Undoubtfully stress has been the most extended ailment of the 20th century and continues to be so in the 21st. Our modern society demands a lot from us. We work more to get better salaries, or we want to get millions of things done in shorter periods of time. People rush all the time and everywhere. We are continuously trying to achieve a better version of ourselves.
The long working schedules, combined with the day-to-day problems that we need to face, makes it difficult to find a moment to relax. But this is not a trivial matter. Stress can lead to very serious problems and illnesses, such as coronary heart disease that can cause premature death. Many people find it impossible to relax without external help (i.e.: medicines or natural remedies).
Kratom has been recently used by many to achieve relaxation, but there are more plants and herbs that may be as effective. In this article, we will explore some of them.
Why Do We Feel Stress?
All of us have felt stress sometime in our lives. In fact, stress is a natural response to a situation that we perceive as a danger.
But what happens in our bodies when we feel stress?
- When we feel a potential danger, stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline are released into our bloodstream. As a result, we will be more alert, our heart will start racing and we will start sweating.
- Immediately after that, our body experiences what is known as “fight or flight response”. This response makes us be ready to fight or to fly, or better said, run away as fast as we can.
- At the same time, other bodily functions stop working. For example, our digestion will slow down, and the immune activity will decrease.
Having said so, stress is a normal body reaction, we need a certain amount of stress to be able to defend ourselves from dangerous situations. The problem comes when we feel stressed without a dangerous situation that triggers it.
Situations and Conditions That Cause Stress
Although we are not living in a world where we need to escape from predators anymore, there are many situations that can cause us stress.
- Feeling physically or psychologically threatened
- Suffering the death of a relative
- Losing our job
- A relationship breakup
- Family problems
- An illness
- Work overload
As previously said, feeling stressed some time is totally normal and it’s a normal response of our body to an abnormal situation.
Stress Types and Symptoms
Stress can be positive, i.e.: a reaction to an external danger that will allow us to scape, or negative: when we anticipate a negative situation that makes us feel sad, or anxious. Whilst positive stress is necessary for us to survive, negative stress can lead us to depression, and illness.
Depending on the duration, stress can be:
- Acute stress: It doesn’t last long. Its symptoms include muscle tension, stomach upset, high blood pressure, excessive sweating, anger, anxiety or frustration.
- Episodic acute stress: It’s typical in people who expect too much of themselves and of others. They suffer from acute stress frequently. They’re typically belligerent, aggressive and don’t want to seek help.
- Chronic stress: It’s the most serious type of stress. People who suffer from chronic stress can’t find a way out and usually, stop looking for a solution. Typical symptoms include anxiety, depression, insomnia, social isolation, constant headaches, loss of appetite, and even panic attacks.
Consequences of Chronic Stress
As previously said, when we feel stressed all the time in all situations, that is what we call chronic stress. Chronic stress is a very serious condition that must not be taken lightly. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, chronic stress can lead to serious illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and mental disorders that, in extreme situations can end up in suicide.
That’s why it’s so important to visit a professional to treat chronic stress as soon as you notice any symptom.
Kratom Alternatives for Relaxation
Although kratom on its own is not enough to treat chronic stress, one of its effects is that it can be effective to achieve relaxation. That’s why many people use kratom to relax. But, there are other herbs and natural remedies that may be as effective as kratom to achieve relaxation when you feel a bit stressed.
Blue lotus is a plant native to North Africa, it used to grow profusely by the river Nile. In fact, it was used in ancient Egypt due to its many properties. Today, the blue lotus that we find in the market typically comes from Thailand, India, and Sri Lanka.
Blue lotus effects are typically sedative, relaxing, and anti-anxiety, though it posses some aphrodisiac properties too. So, this plant may help cope with situations of mild or moderate stress.
Native to some countries from western Africa, such as Ghana, Nigeria or Cameroon, akuamma seeds have numerous effects. Its alkaloids have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. But they can also be helpful to achieve relaxation and calm. They can help relieve stress and achieve peaceful sleep.
Kanna is a plant native to South Africa where you can still find it in the market, where it’s sold as a commercial product. Kanna’s main alkaloid is mesembrine, which acts as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. This is what gives kanna its anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects, working as a very effective stress reliever. Kanna also has stimulating, energy boosting and mood-elevating effects.
Kava or kava-kava grows naturally in the South Pacific islands, where its relaxing properties are well-known. Some of its effects are calming, relaxing, anti-anxiety, and also helps relieve insomnia. Kava can be taken as a dietary supplement, and it can be also brewed in tea.
This plant is a close relative to kratom and it also grows in some areas of Southeast Asia. It helps reduce stress while promoting focus and concentration. It also has anti-anxiety properties and can promote healthy sleep.
This plant was originally discovered by the Spanish conquistadores when they arrived in Peru. Also known as passionflower, passiflora is mostly used to help ease insomnia and has anti-anxiety and soothing properties.
The properties of valerian root were already known by the ancient Greeks and Romans. Valerian has potent soothing and calming properties and it’s an effective remedy to treat insomnia. It can also help ease mild anxiety.
Alternative Therapies for Relaxation
In recent times, we can find a variety of therapies that can be helpful when dealing with stress. Some of them include:
- Mindfulness and meditation
Finally, remember that all these remedies are effective to achieve relaxation when you feel that you are a bit stressed and tired, but not to treat chronic stress.