Adrenal fatigue treatment using natural herbal remedies is a wonderful way to take advantage of the healing power of nature. In our first blog Why Am I Tired All the Time?, we revealed the reason behind the profound connection between stress and fatigue, and how a simple at-home saliva laboratory test can be used to help you discover whether stress is the true underlying source of your persistent fatigue. Your body’s cortisol levels, measured in your saliva at different times during the day and night, can indicate whether your HPA-axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) is functioning normally or not. This HPA axis is your stress-response system, and when it becomes dysfunctional you have “adrenal fatigue” and begin to feel 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!
Adrenal fatigue treatment helps you recover from stress-related fatigue
The good news is stress-related fatigue can be healed! While there’s no quick fix, it is possible to get your body’s stress-response system back in balance and regain your energy, even when stress has rendered you exhausted, and even if an adrenal fatigue test shows that you have a dysfunctional HPA-axis marked by abnormal cortisol secretion. The key to effective adrenal fatigue treatment is to consistently provide your body with the raw materials it needs to re-balance its HPA-axis. Much to the surprise of mainstream, conventional medical practitioners, clinical trials have validated the effectiveness of many natural fatigue remedies.
Herbs known as adaptogens are nature’s perfect adrenal fatigue treatment. Adaptogens are medicinal plants that have been shown to normalize body functions, strengthen systems compromised by stress, and increase attention and endurance in fatigue. 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.
Rhodiola and Ashwagandha: two excellent herbal remedies for stress-related fatigue
Two well-researched adaptogens that are effective for adrenal fatigue treatment are Rhodiola and Ashwagandha.
• Rhodiola. The roots of this powerful little plant, known as Arctic Root, are fabled to be responsible for the extraordinary strength and endurance of the ancient Vikings. Recent research has confirmed Rhodiola’s ability to act as a natural adaptogen, reducing physical and mental fatigue related to chronic stress. A study in individuals diagnosed with stress-related fatigue syndrome found that 288 mg Rhodiola extract twice a day for 28 days significantly reduced fatigue compared to placebo . The rhodiola treatment also corrected the subjects’ morning cortisol levels and significantly improved their scores on tests of attention and memory. Other clinical trials using Rhodiola have also found statistically significant reductions in fatigue and improvements in many fatigue-related areas, such as physical fitness, concentration, mental performance, sleep patterns, motivation, mood, and general well-being . Rhodiola is safe; it does not interact with other drugs or cause adverse effects. Look for a standardized extract containing rosavins and salidrosides in a 3 to 1 ratio, the same concentration in which these constituents naturally occur in the plant’s roots. Take your Rhodiola extract twice a day for a total daily dose of at least 576 mg.
• Ashwagandha. If you’re constantly “tired but wired,” Ashwagandha may be the natural adrenal fatigue treatment for you. Compared to Rhodiola and other adaptogens, such as Panax Ginseng, Ashwagandha is the most calming and the best for treating stress-related fatigue accompanied by symptoms of anxiety. In a recent clinical study, people complaining of high amounts of mental stress were given 300 mg Ashwagandha root extract twice a day for 60 days . Test scores for physical-related stress symptoms (like fatigue) dropped by 76 percent, compared to only a 4.9 percent reduction in those taking the placebo. In the Ashwagandha group there was also a 70 percent reduction in anxiety and insomnia scores, a 69 percent reduction in social dysfunction scores, and a 79 percent reduction in depression scores, compared to reductions of only 11.6 percent, 3.7 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively, in the placebo group. Ashwagandha is botanically known as Withania somnifera and is commonly known as Indian Ginseng or Winter Cherry. The roots of the Ashwagandha plant contain a broad range of medicinally important constituents like withanolides and sitoindosides that on the body’s nervous, immune, energy-production, and endocrine systems.
Comprehensive adrenal fatigue treatment using herbs, vitamins, and diet will help you get your energy back.
