Stress and Adrenal Fatigue

Stress and Adrenal Fatigue

In our fast-moving world where everyone is always caught up with work, family, relationships, or studies, phrases like exhausted and stressed out are not unusual. You may have seen people blame their anxiety, depression, low energy, insomnia, mood swings, and brain fog on burnout. But the fact is that prolonged stress can be the reason behind all these symptoms.

While some stress is healthy to keep your immune system in its optimal shape, chronic stress can lead to a plethora of health issues, like autoimmune conditions, heart diseases, and diabetes. The term “adrenal fatigue” was recently coined to refer to these symptoms of chronic stress.

According to the adrenal fatigue theorists, persistent exposure to stress can cause a reduction in hormones produced by the adrenal glands, thus leading to all the symptoms mentioned above. Here are a few herbs that can help to manage adrenal fatigue, particularly among women who are struggling with autoimmune conditions.


Ginseng has long been considered as a chief herb to reinforce longevity and vital energy. Recent studies have further elaborated how ginseng can be used to treat numerous health care issues. The main root of the ginseng plant is now commonly used in herbal medicine to relieve mental and physical fatigue or exhaustion, to aid in adapting to stress, and improve immune functions.

Since imbalanced hormonal and immune functions can lead to many inflammatory conditions, including heart issues, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and stroke, ginseng is useful in preventing and reversing them. Moreover, it has also been used to improve symptoms of depression, insomnia, fatigue, and headache in menopausal women.

2. Ashwagandha

The root of the ashwagandha plant was initially used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for its remarkable therapeutic properties for centuries. The word ashwagandha is derived from Sanskrit means “horse smell” due to its strong smell. The herb is a holy grail for those suffering from adrenal fatigue. It boosts adrenal function and in turn balances stress hormone responsible for anxiety and low level of energy.

It is widely used for treating sleeping problems caused by stress, reduce inflammation, enhance immunity, and lower blood pressure. It’s known to promote the activity of immune cells and assist in combating various infections and even cancer. The anti-inflammatory effect of ashwagandha helps to ease pain associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid.

3. Eleuthero

Eleuthero was first discovered in China thousands of years ago and was used as an herbal remedy for a number of health care purposes. This incredible herb works to cope with mental stress and act as a natural stimulant to boost cognitive functions and amp up the energy level.

It is effective in fighting fatigue and burning fat in the body for energy. Other than improved cognition and alertness, eleuthero also supports the immune system, cardiovascular health, maintain blood sugar levels, and reduces physical stress. It can also be effectively used for women with menopausal symptoms, such as insomnia, fatigue, lethargy, and memory problems due to low levels of estrogen.

4. Licorice

This adaptogenic herb, also known as sweet root, is native to Asia and Europe. It has been used as a traditional herbal medicine in China for centuries. The root is known to regulate adrenal gland, which leads to a healthy level of the adrenal hormone, cortisol, in the body.

It is positively associated with numerous health benefits, including reduced inflammation, fat modulation, balanced blood glucose level, better iron absorption in the bloodstream, female hormone regulation, and improved gastrointestinal health. It contains antibacterial properties, which make it suitable for treating inflammatory skin conditions known as eczema. Recent studies also suggest that licorice can assist in the treatment of breast cancer.

The Takeaway

While it’s impossible to avoid ongoing daily stress, you can take simple measures to minimize its effects on your health. The key to optimal mental and physical health is to learn to manage and prevent stress naturally.

If you’re struggling with autoimmune or chronic conditions caused by adrenal fatigue, natural herbs or herbal medicines are the ideal way of boosting your mood, cognition, energy, immunity, and ultimately your overall health.

Camille McClellan, MD, DNM, MBS
Naturopathic practitioner
McClellan Natural Health, Wellness & Nutrition
Free Naturopathic/Homeopathic Consults Available