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Dr. Tori Hudson, Portland, Oregon, Blog Healthline Blog


relience idea - small plant sprouting out of charcoalThere has been much talk about resilience these last few years, but it’s need has been even more apparent this last year since March 2020.  Resilience can be defined briefly as capable of withstanding shock without permanent deformation or rupture or tending to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.

I am mindful that many people/cultures/societies have faced the challenge of being resilient in more dire times than covid times, and/or for much longer periods of time and/or more consequential to their lives.  Wars, famine, refugees, violence, poverty, imprisonment, abuse, neglect, hatred and prejudice all inflict a toll.  Depending on duration or severity, resilience can run thin or just plain run out.  What I mean to talk about here in this next section is the day-to-day ability of certain herbs to help us be more resilient…to weather the storms, to bounce back more easily from whatever has been inflicted.

The main class of herbs I want to mention are the adaptogens.  Adaptogens are herbal medicines that work to counteract the effects of stress in the body. By counteracting the stress, it is the hope that then the impact of the stress in the body is lessened or averted.  Stress can impact the neurological, psychological, endocrine and immune systems. Adaptogens work by helping the body to maintain balance, or homeostasis.  It is thought they work through hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands.

Adaptogens have been studied in the laboratory, in animals and in humans.  In general, they have neuroprotective elements, anti-fatigue properties, hormonal modulation effects, antidepressive effects, immune properties and support for the central nervous system.

My favorite adaptogens include: Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Eleuthero, Holy basil, and Maca.  Other contenders would be Schisandra and Astragalus.  The primary negative side effect would be for Rhodiola and if one has a bi-polar disorder, then Rhodiola should not be taken… There are some drug-herb interactions to note, but a licensed Naturopathic Physician can determine that and any cautions or contraindications.

So, if you want a bit of a daily tonic, to support your resilience, consider taking one of these herbs or potentially a blend…often sold as adrenal support products.  Resilience is also enhanced with regular sleep habits, good nutrition, an emotional support system, fresh air and regular exercise.  But again, I want to articulate that I realize there are situations that are extraordinary, and thus require more assistance…and likely of multiple kinds, not just herbal medicines.   But herbal medicine, can help.

From the cold, snowy/icy/electricity denied home front in Portland, Oregon…. mid-February.   On we go!!!!!

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