Making sure you’re getting plenty B vitamins and vitamin C is also critical for optimal adrenal function. To enhance the effects of natural fatigue-fighting adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Rhodiola, take a B-complex supplement and 500 mg of vitamin C twice a day, and include plenty of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables in your diet. For comprehensive adrenal fatigue treatment, it is also important to eat in a way that stabilizes your blood sugar levels as much as possible since adrenal fatigue taxes your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. So, skip the high glycemic foods like sugar and white flour and eat frequently, always including fiber, protein, and healthy fats in your meals and snacks. It doesn’t hurt to take some nice, deep breaths and spend time outdoors, either. Stress-related fatigue doesn’t improve overnight, but after a couple of weeks on an adaptogen, you should start feeling a difference in your energy levels.
1. Planta Med. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-12.
2. Phytomedicine. 2010 Jun;17(7):481-93.
3. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62.
Contributing editor Kathleen Jade, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Physician in the Seattle area where she conducts natural health research and writes for Natural Health Advisory Institute. Contact Dr. Kathleen by commenting on one of her blogs. She has written a recently released e-Book Fatigue Causes and Relief: Natural Remedies for Excessive Tiredness and Chronic Fatigue.
Photos by Dreamstime
If you are suffering from persistent tiredness or longstanding fatigue, you know firsthand how feeling tired all the time takes its toll on your body and mind. Relentless fatigue slowly erodes your health and your ability to cope with life, let alone your ability to enjoy life and live it to its fullest.
Fatigue is a symptom, not a disease in and of itself, and it has multiple potential underlying causes. Although fatigue is one of the most frequent complaints to health care practitioners, most of the time no underlying cause is ever identified and no treatment is offered, at least not within the realm of conventional Western medicine. Natural health practitioners and integrative medicine physicians, on the other hand, address their patients’ fatigue more comprehensively while looking at the whole person and searching for specific underlying causes. In most cases, your body has the innate ability to heal itself if given the right conditions and nutrients.
This article on the adrenal fatigue test process is the first of a four-part series on natural medicine approaches to fatigue. We’ll delve into the latest research uncovering some of the most common underlying causes of fatigue, and we’ll look at what natural fatigue remedies have been found effective in clinical studies. The latest research supports the powerful and dramatic effects that natural treatments can have on your ability to overcome persistent fatigue. We start with the profound connection between stress and fatigue. A key first step is to use a simple adrenal fatigue test that can help you discover whether stress and a poor functioning adrenal gland is the true underlying source of your fatigue.
Part 1: One Common Answer to, “Why Am I Tired All the Time?” is The Stress/Fatigue Connection
The answer to your burning question, “Why am I tired all the time?” may simply be this: your body’s ability to manage stress effectively by means of the adrenal glands has been compromised. Chronic or excessive stress disrupts the normal functioning of the body’s stress response system. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of this disruption. The stress response system, known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, or HPA-axis for short, is the physiological system that connects the brain and nervous system to the endocrine (hormone-secreting) adrenal glands. The adrenals release cortisol, a key hormone involved in this system. Of all the hormones involved in the HPA axis, cortisol has one of the most direct relationships with energy levels and fatigue. Having either too little cortisol (chronic fatigue syndrome, burnout/exhaustion) or too much cortisol (depression, post traumatic stress disorder) can be the source of serious fatigue issues.
The adrenal fatigue test for HPA-axis dysfunction reveals cortisol levels and rhythm
To determine whether the HPA axis is functioning properly, natural medicine practitioners often use a salivary cortisol test, commonly referred to as an “adrenal fatigue test” to measure the body’s cortisol levels and daily rhythm. With the growing availability of direct-access labs, the adrenal fatigue test can now be ordered in most states in the US directly by individuals without a doctor’s involvement. With this simple, relatively inexpensive type of testing, you take home a kit and provide saliva samples at specific times during the day. After sending this directly to the lab, they send your adrenal fatigue test results to you by mail. Note that the adrenal fatigue test goes by different names depending on the laboratory running the test; you may find it listed as the “Adrenal Stress Index” test.
