(Natural News) In times of stress, you might find that your physical and mental performance are not at their full potential. This is due to elevated levels of a hormone called cortisol, which is secreted by the nervous system in response to stress. Although cortisol is essential for survival, too much of it can interfere with the production of other hormones, which can lead to impaired functions like immunity, digestion, and metabolism.
Don’t let your cortisol levels stress you out. There are many adaptogenic herbs that you can use to reduce your cortisol levels. Some examples of these include the following:
- Ginkgo Biloba — This herb is widely used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to improve energy and reduce fatigue. But aside from these, it has been proven to maintain cortisol levels, as well as blood pressure rates during times of stress. To enjoy this benefit, take 120 mg of Gingko Biloba per day.
- Ashwagandha — Ashwagandha is commonly used as an anti-stress herb since it can promote relaxation and increase energy. Recent studies have shown that this herb can also lower cortisol levels without causing adverse effects. Get the most out of ashwagandha by taking 300 mg of its extracts.
- Rhodiola — The use of Rhodiola can be traced back to the Vikings who used it as a supplement for inexhaustible energy and strength. Based on clinical studies, this herb can also improve mental performance, especially the ability to concentrate, due to its anti-fatigue effect. By taking 200 mg of Rhodiola extracts per day, you can enjoy its energy-boosting and anti-stress effects.
- Schizandra berry — Stress is often associated with poor mental performance and mood swings. Fortunately, Schizandra has anti-fatigue and anti-stress properties that help improve both physical and mental performance while under stress. Taking 22 mg of concentrated Schizandra extracts is enough to enjoy these benefits. But, if you want to optimize its effects, try taking it alongside ginseng and Rhodiola.
- Ginseng — Ginseng is one of the best herbs to use when you’re under a lot of stress. In fact, it is even hailed as the king of adaptogenic herbs due to its ability to regulate immune and hormonal response to stress. It works because of the medical saponins that it contains, which suppress cortisol production and improve stress-related depression and anxiety. To achieve the best results, take one to two grams of ginseng extracts that contain 10.5 percent of active ginsenosides.
- Maca — The cruciferous Maca plant has roots which have long been used as an energizing and therapeutic food. This herb is rich in alkaloids that improve hormone production by the adrenal glands and thyroid. This effect leads to a decrease in cortisol as well as an increase in the anti-stress hormone progesterone. Maca is available in a gelatinized powder form that you can add to your favorite smoothie once per day.
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With the help of these herbs, you can fight off chronic stress by lowering cortisol levels. (Related: Take control of your anxiety with these proven natural remedies.)
Other ways to reduce cortisol level
You can also improve your cortisol levels naturally by following these simple tips:
- Get adequate sleep — Sleep deprivation can also contribute to cortisol in the bloodstream, so make sure that you get at least eight hours of good, quality sleep.
- Laugh more — Having fun can take your mind off of stressful things and consequently reduce your cortisol levels.
- Exercise regularly — Exercising can do wonders for a person’s health and mood. However, it is important not to overdo it since intense exercise can stress the body and therefore increase cortisol production.
- Follow a healthy diet — A balanced diet is crucial in maintaining healthy cortisol levels. Too much sugar can cause cortisol levels to rise. Meanwhile, foods like dark chocolate, bananas, pear, green tea, and probiotics will help keep it stable.