Take Stress and Anxiety Away with Herbs
Herbs and Worry and Stress - and Mindfulness
Specific herbs are known for symptoms of worry, stress, anxiety. These symptoms can give a feeling of jitters in the chest or abdomen; they can tense the shoulders, cause headaches, upset your sleep, cause indigestion and nervousness. The herbs which include passiflora, wood betony, scullcap, motherwort and siberian ginseng, help you to relax, support your energy and immune system, helping you to feel normal again.
Dear Alan, I recently spoke regarding a condition ive been tormented with for about 12 years.you prescribed the worryless along with the abc powder.I just feel as if im starting to get my life back,i havent felt this energetic in years.My symptoms are only a scratch compared to what ive had and im only on the herbs 2 weeks.ive started cycling again the last time i cycled was 9 years ago a hobby ive sadly missed out on all this time.I cant thank you enough as ive tried many different medications treatments all to none effect.Keep up the good work and il speak to you soon when i need more herbs.REGARDS D LEACOCK
Nine Stress-busting Techniques so that you Worry Less
When you're feeling stressed, anxious or worried, try one of these simple stress-busters.
1. Just breathe
When you get uptight or worried your breathing quickens and becomes shallow. These changes in breathing add to your stress. You can relieve such distress with this easy breathing technique:
1. Sit upright, close your eyes and place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest.
2. Breathe in slowly, concentrating on inflating your abdomen first and then your chest.
3. Exhale slowly, quietly saying the word "calm" as you breathe out out.
4. Repeat this 5 or more times.. - see also the technique of mindfulness outlined below.
2. Talk it out
If you're feeling down, arrange to meet a friend and discuss what's bothering you. Or call someone just to chat. When you connect and talk it over, you'll feel better.
3. Get soaked
Take a hot bath (make it a bubble bath if possible) or standing in a hot shower will comfort the body by relaxing tight muscles up when you're stressed. Put the radio on or a CD on to distract you if you want. The water will wrap in a feeling of safety, soothed, and serene.
4. Chill out your brain!
This technique sounds pretty weird, but it works great. If you have intense distress and you just can't relax and don't know where to put yourself, go and fill your bathroom sink up with cold water, ice cold! Take a deep breath, and immerse your face in the water for 30 seconds or so. Strangely, it has an almost immediate relaxing effect.
This calming technique is believed to work because it elicits what's known as the body's dive reflex. When you're in ice-cold water, the body slows its metabolism in order to spare vital organs. A slowed metabolism reduces tension, so when your face is in ice water, your metabolism slows, your tension goes down, and you stop fretting about the things that are bothering you and your negative mind chatter ceases. It sounds weird, but try it!
5. Take a quick thought challenge
To figure out exactly what's bothering you and consider it in relation to the big picture of your life's events, answer the following questions aloud to yourself:
1. What's bothering me?
2. How important will this upset be to me in a year's time?
3. Do I have any evidence that would suggest my thoughts about the event are incorrect?
4. Is there a more reasonable way of looking at what happened?
6. Exorcise with exercise
The body responds to upset by producing stress hormones. However, you can quickly burn up those hormones by exercising at least 15 to 20 minutes. Try something aerobic such as running, jogging, brisk walking, skipping, cycing. Whatever the weather, going outside gives you the added benefit of putting things in perspective - sunshine, birds singing, butterflies on flowers and fresh air. Look up to the sky, appreciate the distant trees or clouds and sense the flow of nature.
7. Mellow with music
When you feel distressed, try listening to music that you find relaxing, whether classical, jazz, or heavy metal, preferably something you're not familiar with. Or you may listen to something pleasant and mellow but nonmusical, such as a fountain or the sounds of nature.
8. Pacify with pets
Studies have shown that pets promote better moods and possibly better health. In fact, one study suggests that petting dogs or holding a cat or rabbit, or riding your horse, helps reduce blood pressure and stress. Watching animals play is delightful, and petting them seems to soothe the body. Or watch birds or sing - watching martins and swallows on the wing will make you happy!
9. Distract your distress
When you're upset, usually the only thing on your mind is your discomfort. And focusing on that discomfort only makes things worse. For quick relief of minor stress, consider distraction. Try these activities:
- Reading a good novel.
- Going to the movies.
- Watching television.
- Surfing the Internet.
- Playing a game.
- Stay in the present - mindfulness (see below)
Past and Future
Remember that most of what upsets you has to do with the past or the future. You may feel guilty and depressed about events from the past, and you may feel anxious about events that have not yet occurred and often never will. To snap yourself out of this trap, focus on what's actually happening around you right now. Notice your breathing. Feel your feet on the ground. Notice the firmness of your chair. Pay attention to the temperature. Look around you and observe. Don't judge. Just observe, and breathe.