Studies using the adrenal fatigue test have shown that fatigue is most often associated with low salivary cortisol levels upon waking in the morning and/or a “flat slope” in cortisol secretion throughout the day. In other words, rather than having cortisol levels that start out highest in the morning and then slowly drop off during the day, fatigued patients most often have levels that are too low in the morning and/or don’t drop off as they should. The adrenal fatigue test reports the results in a way that charts where your cortisol levels are at each time period during the day compared to a reference lower and upper range so you’ll be able to tell immediately if yours are abnormal. If they are, you probably have the most common form of HPA-axis dysfunction, and this is the likely cause of your fatigue and exhaustion.
Even those who score horribly on an adrenal fatigue test can enjoy bountiful energy again
Luckily, stress-related fatigue can be healed. Even if your adrenal fatigue test shows that you have a dysfunctional HPA-axis and abnormal cortisol secretion, you can regain your energy and get your stress response system working optimally again. The key is to provide your body with the raw materials it needs to re-balance the HPA axis. This typically involves making some changes in diet and lifestyle and taking some natural nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and herbal medicines known as adaptogens. Studies have shown these botanical medicines and supplemental nutrients have astonishingly sophisticated capabilities to restore HPA axis function. Now that you’ve seen how the adrenal fatigue test uncovers whether stress is causing your fatigue, stay tuned for part 2 of this series. You may never have to again ask yourself, “Why am I tired all the time?” after you learn about these remarkable all-natural treatments for stress-related fatigue.
Contributing editor to NaturalHealthAdvisory.com, Kathleen Jade, ND, is a licensed Naturopathic Physician in the Seattle area where she conducts natural health research and writes for Natural Health Advisory Institute. Contact Dr. Kathleen by commenting on one of her blogs. She has written a recently released e-Book Fatigue Causes and Relief: Natural Remedies for Excessive Tiredness and Chronic Fatigue.
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Nov;34(10):1476-85.
Photos by Dreamstime
Reposted with permission from Nation of Change.
Soda is quite possibly the most vilified food/beverage on the market, and for good reason. The beverage offers zero nutritional value, all while increasing the risk of countless diseases. But even with everything we know as a society, soda sales continue upward, and so do the number of studies showcasing the negative effects of the popular drink. According to one recent study, consuming about one soda per day increases a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 40 percent compared to someone who never touches the beverage.
The Swedish study, coming from Lund University and recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, focused on the associations between carbohydrates and their food sources in regards to prostate cancer risk. The researchers followed 8,128 men ages 45 to 73 for an average of 15 years. All were reported to be in good health.
Overall, it was found that fast-releasing carbohydrates and sugary drinks increased the risk of the most aggressive forms of prostate cancer. But for soda specifically, the researchers found that men who drank 300 milliliters of soda each day (slightly less than one can) were more likely to develop the type of prostate cancer that requires treatment.
“Among the men who drank a lot of soft drinks or other drinks with added sugar, we saw an increased risk of prostate cancer of around 40 percent,” lead researcher Dr. Isabel Drake said.
In addition to the concerning association between soda consumption and increased prostate cancer risk, the researchers also found that men consuming a high amount of carbohydrates from wheat, rice and pasta increased their risk of developing milder forms of prostate cancer by 31 percent. These forms typically required no treatment. Men consuming sugary breakfast cereals saw a 38 percent increase in developing milder forms of prostate cancer as well.
Also outlining an association between soda and increased cancer risk, another study from University of Minnesota School of Public Health found that 87 percent of the approximately 60,000 test subjects were likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and soda played a role.
