Preventing the Effects of Stress The Stress Response and the Role of Adaptogens in Women’s Health 

presented by Aviva Romm, MD, CPM

A good night’s sleep, while fundamental to maintaining health, is not sufficient to prevent the ill effects of the sustained physical and psychological stress that many of our women patients face. The frequent activation of the body’s stress response leads to a state of chronic hypervigilance, unleashing a cascade of stress hormones and other stress-mediating physiological agents that can lead to a host pf health conditions – metabolic syndrome, reproductive disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disorders, and many others.

The adaptogens are an important therapeutic category of herbs that can reduce not only stress-related symptoms, but prevent or mitigate the long-term effects of stress on the body, thus reducing our allostatic load. They are used to promote a sense of well-being, improve energy and stamina, reduce fatigue, improve immunity, and enhance mental concentration, and promote hormonal balance due to their regulating effects on the HPA axis. In so doing, they aide the body’s innate ability, when thrown off by stressors, to recover homeostatic balance or homeostasis. In Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, these herbs are considered the Kings and Queens of the herbal tonic world.

Learning Objectives:

  • Review the role and importance of the HPA axis and stress response in modern health and chronic illness
  • Understand the concept of adaptogens
  • Discuss 5 common herbal adaptogens, their applications, safety, and potential herb-drug interactions

Recorded: February 2015