How Can I Relieve Stress And Anxiety Naturally?

First we must examine what exactly stress is and what happens to the body during stress. Stress is something everyone experiences every day and a natural part of life. The body responds to stress by releasing adrenaline and corticosterone giving you the so called “Fight-or-Flight” response, this occurs automatically. Your adrenal glands produce these hormones which include cortisol, adrenaline, and corticosterone which give you an energy boost to fight or run away. These hormones boost energy, increase awareness and focus which happen whether it’s a physical threat or emotional stress. Some stress in life is good for us. Stress helps keep us focused while there is an emergency; however, it’s chronic stress that causes a problem.
When stress becomes chronic, elevated stress hormones can be a problem. These stress hormones effect inflammation, immune system response, and metabolism. When our bodies are continually stressed these hormones are continually high and can affect the nervous system causing anxiety and depression, suppress the immune system which can lead to sickness or disease, or effect the digestive function causing over eating and weight gain. Although we don’t want to turn off the stress mechanism, we don’t want to remain in a state of constant stress. (1-3)
There is hope, Holy basil is an herb found in India used for more 3000 years for medicinal purposes. Holy basil is a member of the mint family. Closely related to the sweet basil we cook with. Holy basil is native to tropical regions of Asia and can now be found throughout the tropical parts of the world. Holy basil is a strong antioxidant that demonstrates antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. (4-6) Holy basil has been used to treat everything from the common cold to bronchitis and even fever. Holy basil has been used as a digestive aid and can be good for ulcers. Let’s examine how modern science has taken a closer look at this herb.
In the past ten years scientific studies have focused on the benefits of holy basil consumed orally. These studies have revealed great promise and suggesting holy basil may indeed provide effective relief of those previously mentioned customary uses. Studies have even suggested that holy basil can be taken with radiation therapy to help fight side effects, and even good for diabetes. (4,5,7-9) Holy basil’s greatest potential is in the area of stress relief and relaxation.
Holy basil is an adaptogen, enhancing the body’s ability to cope with physical and emotional stress. Adaptogenic herbs help the body function at optimal levels during stress with out effecting mood. Several studies examining holy basil have found this amazing herb to lower corticosterone levels. Lowering corticosterone can improve mental clarity and memory and help reduce age related mental disorders. 10 Lets look further to see how this actually works.
Holy basil has various compounds that provide health benefits. Such as, eugenol and caryophyllene which are aromatic compounds that are pleasing fragrant scents said to boost mood and spirit. Studies suggest that eugenol helps combat stress and enhance mental clarity. Triterpenoic acid an isolate of holy basil has been shown to improve the body’s response to stress. Several studies have examined the anti-stress effects of the different components of holy basil. When isolated and examined individually, the eugenol and caryophyllene significantly reduced the corticosterone level and helped the body cope with stress, elevate mood and improve mental clarity. (12-14)
If you are looking for a good brand of holy basil, look for a product that is standardized to the active ingredients eugenol, caryophyllene and triterpenoic acid, in the form of ursolic and oleanolic acid. These components differ significantly in their chemical structure, different extraction methods are needed to get the most beneficial components out of holy basil. There are three extraction methods that are most common, steam distillation, alcohol extraction, and super critical (CO2) extraction.