“The important take away from our study is that habitual consumption of soft drinks may be linked to an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. In response to any criticisms, I’d like to point out that our results align with a recent Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health meta-analysis of studies on this topic, including ours, which found that soft drink consumption was indeed positively associated with pancreatic cancer risk,” Noel Mueller, a University of Minnesota School of Public Health doctorate student and first author on Pereira’s study, told AlterNet.
With soda increasing your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes and even cancer, it’s more important than ever to reduce soda consumption on a national and global level. The average person is consuming 300 percent more sugar than recommended each day, while kids are taking in 7 trillion calories of sugar from soda each year. By dropping the cola, you can dramatically reduce your risk of countless ailments and improve overall health exponentially.
Photo by fotolia/Markus Mainka
Sometimes summer can be tough on your skin, especially if you’re fair-skinned or sensitive. Between insect bites, rashes, and summer acne, it can be enough to make you want to cover up and hide out.
Common Summer Skin Problems
• Sun Allergy
There are three different types of sun allergy; polymorphous light eruption, solar urticaria, and light-sensitive eczema. Sun allergy is caused by an excess of histamines or a reaction to antihistamines and some arthritis medications.
• Insect Bites and Stings
There are too many mosquitoes, ants, spiders, and bees out there to avoid them all. Whether you’re camping in the deep woods or just hanging out on your back deck, insect bites and stings are just part of the summer experience.
If you’re fair-complected, sunburn is always a concern. When using sunscreen, be careful of the brand you use. Research has shown that many commercial sunscreens contain dangerous toxins that may increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
One of the most common summer skin problems is the dreaded rash. Sun allergy, hives, poison ivy, and heat rash can turn smooth, blemish-free skin into an itchy nightmare.
• Summer Acne
It doesn’t seem fair. The warmer the weather gets, the worse you’re acne and that’s when you’re showing off your skin the most. Heat, humidity, and excessive sweat irritates your pores, worsening acne breakouts.
• Razor Bumps
Razor bumps are the worst. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter how sharp your razor is or how careful you shave, you still get those unsightly and embarrassing bumps.
• Dry Skin
Your skin loses more moisture in the summer months. It’s also exposed to UV rays and salt water that can crack and roughen even the smoothest skin.
The Best Summer Skin with Natural Remedies
You can have the best summer skin ever with these 5 versatile and inexpensive natural remedies:
• Coconut Oil
Many commercial skin lotions contain toxins, skin irritants, and carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). To keep your summer skin smooth, glowing, and blemish-free, switch to organic coconut oil. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, a potent antioxidant that fights inflammation and the free radicals that cause premature aging.
You can also prevent razor burn by shaving with coconut oil. Coconut oil lubricates and protects your skin. Just step into the shower and allow the warm water to open your pores. Slather on a generous amount of coconut oil and shave as you normally would. Rinse.
• Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a mild astringent that takes the sting out of bug bites, soothes hives, and treats sun-damaged skin. It even helps treat and prevent summer acne breakouts. This inexpensive skin remedy contains tannins to treat inflammation and balance your skin’s delicate pH balance. For quick relief, pour some witch hazel onto a clean cotton ball and smooth over irritated, sunburned, or bug-bitten skin.
• Rubbing Alcohol
Most summer skin problems are no match for the drying effects of rubbing alcohol. This cheap natural skin remedy instantly takes the sting out of sunburn and dries poison ivy to prevent spread.
• Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar is a good natural remedy to keep in stock during the summer months. Apple cider vinegar takes the heat out of sunburned skin almost instantly. It contains malic acid, a powerful antibacterial agent that treats and prevents summer breakouts.
• French Clay
There are plenty of mud masks on the market but a lot of them contain dangerous additives. French clay contains only one skin-soothing ingredient: Green clay. This highly-absorbable clay contains healing minerals like silica, magnesium, potassium, titanium, sodium, and phosphorus to soothe and detoxify your skin. Use it weekly to clear up acne breakouts and tighten pores.
When you get rid of summer skin problems, you’ll be proud to show yourself to the world.
What is Bronchitis?
