Herb Pharm Extracts to Support the Adrenal Glands*
Our adrenal glands are small but mighty. Weighing just a few ounces each, these triangular-shaped glands sit above each kidney. They are responsible for the production and secretion of a number of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Together, adrenaline and cortisol help to support multiple systems of the body, including our immune system, metabolism, and reproductive system. They also help our body respond in moments of stress, or when we are presented with a real or perceived threat.
Adrenaline is our body’s first response to such threats, as our heart rate increases and blood starts to move quickly, so that we can decide to fight or run—this is classically referred to as the fight-flight-freeze response. Some people actually enjoy the feeling of an adrenaline rush—think of folks who love extreme sports, horror movies or roller coasters. But this release of adrenaline can become problematic when prompted by prolonged or frequent stressful experiences, and what was once a rush can eventually turn into feelings of anxiety and fatigue.
Cortisol is secreted in a more rhythmic fashion on a daily basis. It is at its highest in the morning, as it gives us the natural surge of energy that helps us get out of bed. Our cortisol levels continue to decrease throughout the day, reaching their lowest as we are sleeping, at which point the cycle begins again, and the adrenals secrete more cortisol so that we can start the next day energized. Cortisol is also released when our stress response is activated--this could be due to a threat, illness, life situation, or really any challenge that may feel daunting.
Clearly the ability to respond to stress and threats is valuable, and it has been critical to our survival as a species, helping us get through times of serious duress including immune challenges, injuries, and even escaping attacking predators. The problem is when this response is triggered too often or just doesn’t turn off. At this point, these overactive responses can work to our detriment, as we are barely able to get a break from being on high alert.
Thankfully, there is an abundance of herbs that can help to support a healthy stress response*. Some of these, such as Asian Ginseng, Rhodiola and Eleuthero, help to support energy and vitality by enhancing physical and mental energy and stamina*. Each of these herbs is available from Herb Pharm in a tincture or alcohol-free glycerite. Some customers prefer to take these extracts earlier in the day, mimicking our body’s natural cortisol spikes.
Other herbs, such as Ashwagandha and Holy Basil, are considered more calming and restorative, and they have traditionally been used to support a more balanced response to stress*. Both of these herbs have a history of use in Ayurveda, a 5,000 year old holistic healing system with historical roots in India. Herb Pharm’s Ashwagandha is available as both a tincture and glycerite, while Holy Basil is available as a tincture. You can also find these herbs in a few Herb Pharm compounds including Adrenal Support and Stress Manager, which are formulated with a variety of herbs to help support adrenal function and promote physical and mental adaptation to stress*. We also have a new formula available in our convenient spray format called Herbs on the Go: Daily Stress BalanceTM, which helps to promote a normalized response to physical and mental stress*.