complementary and Alternative Medicine research study by Salve et al in 2019 has shown that Ashwagandha root reduces levels of serum cortisol, which elevates in stressful conditions.
Therefore, taking Ashwagandha for at least 12 weeks in conjunction with exercise and lifestyle modifications can help people with anxiety. In another Complementary and Alternative Medicine study, Chandrasekhar et al. in 2012 carried out a single centre, prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. The treated group took one capsule (300mg) twice a day for 60 days. The researchers concluded, ‘The findings of this study suggest that a high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life’.
Different herbs and diet, along with specific lifestyle modifications are recommended to treat the various Stress disorders. Therefore, it is recommended that people suffering from Stress consider the Apple A Day RX Life-Changing Wellness Lifestyle and Dietary Advice