Bronchitis is inflammation and infection of the lining of the bronchial tubes. Symptoms of bronchitis include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, fatigue, heavy and multicolored mucus production (clear, white, yellow, green), and persistent cough.
There are two types of bronchitis: Acute and chronic. Acute bronchitis comes on suddenly as a result of a cold or flu virus. Chronic bronchitis is often the result of cigarette smoking, allergies, and air pollution.
Natural Treatments for Bronchitis
If you are intolerant to conventional antibiotics or they have stopped working for you, you have several natural options to treat your bronchitis.
Oregano oil is one of the strongest natural antibiotics on the planet. Its incredible antioxidant capacity makes it the go-to solution for flu prevention and natural bronchitis treatment. The active ingredient in this herb is carvacrol, a phenol anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory that eases chest congestion and eradicates disease.
You can take oregano oil in capsule form (250 milligrams 2 times per day until symptoms subside) or liquid form. In liquid form, use 5-10 drops of pure oregano oil in a four-ounce glass of water twice per day until symptoms subside. Always use a straw to drink pure oregano oil even in water as the pure oil can burn your lips.
Eucalyptus oil is another natural treatment for bronchitis that can be used to open up inflamed airways. Though eucalyptus oil isn’t mean to be taken internally, you can put 5-10 drops in a hot bath and breathe in the steam to relieve chest congestion. Alternatively, you can mix eucalyptus oil with olive, neem or coconut oil and rub it on your chest and throat for quick relief. Eucalyptus contains cineole, a powerful antiseptic that makes it a good remedy to have around during cold and flu season.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract selectively blocks and prevents viral replication and is one of the most powerful antibiotics known to man. Olive leaf extract treats bronchitis naturally, boosts your immune system, heals inflammation, and treats fatigue. This powerful natural antibiotic has been used to effectively treat herpes infection, chronic candida, shingles, hepatitis, and more.
Allicin is the main compound that gives garlic its powerful antiviral, antibacterial properties. For best results, crush or chop organic garlic fine and mix it into raw honey. Swallow, don’t chew the mixture. Use twice per day until symptoms subside.
Onion is another powerful natural antibiotic you can use to treat your bronchitis. Chop up a bit of organic onion and mix it with raw honey. For added benefit, mix in cayenne pepper and oregano leaves. Swallow, don’t chew the mixture. Use twice per day until symptoms subside.
Raw Honey and Cinnamon
Raw honey is an excellent food remedy for bronchitis. Raw honey contains essential vitamins, minerals,
antioxidants, and enzymes to heal your body from the inside out. This alkaline-forming food stabilizes your immune system, relieves inflammation, and eliminates the allergies that can contribute to bronchitis.
Adding cinnamon to raw honey turns the mixture into a strong anti-inflammatory bronchitis and allergy treatment. Mixing these two common food ingredients together strengthens your immune system and prevents the development of future cold and flu viruses.
Research has shown that thyme is an effective herbal remedy for bronchitis. According to a German study, cough and mucus production was reduced by over 60% with a combination of thyme and primrose. The best way to use thyme to treat bronchitis is to make tea. Use two teaspoons of fresh thyme and add boiling water. Allow to steep for at least 5 minutes. Sip. Drink twice per day to open airways, decrease cough, and speed healing.
Bronchitis can be difficult to get rid of, especially if you have a chronic pulmonary condition. These natural treatments for bronchitis can have you breathing easier in a matter of a couple of days and keep you from developing more serious health problems in the future.
If you are going to be successful in life — even if that just means creating a loving family or strong personal relationships, being a good person, or selling your handmade soap or paintings at a local crafts fair — you’ve got to stop making excuses.
If you want to get in better shape, or lose weight, or write that children’s book or start that gift shop or sell your artwork, you’ve got to do what all successful people do: go for it, unencumbered by the ball and chain of excuse-making.
Successful people don’t make excuses for not accomplishing things.
