The adrenal glands are two endocrine glands. There is one above each kidney. The cortex, or outer part of the adrenal gland, secretes hormones and the inner part, the medulla, secretes epinephrine and norepinephrine. Scientists are split on the concept of adrenal fatigue. Conventional doctors don’t think it exists. Natural medicine providers think it does. For this blog I’m going on the assumption that it exists and that there are herbs that can assist the situation.
Adrenal fatigue occurs when people are under mental, physical and emotional stress. One of the hormones that the adrenals make is cortisol. This hormone helps the body deal with stress. Too much stress causes the adrenals to release less of the hormone. Some of the symptoms include chronic tiredness, mild depression or anxiety, lethargy, and brain fog.
There are a number of vitamins, minerals and herbs that help. Among them are the B vitamins and vitamin C. There are herbs that are helpful for adrenal fatigue. They are called adaptogens. Let’s look at some of these herbs.
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
A little known fact about ginkgo is that it can affect stress levels. In a study published in Clinical Nutrition, it lowered cortisol levels in healthy individuals being tested for glucose tolerance.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha comes from India and is useful for insomnia due to stress. It is said to improve DHEA-S levels. It also benefits the thyroid and adrenals and boosts energy levels. It is available as a tablet and a capsule.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
Rhodiola comes from Siberia and is traditionally used for stress and and fatigiue. It is also used for enhancing mental performance and mild depression.
Astragalus (Astragalus membraneceus)
Astragalus comes from Chinese medicine and is usually used with other herbs. It can be used as a tonic or for adrenal support. It gives a boost to the immune system and helps control blood sugar levels.
Herbs for tired adrenals are usually best as a combination. There are herbal formulas available with the combined herbs. These herbs are available in capsule and tablet form and many of them can be made into a tea or infusion and sipped throughout the day.
Remember to always consult with your health care practitioner before starting a herbal regimen for any disorder.
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Kudolo, G.B., Wang W., Javors, M Blodgett J., Department of Clinical Laboratory Sciences, MSC 6246, University of Texas HSC at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, 78229-3900, USA. Kudolo@uthscsa.edu