Steam distillation breaks down plant tissue and pulls out the essential oils and key components released into the steam and collected when cooled.
Alcohol extraction is a bit more complex and the most frequently used form of extraction. The plant is complete dissolved and distilled for purification. Then alcohol is applied to remove the insoluble plant constituents, and then the solution is distilled to remove the alcohol leaving only the active components.
Finally, supercritical extraction has become popular, where carbon dioxide (CO2) under extreme pressure to removed the active components of the herb. This process is executed at low temperature which preserves the components ensuring that the components aren’t damaged by high temperature. High temperatures can alter or damage the components of holy basil and this is why CO2 extraction is becoming more popular.
Stress can be triggered at any time in life both physical stress and mental stress. Over time the negative effects of stress can affect our health through our immune system, digestion, or nervous system. Figuring out what is causing stress in life and working to eliminate this stress can ultimately bring healing to your body, holy basil can help aid in the process by reducing the stress hormones and help in recovery for quick relieve of your daily woes.
1. Dallman MF, Pecoraro N, Akana SF, La Fleur SE, Gomez F, Houshyar H, Bell ME, Bhatnagar S, Laugero KD, Manalo S. Chronic stress and obesity: a new view of “comfort food”. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Sep 30;100(20):11696-701.
2. Sapolsky R. Stress, Glucocorticoids, and Damage to the Nervous System: The Current State of Confusion. Stress. 1996 ;1:1-19.
3. Elenkov IJ, Chrousos GP. Stress hormones, proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and autoimmunity. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Jun;966:290-303.
4. Gupta SK, Prakash J, Srivastava S. Validation of traditional claim of Tulsi, Ocimum sanctum Linn. as a medicinal plant. Indian J Exp Biol. 2002 Jul;40(7):765-73.
5. Uma Devi P. Radioprotective, anticarcinogenic and antioxidant properties of the Indian holy basil, Ocimum sanctum (Tulasi). Indian J Exp Biol. 2001 Mar;39(3):185-90.
6. Geeta, Vasudevan DM, Kedlaya R, Deepa S, Ballal M. Activity of Ocimum sanctum (the traditional Indian medicinal plant) against the enteric pathogens. Indian J Med Sci. 2001 Aug;55(8):434-8, 472.
7. Prakash J, Gupta SK. Chemopreventive activity of Ocimum sanctum seed oil. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Sep;72(1-2):29-34.
8. Vrinda B, Uma Devi P. Radiation protection of human lymphocyte chromosomes in vitro by orientin and vicenin. Mutat Res. 2001 Nov 15;498(1-2):39-46.
9. Agrawal P, Rai V, Singh RB. Randomized placebo-controlled, single blind trial of holy basil leaves in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1996 Sep;34(9):406-9.
10. Montaron MF, Drapeau E, Dupret D, Kitchener P, Aurousseau C, Le Moal M, Piazza PV, Abrous DN. Lifelong corticosterone level determines age-related decline in neurogenesis and memory. Neurobiol Aging. 2005 Jun 10.
11. Sembulingam K, Sembulingam P, Namasivayam A. Effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn on the changes in central cholinergic system induced by acute noise stress. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Jan 15;96(3):477-82.
12. Sembulingam K, Sembulingam P, Namasivayam A. Effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn on noise induced changes in plasma corticosterone level. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1997 Oct;41(4):429-30.
13. Archana R, Namasivayam A. Effect of Ocimum sanctum on noise induced changes in neutrophil functions. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Nov;73(1-2):81-5.
14. Sen P, Maiti PC, Puri S, Ray A, Audulov NA, Valdman AV. Mechanism of antistress activity of Ocimum sanctum Linn, eugenol and Tinospora malabarica in experimental animals. Indian J Exp Biol. 1992 Jul;30(7):592-6.