A long-term benefit to worry busting is to take a health promoting dose of relaxing, mind elevating herbs so that your feel inspired and worry less.
Also please take ABC Daily Nutrional Powder - for complete vitamin and mineral support
A Short Course into Mindfulness
by Alan Hopking.
This is brief but complete intro. to get you started.
I regard mindfulness on a par with happiness, only better.
What is it to be mindful?
Let’s begin at the beginning, well, almost. Let’s start with a definition:
mindfulness is a practice of being aware; of yourself and your surroundings. A practice for a healthy body and mind.
Mindfulness is a technique
You have to learn to be mindful. But luckily, we’re half way there already. We are self-aware animals; we have self-consciousness. We can observe ourselves. Let’s try it. You’re reading this. Observe yourself. Observe your posture. Are you sitting, standing, lying down, walking? How exactly? With crossed legs, slouching in a couch, upright in a straight chair, etc.
So the first way of becoming more aware of yourself is to observe your posture and your movements. You can practice this by walking round the room or up and down the stairs. You will notice that to watch exactly what happens as you walk or step you have slow down. A lot is happening. There’s the bending of the leg, the curl of the foot as it prepares to lift, the bending of the knee, the balance with the other leg, and so on. Intricate stuff. What’s more, there is the rest of the body in some form of motion, and there is the breath, the eyes, the sounds as you move. Try it.
So that is the first phase of mindfulness. Eventually you can be fairly mindful even as you walk to work, or wait at the bus-stop, jog in the park, drive your car. Learn to observe yourself as a body in all its postures.
This is a meditation that is done sitting down. We close our eyes. And observe your breathing, in and out. Just watch it. Don’t try to change it. And when you stray with other thoughts, just come back to watching your breath. That’s it. Simple. Do this for a set time, e.g. 5 minutes. Or you can try a little longer. Put the timer on so you don’t have to think about the time. Just sit there and watch your breath.
Advancing in Mindfulness
Here are the next steps in brief.
You can observe, simply observe without judgement, your body movements and those of someone else, say a friend you’re talking to, a work colleague, your partner. We do this just as we trained our self at first – watching the postures, of yourself and another person. You can observe the interaction. Do this with animals too. Observe them in the same way.
You can observe your emotions and thoughts. How they come, affect you and disappear and another comes and you feel it. Or you can also become aware of a past emotion, how it arose, expressed itself and went away. Observe your present emotion as you do this.
Observe your speech. How it comes, the thoughts that produce it, the emotion it causes, the effect it has on yourself and others, and how it goes away and is replaced with silence, or another thought and speech. Observe with no judgment. Just gently aware.
Observe your hearing, your tastes, hunger, thirst, smells and your smelling, and the sense of touch. How these affect your emotions and thoughts, your actions. Just be aware how they arise and stay, then go.
Be aware of your bodily functions, how they begin to arise in your mind and the link to the body organ, and the drive to fulfil their need. Just be observant. Or if it is in another person, be aware of their need and its arising and their drive. Observe with gentle awareness, mindfulness.
Observe yourself as you are falling asleep, dreaming, waking, without trying to change anything; just be aware of the flow, the entry into a no-state, and the reentry into a conscious state. Just a detached state of awareness, gentle mindfulness.
Mindfulness cannot be bottled, but it can help you losing your bottle.
Our herbal tonic medicines are carefully prepared on a personal and individual basis for your healing by medical herbalist Alan Hopking MA MNIMH FINEH.
Only whole herbs are used in our herbal medicines. Nothing else is added. If you have symptoms which you consider might be helped with herbal medicine please contact herbal practitioner Alan Hopking for a friendly confidential professional consultation. See terms and fees.
Once you have received your herbal prescription you can contact Alan Hopking at any time for more free advice (preferably by email). When you have completed your bottle of herbal medicine and if you want a repeat prescription you are requested to phone or email so that your progress can be assessed and adjustments made if necessary so that there is no break in your treatment. To order or re-order, click here.
