Reviewed by Dr Jessica Gunawan and Physician Ng Qing Xiang
What is Stress? Discover 5 Remedies to Treat it Effectively
Published | 4 min read
Understand what is stress and identify the remedies you can use to manage this condition here.
You perhaps have said, “I’m stressed,” or “This is stressful” when being under pressure or going through situations that put pressure. We all know what it feels like, but what exactly is stress?
Understanding stress and how to manage it effectively has several benefits. For instance, proper management of stress can motivate a person to be more efficient or complete each task they set out to do on time. On the contrary, a failure to manage stress can overwhelm a person and cause health problems.
It is important to note that stress is the body’s natural response to environmental factors. They include academic, financial, health, relationship or work problems. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) beliefs focus on achieving a balance in the body and mind. In TCM, stress can cause qi (or loosely translated, energy) blockage and stagnation, particularly in the liver system. Like the heart, kidneys, lungs and spleen systems, the liver system plays a few significant roles in the body, such as regulating a person’s qi and emotions and enhancing spleen digestion.
Generally, smooth-flowing qi is important for ensuring the healthy functioning of the different organs and systems in the body. However, an imbalance of qi in the liver can trigger anger, irritability, and various symptoms.
These include pain and discomfort in the lower ribs, a feeling of something being stuck in the throat, digestion problems, headaches, and trouble sleeping. Stress can also impact a woman’s menstrual cycle and cause irregular periods. In addition, chronic stress can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disorders, anxiety and depression.
Here are some remedies that that can help to alleviate stress.
5 Herbal Remedies to Do Away with Stress Effectively
Different systems of medicine like psychiatry, Ayurveda and TCM can alleviate stress by helping a person achieve balance. Similarly, the use of traditional herbal remedies can help to promote a better flow of liver qi.
1. Rosebuds and mint leaves
Rosebuds and mint leaves are particularly favourable remedies for stress. The best way to consume these herbals is to soak them in freshly boiled water for approximately 5 minutes before consuming them. Do this 2-3 times weekly.
Consuming a rosebuds infusion can also promote increased blood circulation. So, pregnant women or women on their period should avoid using rose petals as a herbal remedy for stress.
2. Lily bulbs and lotus seeds
Consuming a formulation that uses lily bulbs can help alleviate the symptoms of stress. Lily bulbs consist of three sets of active components: alkaloids, steroidal saponins and phenols. The combination of alkaloids and steroidal saponins, in particular, is responsible for the effective treatment of various nervous system disorders.
Lily bulbs are abundant with essential nutrients. Combining it with lotus seeds may treat the symptoms of stress, such as irritability, restlessness, anxiety and insomnia. Before consuming, boil both herbals together for approximately 20-30 minutes.
3. Xiao Yao San
TCM practitioners have been prescribing a herbal blend known as Xiao Yao San for centuries to treat various mental disorders. This blend, made up of ingredients like bupleurum, Chinese angelica, white peonies, peppermint, white atractylodes and poria, can also help treat chronic stress.
Turmeric is a medicinal root that contains curcumin, a polyphenol that has demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, anti-microbial and anti-cancer activities. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of curcumin can help improve systemic markers of oxidative stress.
At the same time, curcumin can reduce triglyceride — a type of fat — levels and decrease the markers of stress, neurodegeneration, and liver injury in the body. On the other hand, a separate clinical trial found that the use of curcumin was also able to promote calmness and alleviate fatigue caused by psychological stress.
5. Hawthorn berries
Hawthorn berries in TCM are commonly associated with health benefits. They include decreased cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. It has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour activities.
From a TCM perspective, people who have a yin excess or yang deficiency can achieve better emotional balance, qi regulation and stress relief by drinking a herbal concoction that contains Hawthorn berries. This concoction can also improve blood circulation and promote better sleep by reducing anxiety and tension and stabilising blood pressure.
Knowing what is stress can help you take the necessary steps to relieve the physical and mental tension. These include the use of natural medicinal remedies, which offer multiple wellness benefits. Do speak to a TCM physician beforehand to ensure that you are choosing the right herbals for you.
- ResearchGate. 2019. Lily bulbs (Bai He), A super food and A herbal remedy. [Accessed 25 June 2021]
- US National Library of Medicine. 2017. Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health. [Accessed 25 June 2021]
- US National Library of Medicine. 2012. Polyphenolic Profile and Biological Activity of Chinese Hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida BUNGE) Fruits. [Accessed 25 June 2021]
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