B Vitamin Complex and Stress: How Vitamin B Can Reduce Stress

The connection between B vitamin complex and stress is well known; although why a good B vitamin complex can reduce stress is less well known. Before discussing the reason why a Vitamin B formula can reduce stress, we shall first have a look at stress and what causes it. The term means different things to different people, and a stressful situation to one person might not be such to another.
The biochemistry of stress is fairly complex, although involves the production and release of hormones into your bloodstream. When an event occurs that causes stress, the hypothalamus portion of your brain becomes involved. It releases cotocotropin releasing factor (CRF), a hormone that protects you from stress by raising your spirits. CRF sends signals to the pituitary gland causing the release of ACHT (Adrenocorticotropic hormone corticotropin) that causes cortisol to be released into the bloodstream by the adrenal glands. Cortisol speeds up the metabolism.
Coincidentally, the cells of the brain stem and spinal cord send a message that stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete epinephrine that increases the heart rate, breathing and alertness, ready for fight or flight. Both of these mechanisms then lead back to the pituitary gland and your new stress level can repeat the process or stop it, should your stress be reduced. If this cycle continues over an extended period of time it can have serious repercussions on your mental and physical health.
The B vitamins can help to regulate this biochemical function, and in doing so can reduce stress, and with it the associated anxiety and depression. In fact many of the symptoms of vitamin B deficiency are those that are also associated with stress: anxiety, nervousness, depression irritability and so on. There is no one specific form of Vitamin B that helps with stress, and there are eight in total. However, in saying that, the three members of the B vitamin complex that have most effect on stress are vitamins B 3, 6 and 12.
Every one of the B vitamins is involved in cell metabolism. Because they are soluble in water, they are quickly leached from the body so have to be replaced on a regular basis. The various B vitamins are needed by your body for specific purposes, such as Vitamin B1 (thiamin) is essential for the correct function of your nerves, brain and muscles. Although others have their own particular areas of responsibility, they are generally lumped together, not only because they are all soluble in water, but also because they each have a profound effect on the metabolism of your body.
Those mostly connected with the nervous system are Vitamins B3, B6 and B12. Vitamin B3 (Niacin) helps to maintain the proper health of your digestive system, skin and nerves, and B12 (cobalamin) is also needed for a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) along with vitamin B12 are the two principal members of the B complex that have an effect on stress, and a deficiency of these can make you more prone to this frequently debilitating condition. In fact many people that are suffering from a general Vitamin B deficiency have various forms of mental problems.
Because Vitamin B12 is available only from animal sources, deficiencies are common in vegetarians, and even more common in vegans who are advised to take a Vitamin B12 supplement. However, in general you are best to take a Vitamin B complex as opposed to a supplement of any specific member of the B family. This is because a surplus of any one could lead to a depletion of others.
It is thought that much of today’s stress is caused by an inadequate diet, and a diet deficient in various forms of Vitamin B is believed to render the subject particularly prone to stress and anxiety. People that have been suffering undue levels of stress over a protracted period of time can be helped by a regular treatment of B vitamins. In taking such supplements, however, you should also be aware of the various possible effects on your body that the causes of your stress can have. These are frequently neither understood nor recognized when they occur.
For example, if you are under stress due to a poor diet, or conversely, are eating a poor diet due to your high stress levels, you might be building up fatty deposits in your liver. Because of this your general health could be at serious risk in addition to your mental health. It is important, therefore, that you don’t just restrict yourself to a B vitamin complex, but also take a supplement containing inositol and choline bitartrate.
These can reduce the fatty deposit that a poor diet can cause to build up in your liver with consequent risk to life. Such deposits affect the ability of your liver to destroy the environmental toxins to which become exposed as part of your daily life, and which can be directly related to your ability to counter high stress levels.
In general, however, if you are prone to stress and get nervous and worried about the slightest thing that doesn’t go to plan, a B vitamin complex can help: vitamin B can reduce stress, although if your stress is sever you would be better advised consulting a physician than a health store.
Stress is a serious condition, and not one that should be treated lightly. It is possible to treat some stress conditions by using a good B vitamin complex, although should the stress be serious then you should consult your physician. Frequently the stress is not diet related, but due to personal circumstances that cannot be cured by any form of supplement.
However, there are few doubts that a course of Vitamin B supplements can help to overcome many of the metabolic causes of stress, and make up for any deficiency in these vitamins that leave your body almost as quickly as they enter it. Vitamin B can reduce stress, but only if your stress is due to a deficiency: and this is more common that most people are aware.

Managing Stress – A life Changing Journey




What is stress?