HERBACTIVE Centre of Herbal Medicine, England, UK. Freephone 0800 0834436
General advice to consumers on the use of herbal remedies from the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
• Remember that herbal remedies are medicines. As with any other medicine they are likely to have an effect on the body and should be used with care. • Herbal remedies may sometimes interact with other medicines. This makes it particularly important to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking a herbal remedy with other medicines such as prescribed medicines (those provided through your doctor or dentist). • Treat with caution any suggestion that a herbal remedy is '100% safe' or is 'safe because it is natural'. Many plants, trees, fungi and algae can be poisonous to humans. It is worth remembering that many pharmaceuticals have been developed or derived from these sources because of the powerful compounds they contain. Any medicine, including herbal remedies, which have an effect on the body should be used with care. • Treat with caution any herbalist or other person who supplies herbal remedies if they are unwilling or unable to provide written information, in English, listing the ingredients of the herbal remedy they are providing. • If you are due to have a surgical operation you should always remember to tell your doctor about any herbal remedy that you are taking. • Anyone who has previously experienced any liver complaint, or any other serious health complaint is advised not to take any herbal remedy without speaking to their doctor first.
Few conventional medicines have been established as safe to take during pregnancy and it is generally recognised that no medicine should be taken unless the benefit to the mother outweighs any possible risk to the foetus. This rule should also be applied to herbal medicinal products. However, herbal products are often promoted to the public as being “natural” and completely “safe” alternatives to conventional medicines. Some herbal ingredients that specifically should be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. As with conventional medicines, no herbal products should be taken during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the potential risk.
Many herbs are traditionally reputed to be abortifacient and for some this reputation can be attributed to their volatile oil component.(6) A number of volatile oils are irritant to the genito-urinary tract if ingested and may induce uterine contractions. Herbs that contain irritant volatile oils include ground ivy, juniper, parsley, pennyroyal, sage, tansy and yarrow. Some of these oils contain the terpenoid constituent, thujone, which is known to be abortifacient. Pennyroyal oil also contains the hepatotoxic terpenoid constituent, pulegone. A case of liver failure in a woman who ingested pennyroyal oil as an abortifacient has been documented.
A stimulant or spasmolytic action on uterine muscle has been documented for some herbal ingredients including blue cohosh, burdock, fenugreek, golden seal, hawthorn, jamaica dogwood, motherwort, nettle, raspberry, and vervain. Herbal Teas Increased awareness of the harmful effects associated with excessive tea and coffee consumption has prompted many individuals to switch to herbal teas. Whilst some herbal teas may offer pleasant alternatives to tea and coffee, some contain pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, which may have unpredictable effects depending on the quantity of tea consumed and strength of the brew. Some herbal teas contain laxative herbal ingredients such as senna, frangula, and cascara. In general stimulant laxative preparations are not recommended during pregnancy and the use of unstandardised laxative preparations is particularly unsuitable. A case of hepatotoxicity in a newborn baby has been documented in which the mother consumed a herbal tea during pregnancy as an expectorant. Following analysis the herbal tea was reported to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are known to be hepatotoxic.
A drug substance taken by a breast-feeding mother presents a hazard if it is transferred to the breast milk in pharmacologically or toxicologically significant amounts. Limited information is available regarding the safety of conventional medicines taken during breast-feeding. Much less information exists for herbal ingredients, and generally the use of herbal remedies is not recommended during lactation.
Herbal remedies have traditionally been used to treat both adults and children. Herbal remedies may offer a milder alternative to some conventional medicines, although the suitability of a herbal remedy needs to be considered with respect to quality, safety and efficacy. Herbal remedies should be used with caution in children and medical advice should be sought if in doubt. Chamomile is a popular remedy used to treat teething pains in babies. However, chamomile is known to contain allergenic sesquiterpene lactones and should therefore be used with caution. The administration of herbal teas to children needs to be considered carefully and professional advice may be needed.
The need for patients to discontinue herbal medicinal products prior to surgery has recently been proposed. The authors considered eight commonly used herbal medicinal products (echinacea, ephedra, garlic, ginkgo, ginseng, kava, St John’s Wort, valerian). On the evidence available they concluded that the potential existed for direct pharmacological effects, pharmacodynamic interactions and pharmacokinetic interactions. The need for physicians to have a clear understanding of the herbal medicinal products being used by patients and to take a detailed history was highlighted. The American Society of Anaesthesiologists (ASA) has advised patients to tell their doctor if they are taking herbal products before surgery and has reported that a number of anaesthesiologists have reported significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure in some patients who have been taking herbal medicinal products including St John’s Wort, ginkgo and ginseng. MCA is currently investigating a serious adverse reaction associated with the use of ginkgo prior to surgery. In this case, the patient who was undergoing hip replacement experienced uncontrolled bleeding thought to be related to the use of ginkgo.
From the website of the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (www.mhra.gov.uk) Department of Health, UK
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