In 2006, I was suffering from a list of bizarre symptoms that, after blood tests and multiple doctor’s appointments, all pointed to adrenal fatigue. Symptoms of adrenal fatigue may include anxiety, high levels of fatigue, and a weakened immune system. For me, it was lots of grey hair, intense fatigue that felt chronic, weight gain, constant battles with colds, overwhelming anxiety, and an inability to get enough quality rest…all at the age of 23. Currently, western medicine doesn’t officially recognize adrenal fatigue. It is a complicated subject but ultimately, the things that really helped me and can help anyone dealing with stress and overload, is to work on nourishing one’s nervous system. How? Go see a good naturopath and work with a qualified herbalist. They need to be a savvy practitioner, one that will help you sleuth out the best ways to tackle your problems without getting caught by band-aid approaches that only address your symptoms. Also: be willing to change your habits. Seriously. You can’t get better if you don’t agree to do things like:
–Getting good quality sleep
-Eating a nutrient dense diet
-Staying away from sugar/alcohol
-Getting in a decent walk as well as pulling back from overloading on exercise
Throughout the 10 years of my practice, I can tell you that most of the people I work with on decreasing stress have a difficult time reeling back on the demands they put on themselves. Clients tell me that on one hand they do not wish to shift their lifestyles but on the other hand, desire that I help them feel better. Although I like to think that my skills are somewhat refined after all of these years, I know that I am not capable of what they ask!
However, I have also worked with people that are really doing everything “right”. They have spent time and money, trying to hone in on what their bodies need, working towards optimal health, prioritizing their needs in radical ways. Yet, true restoration seems to elude them. This is part of why I recommend re-evaluation and teaming up with a solid group of practitioners. Yes, a group. Your personal care team from which you can find pearls that are to be strung together into your own mala of health. You are your greatest healing potential!
My dear friend, Rosalee de la Foret, an amazing herbalist (by the way, she has a new book that just came out!!!), introduced me to an amazing and powerful way of fortifying the body with essential minerals: Nourishing Herbal Infusions (NHI). Essentially, you can take plant material and infuse them into water to draw out the benefits of the plant. (Susan Weed also has a lovely recipe that has a plant-parts-to-water table to help you prepare your infusion).
I like to make a blend of nettle and oatstraw or nettle sprinkled with some mint for some added flavor. Nettle is an excellent way to strengthen the adrenal glands while oatstraw rebuilds the nerves. Both are fortified with plenty of calcium and other minerals. Researchers Mark Pedersen and Paul Bergner have found that there are 3000 mg of calcium in 100 grams dried nettle!
My introduction to NHI was a huge breakthrough for me. It felt like I had a thirst that was finally being quenched! If only I had known earlier that simply drinking your nettles was such an effective way to help the body absorb these nutrients. Also, dried nettle is not only affordable but grows prolifically here in the Pacific Northwest. It isn’t some exotic herb that is in danger of being overly cultivated nor will harm the planet in the process of meeting consumers demands. There are many recipes that can be found that incorporate nettle, from sautés to pestos.
For those of you who are interested in some simple and effective recipes using herbs, please check out Rosalee’s new book, The Alchemy of Herbs! It’s a real gem 🙂