 Stress is our body’s way of reacting emotionally and physically to any kind of external pressures or demands. Although this kind of response may be beneficial at times, like when it provides the needed strength and energy in times of danger, too much stress or a prolonged state of stress is harmful to our body.

 What causes stress?

 Stress is caused by a variety of factors for different people. For most people and for most of the time, it is usually caused by unexpected and unpleasant changes which we are not physically and emotionally prepared to handle.

 Some of the factors that have been found to contribute greatly to stress include the following:


Overwork – Working too hard with little time for rest and relaxation has been a constant source of stress for many people.

Home stressors – This is particularly true for those who live with an extended family or relatives. Another classic example of a home stressor is when a stay-at-home mother chooses to do everything for the family thereby tiring herself out everyday and lacking the time for a much needed rest.

Survival Stress – This is the body’s natural reaction when faced with physical danger. Our body responds with a burst of strength and energy which enable us to either “fight” or “flee” from the situation. We can therefore consider this as an acceptable kind of stress.

Internal Stress – This one is caused by none other than our own selves. When we think negatively and worry too much about things we can’t control and put ourselves in situations which may cause too much pressure or demands in our emotional state, we become stressed.

Environmental factors – These are the things around us that disrupt our normal lives and can put a strain on our emotional well-being. Some of these factors may include irritating people, noise, crowded areas, and emergency situations.


Who gets stressed?

 Stress is a classic feature of human life and has become part of almost everyone else’s system. I’m pretty sure that we have all experienced stress at one time or another, whether working on a highly demanding task, trying to get along with difficult people whom we have to spend most of out time with either at home or at work, or taking care of our family and having to work at the same time.

 People of any gender and from all age groups can suffer from stress and anxiety when exposed to any of the different stressors mentioned above.


How does stress affect us?


Stress has been known to cause negative changes to our physical, physiological, and psychological well-being, either directly or indirectly, leading to health problems, low work productivity, poor judgment, and broken relationships among many other things. Some studies even suggest that stress can literally kill us in the long run, as it contributes to the risk of having a heart attack or other fatal diseases.

 Some of the changes that can happen to us when we are stressed may include the following:


Physical changes – headaches, weight loss, abnormal fatigue levels, difficulty sleeping, body aches, increased susceptibility to colds and infections

Psychological / emotional changes – short temper, depression, lack of confidence, poor concentration, helplessness, anxiety attacks, loss of direction, inability to relax, crying spells

Behavioral – turning to drugs or alcohol, becoming destructive, forgetfulness, inability to commit to something or to make decisions

Relationships – intolerance of certain people, not wanting to socialize, decreased sex drive, nagging, resentment, problems with spouse and/or children


How to reduce stress


One of the most important things to remember when handling stress is that everything has to start within us. We can never control what happens in our lives but we can always choose how to face the stressful situations. Here are some ideas that may help prevent or reduce stress.

       Think positively. Negative thoughts have never solved any problem!

Accept changes as part of life and learn to deal with them.

Do something enjoyable at least once a day. This may take as little as 5 minutes of your time!

Strengthen family ties and develop healthy relationships with friends and co-workers.

Eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Join weekly yoga or dance classes, attend group exercises, or indulge in recreational activities that interest you. Having a healthy body is one sure way of protecting oneself against stressful situations.

Be aware of the different factors that cause stress in your life and make every possible way to avoid them.  

Develop skills in money and time management.

Reach out to other people and try to help others in your own little ways. The feeling of fulfillment that comes from being able to help people can boost your self-confidence and strengthen relationships.

Strengthen spiritual resources and develop a strong faith.


These are only among the tried and tested ways to reduce the stress in our lives. Some may be effective for other people while some of these may not cause any positive change at all. What is therefore important is for us to know ourselves better and to figure out which solution can help us overcome the different challenges that life throws at us each and every day. Remember, managing stress is not a one-time deal but rather a life-long journey to a happy and healthy life!