They point their eyes in the direction they want to go, and they start moving in that direction.
Success for many of us comes one step at a time. And it is often followed by many stumbles along the way.
Keep in mind success won’t come over night, but it will come if you sustain your effort day after day after day week after week, year after year.
I started my writing career at age 18, but it wasn’t until age 32 that I signed my first book contract. My file cabinets are filled with rejected short stories, novels that never made it, and a few nonfiction books that never seemed to make the cut.
I never gave up, though. I wanted to be a professional writer more than anything else in my life. I loved writing so much, I would have done it if it were illegal!
So, I suffered through a long, steady stream of rejection slips, never letting my passion for writing and my desire for success to wane.
Sure, I was disappointed from time to time, but I never gave up.
But I never stopped believing in myself.
I never stopped honing my craft.
I also never stopped studying markets and trying to figure out ways to sell my work.
I read books and magazine articles on writing. I studied what others did by reading everything I could get my hands on. I experimented. I reviewed my own work critically and kept trying to make it better.
I even discovered a few secrets of successful writing that could help turn any mediocre writer into a sellable author.
I didn’t make excuses for rejection slips, though, I wanted to. I didn’t give up because the chances of getting a novel published when the chances of getting a first novel when I first started my fiction-writing career were 16,000 to 1. That is, there were 16,000 rejected novels (in the 1970s) for every novel that was awarded a contract.
Those odds would have daunted the most dauntless among us. Not me.
So, whatever it is you want to achieve, drop any excuses and get started. You can’t make it to your destination if you don’t try.
Don’t ever doubt yourself.
Hold on to your passion.
Remember, the world is full of 10-year overnight successes— people who struggled for years to become a success.
Never stop learning and trying to improve.
Leave the excuses for losers and pave your pathway with persistence, hard work, continual self-improvement, a little more hard work and diligence, dogged determination, perseverance, and then throw in a little more hard work for good measure. And tomorrow, start all over again.
But just never, ever give up.
Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on Google+.
When we began road-testing top DIY toothpaste recipes here at Old School, we found that almost all called for glycerin, an ingredient that demanded immediate Googling to discover if we could make it from scratch. What’s with glycerin? It’s a soap-making byproduct with antibacterial properties, but it’s often made with animal fat derivatives, which isn’t really our thing. So, we figured out how to make our own veggie version with coconut oil, opening up a whole world of kitchen pantry beauty concoctions (and gave us a bonus bar of soap).
Here's what you'll need:
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp lye
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup salt
- large saucepan
- large bowl
- safety goggles
- rubber gloves
- candy thermometer
- airtight glass bottle
- mold for soap
Here’s how to make glycerin:
- Put on safety goggles and rubber gloves. Pour one cup of coconut oil and one cup olive oil into large saucepan and place on stovetop on high heat. Carefully add two tbsp lye and one cup cold water.
- Using a cooking thermometer to maintain temperature, heat mixture in saucepan to 125 degrees F, stirring regularly until the mixture is thoroughly blended. Reduce the heat to 100 degrees F.
- Stir the mixture with a spoon for up to 15 minutes, watching for "tracing," i.e., when the mixture thickens enough to maintain the outline of the spoon’s path for several seconds.
- Once tracing occurs, add a 1/2 cup salt and allow mixture to cool. Once cooled, soap will be curdled on top and glycerin will be left under it. Skim off the soap and pour it into a soap mold (win!).
- Pour the glycerin into a glass bottle and seal tightly. Store in the refrigerator, where it will last for 3-4 weeks.
Old School brings back-to-the-basics content with a modern twist. Whether you want to learn to tie a bow tie, raise chickens in an urban environment, give yourself a honey facial, or drink your own homemade limoncello, Old School provides the needed inspiration and instruction to learn those skills. In just 4 months, Old School has garnered 9K Facebook likes, and a rapidly expanding fanbase that is extremely enthusiastic about our unique, visually breath-taking tutorials.