i'm under a lot of stress, and don't get much sleep. i try eat well but often feel drained, my glands are swollen and i just feel exhasusted, is there something i can take to help me cope with life. thanks
The best herb for stress generally is Valerian as it acts on the GABA, same way as does the benzo type meds. It isn't as strong, but it also is extremely safe to take with only very questionable reports of any negative long term effects (such as an alcoholic who ruined his liver was also taking Valerian at the time, so it technically could have been caused by the herb, but realistically not probable).
Another herb that helps with stress, anxiety, and sleep would be Passion Flower, a CNS (central nervous system) depressant that is calming. Any herb that is sedating will be potentiated by alcohol of course, and should also be tried out before having to drive depending on how sensitive you are to these herbs.
Kava Kava is yet another herb that is in particular popular in Hawaii. There had been a lot of debate as to if it causes harm to the liver or not due to several liver failures that are likely linked to the herb. This happened during a specific year, so the conditions in which it happened are suspect. It turned out to be caused by a manufacturer who processed the whole plant, something that can't be done as it not only causes headaches and nausea, but will ruin a perfectly fine liver. Recently it has been proven by a university that the traditionally used parts also in fact cause mild damage to the liver. Compared to alcohol or tylenol, I have no idea as how it compaires. Even this study is questionable due to the natives on the island drink kava heavily for years on end, and have no cases of liver problems, unlike the non-natives. It seems to be now linked to the use of Kava Kava with alcohol that may be the real problem. It also may be due to an adapted system that the natives have, able to break down the compounds vs. non-natives who are unable to do this. Anyways, at the end of the day, if it is used once in a while, Kava Kava is a great herb to utilize that wont cause any ill effect.
If you're also in a funk or feeling down, as you probably are aware Saint Johns Wort is an excellent antidepressant that works as a natural SSRI. This may be something that you would want to take regardless of depression or not simply due to its ability to make life easier to cope with.
This is just a few of the primary herbs that sound like something that would benefit you. I used to take Valerian before I ever went to a psychiatrist for my anxiety. Once I found that I needed something a bit more, I added on the passion flower, and they really do work well for mild cases. When my anxiety and depression flared up, it only helped a bit, and as a result switched over to benzos and other meds. When I got to a point where I wanted to taper to a lower dose of the benzo, the Valerian was very helpful when things got tough. I hope that this info is of some help to you!
Best of luck, and I hope that life calms down a bit.
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