When we stop to think about what makes someone or thing evil, what images spring to mind? For most of us it is some dark and sinister man bent on their destruction, while for others it can be something as simple as a temptation. Whatever the case is for you there are some instances in which those same evils can be necessary. Take stress for example, in the right situation stress is something that occurs naturally and can even help save your life. While too much stress or even prolonged exposure to stress can have devastating effects.
Stress Over The Years
Stress has become such a common aspect throughout our lives that it can be hard to even recall a time when we were without it. In the past, and I mean way back in the past when we were not at the top of the food chain and apex predators were a daily threat, stress served it’s true purpose. Stress helped to keep you alive! When a predator or other life threatening situation occurred our bodies would naturally release a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol helps to activate the bodies defensive strategy also known as fight, flight, and freeze. In the past, exposure to this hormone occurred in short bursts after which point our bodies would take the necessary time to recover.
A Different Time
While we may no longer live in a time where we are constantly interacting with apex predators our bodies are still responding to stress. Unfortunately, the number of stressors has increased exponentially. Not only do we have more stressors we have created lifestyles in which we are constantly exposed to them. The stressor of avoiding predators still exists within us (this is why we avoid playing with wild bears and other predatory animals) but it is now joined by a plethora of new triggers such as looming deadlines, money, kids, work, the economy, the health care crisis, etc. The list goes on and on.
A Necessary Evil
There are some definite advantages in no longer living in a prehistoric time such as easier access to food and comforts. Our current comforts come with a cost, much higher stress levels. Cortisol is a steroid hormone designed to help keep us alive. However, prolonged exposure to this hormone or even an excess of it can create a laundry list of health related issues. Fortunately for us Mother nature has created multiple ways for us to safely and naturally reduce our Cortisol levels. I have posted articles in the past regarding nutritional foods to help keep our Cortisol levels in check. That is why this article focuses on different herbs and spices you can add to your daily routine to combat your stress.
Spice It Up
If you are like me, and prefer not to take multiple vitamins you may prefer to use these herbs and spices to help reduce your Cortisol levels.
Herbs and Spices to help lower your Cortisol levels:
- Holy Basil
- Astragalus Root
- Licorice Root
- Cordycep Mushrooms
Maca is a root native to the Peruvian Andes mountains. It is a cruciferous vegetable that has an earthy mild almost nutty flavor. It comes in a variety of colors such as red and yellow. Yellow is the most popular variety of maca. Maca comes with a number of health benefits. Some of the more commonly known are in regards to its ability to improve fertility function. Maca can help increase libido, reduce erectile dysfunction, increase semen quality and quantity, helps provide optimal environment for conception in women. Some of its other benefits include: improved mood, stress reduction, improved memory and brain function, blood pressure regulation, increased stamina and energy levels, and even reducing the harmful effects of sun damage. All these benefits make maca a must for all nutritional routines. One of my favorite things about maca is the fact that it is so easy to incorporate into your favorite recipes!
Ginseng is another historically popular herb known for its energizing and rejuvenating properties. It is high in antioxidants which make it act as a natural anti-aging herb. Ginseng can improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetes. It has anti-viral properties. Ginseng can also aid in mental performance. One of the main reasons ginseng makes it to the top of the list for herbal choices to reduce Cortisol levels is for its ability to reduce stress. It also helps combat low energy and fatigue. While ginseng comes from a bush, typically it is just the root of the plant that is utilized for its medicinal purposes.
Holy basil also known as tulsi, is most commonly used as a landscaping plant. However, there are several reasons why you should be harvesting leaves from these ornamental shrubs. Holy basil has some amazing benefits for your overall health. Such as: pain reliever, hair growth stimulation, headache relief, oral health, colds, fever, coughs and flu, bronchial complaints, anti-inflammatory, and anti-rheumatic to name a few. The benefits that make holy basil a must for this list are: reducing high blood pressure, memory enhancement, preventing diabetes, and heart health promotion. While it is safe to consume even in moderately high doses, consumption of holy basil for prolonged periods may affect female fertility (this is due to the fact that women need Cortisol for fetal development).
Astragalus root is a tropical plant that grows to be around one foot tall with hairy stems and leaves. It is a flowering plant that has been used in Chinese, Persian, and Asian cultures for thousands of years. Some of astragalus roots health benefits are: anti-aging, antioxidants, increases strength and performance, improves heart function, strengthens the immune system, and aids in the reduction of stress. Flavor wise astragalus has a grassy almost bitter taste and does better when paired with something sweater such as licorice root.
