City life : Hello stress & fatigue!
You know the signs – sleepless nights, long list of items to check off your to-do list, long days, tired skin, puffy eyes, constant annoyances and irritability. Yup, living in a fast-paced city like Hong Kong, it really is quite easy to overstretch ourselves.
Increasingly, many of us turn to all kinds of remedies and tools to destress our overworked bodies and minds. While in real life, for these herbal remedies and life tools to work, we need to actually use it in symphony, in a consistent everyday approach. Not a one-off sprint or detox. For the purpose of today's post however, our main focus would be the use of adaptogenic herbs so that they actually work for you.
Adaptogenic herbs – one of nature’s many many gifts to us.
Five years ago, before I started fuelling on a 100% plant-based diet, working out and keeping to a proper balanced routine (enough sleep, meditation, sun lights etc), I used to be a really angry, jealous and imbalanced person. Back then, getting angry was an everyday (almost hourly) occurrence, and sleepless nights were the norm. I remember one night where I have not had proper sleep in weeks, and in desperation, I had to resist from actually throwing myself out of the window literally, just to end the agony.
Hopefully, most of you do not ever go down that route. But I am pretty sure that we’ve all had an encounter with adrenal fatigue at some point of our lives. That’s when we feel tired all the time, or when we do fall asleep, we want to sleep for the rest of our lives, only to find ourselves waking up at 3PM on a Saturday, with boundless energy, only to find difficulty in falling asleep at a proper time. The vicious cycle continues as we irritably and grudgingly drift from week to week.
Difficulty recovering from an illness or injury
Easily overwhelmed or stressed out
Excessive urge to pee or drink
Excess hunger, huge appetite
Irregular menstrual cycles
So.. how we deal with adrenal fatigue?
There are many tools and ways in which we can heal ourselves, however, since the specific focus of today’s entry is herbal adaptogens and its role in helping our bodies and spirit cope better with everyday life and stress, an adaptogenic herb is:
A herb that helps you adapt to physical or mental stress (polluted air, cold environment, work pressure, lousy colleagues/annoying bosses .. etc).
It is harmless and can be used every single day.
Supports the entire system in the body.
In a nutshell, these are ordinary but magic herbs, nature’s gifts to mankind.
Adaptogenic herbs can:
Improve our adrenal, brain and thyroid functions (our bodies’ core systems and hormone regulators that help our bodies cope with stressors and function at optimum
Protect our cells from oxidative damage (free radicals which basically age and cause damage to our bodies at cellular level [NOTE: Ladies, this means ANTI-AGING!]. An example of oxidisation is when an apple is exposed to air and quickly turns yellow).
Protect our bodies from illnesses and diseases
Improve our immune system and resistance to toxins and bacteria
Help our bodies cope and detox better from everyday stressors. This is especially important since we live in an increasingly polluted and stressful environment in Hong Kong.
Choose your herbs wisely
Before running out to the herbal shops to stock up on these adaptogenic herbs, do your homework in advance. There are many herbal shops in Hong Kong and in Asia where it will be especially easy to purchase these herbs. However, not all these herbs are equal in its quality and safety. First off, if you have access or know a reputable herbal supplier or shop that provides quality herbs and ingredients, that’s great because that's half the battle won. The other factor that you would need to consider is the preparation and the packaging of herbs. Most herbs may be of medium to good grade quality, but because of the improper handling, packaging or preparations, these herbs may well have been contaminated with heavy metals, microbial qualities, pesticides and bacteria; where ingesting these herbs may well cause more stress than good.
How to incorporate herbal adaptogens in your lifestyle so that it actually works!
Next up, once you determine your source of these herbs, give your body the space and time it needs to reset, detox and recharge so that it can return to its optimum state.
Here are some ways in which you can help your body to recharge:
Reduce or better yet, eliminate ALL sugar and caffeine for at least 2 weeks.
Go to bed at the same time every SINGLE DAY. Yes, that means Friday and Saturday nights as well. Staying up late at night disrupts our bodies' hormonal cycles, causing our systems to go out of balance.
Manage everyday stress through proper exercise, journaling or meditation. Make sure to make this a proper routine and show up for the practice every single day, especially on days where you just can’t be bothered or are too tired. These are usually the days when you need this ‘stress discharge’ practice most.
Be mindful with your diets. Keep a close look at what you choose to put on your plate and in your mouth. When we are stressed out, we tend to reach out for salty, fried and greasy food and drinks as a comfort food. Be mindful not to overload your system. Instead, choose real, fresh, green foods that are nourishing for your body and spirit.
Here are our favourite herbal adaptogens, which we constantly include in most of our blends, or in our homemade herbal lattes:
Have you used any of these magic herbs before? Do share your experiences, we'd love to hear about it!
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