Several years ago while living in New York City I got stressed. It got so out of control that I would lay my head down on the pillow at night and my thoughts would keep running…..and running and running. I felt exhausted all the time and it started showing up on my face. This is bad news when you earn a living as a model. My roommate had a prescription for Xanax and one night she gave me a pill and I thought I had found the magic answer. Unfortunately that was a short term solution that just masked a greater problem and knowing I was covering up the issue just caused me more stress! Not wanting to rely on prescription drugs I searched for a better solution- green medicine.
For almost a year I attended classes at the New York Open Center led by homeopath and herbalist Peeka Trenkle. I learned natural ways to combat everything from burns to bad dreams. The classes were fascinating and they also gave me an excuse to get out of the city on weekends and hunt for plants in the wilderness. About halfway through my courses I learned about adaptogens. Their name says it all- they help your body adapt to stressful situations by working on your adrenal system. They’re called adaptogens because of their ability to “adapt” their function according to your body’s specific needs. At that time my need was to slow down, stop and smell the roses and rest. My teacher recommended a tea of the loose herbs lemon balm, chamomile and nettles( yes, stinging nettles!) at the time. At first the difference was subtle but over time I noticed it was easier to fall asleep at night and my heart wasn’t racing in my chest so often. As I started feeling better I decided to take more action and meditate, take yoga classes and lay down and read more. It’s amazing when one system of the body starts working how the others desires to follow suit.
I stopped taking adaptogens when I became pregnant with my son. There is no research on whether they are safe during pregnancy so it’s best to be cautious. When I finished nursing him and was really looking to regain my energy I began taking a powdered formula each morning with herbs like wolf berry, eleuthero, rhodiola, ashwagandha and maca. I had forgotten what a difference adaptogens made in my life. My sleep was more restful and I was recovering from my workouts like never before. Let’s just say my hormones were more manageable too!
They truly are magic. If your body is under stress of any kind, physical or mental I encourage you to give them a try!