Licorice root is great as a tea and tastes like black licorice. It provides a number of health benefits. Licorice tea is known for being able to help provide relief from an upset stomach. It’s anti-inflammatory properties help soothe and alleviate pain in the gut. While also aiding in the rebuilding of stomach lining promoting further gut health. Licorice root helps to reduce the production of phlegm and open the airways effectively reducing respiratory issues. It also aids in the soothing of sore throats. Lastly, licorice can improve the adrenal system which helps your body sustain healthy levels of Cortisol.
Rhodiola is an adaptogen herb. It provides protection to your body’s cells from oxidative stress and damage. Some of its health benefits include: stress and anxiety reduction, lower exhaustion, reduce fatigue, aids in headache relief, and helps to enhance the rate of the body’s metabolism. It contains salidroside that causes the inhibition of growth and spread of cancer cells. Rhodiola aids the nervous system and improves the coordination of motor sensory nerves. It also helps stabilize blood pressure. All these benefits and more make it an ideal herb to help lower Cortisol levels. An ideal dosage of Rhodiola would be around 100-200mg a day, ideally in the morning. After a few weeks you can add an additional dose of 100-200mg in the middle of the day. Do not take in the evening due to its ability to induce insomnia.
Cordyceps Mushrooms are an adaptogen making them an ideal addition to aid in a healthy adrenal gland. Because it is not a stimulant it helps you maintain constant energy levels. It does this by activating the body’s own energy production in the cells. Whether working out or looking for a balanced afternoon pick me up, cordyceps are a natural way to restore and maintain energy levels. This peculiar type of fungi develops from the Fungal mummification of the Bat-moth Caterpillar. It is native to the Himalayan Mountains and most commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Cordyceps can also help with: improved liver health, stress reduction, increased fertility and sex drive, lower bad cholesterol while improving good cholesterol, and anti-aging.
Mother Knows Best
It is clear to see that Mother nature has provided us with an array of all natural options that can help us reduce our Cortisol levels safely. By now I am sure you are wondering if there is a way to incorporate these herbs and spices into some of your favorite treats. No worries, this article comes with a delicious recipe for hormone balancing fudge. Because let’s face it any time we can have an excuse to eat something sweet we are far more likely to try it. But when those sweets are doing more good than harm you have magically turned those evil villains into powerful superheroes. And who doesn’t like superheroes bent on creating a happy and healthy life for you?
Hormone Balancing Fudge
Gluten Free Vegan
- 3 Tbsp Cacao Powder
- 3 Tbsp Maca Powder
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt
- 3 Tbsp Sunflower Butter
- 3 Tbsp Almond Butter
- 6 Tbsp Coconut Oil Raw
- 1 tsp Liquid Stevia
- 3 Cups Coconut Flakes (unsweetened)
- 3 Tbsp Chocolate Covered Hemp Seeds
- 1 tsp Ground Flaxseed
In large bowl combine flaxseed, maca, cacoa, and salt. Once mixed well add in melted coconut oil, butters, and stevia. Mix until well incorporated. Next in a food processor blend the coconut flakes until smooth. Add coconut flake mixture to bowl and mix well. Lastly, fold in the chocolate covered hemp seeds. Place in greased brownie pan 9 by 13 inch dish and let set up in refrigerator for 4-6 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy. If you like something with more texture blend the coconut flakes less to keep some of the strands intact. If you want more chocolate flavor you can always add melted dark chocolate into the batter prior to the addition of hemp seeds.
A Helping Hand
I hope this article has provided you with some safe and all natural approaches to balancing out your hormone levels. It can be difficult trying to determine what may be off in regards to our health. That is why it is so important to establish a dialogue with our healthcare providers. If you think something may be off that is related to your hormones request a hormone test from your primary care physician. Remember your doctor is there to help you and at the end of the day the mass majority of us get into this field to help others not hurt them. Sometimes it is necessary for us to act as our own advocates and let our doctors know what is going on. Never be afraid to ask your doctor for clarification or additional information. If they are not willing to take the time to help educate you on your health you should look for someone who is!
Keep In Touch
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]. Or you can always leave a comment below and I will get back to you as quickly as possible. Never forget you deserve to live a healthy and happy life. If you need help figuring out how to get there, I am always happy to help. The road of life is full of obstacles and it helps to have someone there to get you through even the most difficult parts. Your health is by far the greatest investment you can ever make. Be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on all of our content. Keep an eye out for all the free goodies coming your way! If your health is not where you want it to be, what are you actively doing to get it there?