The paired adrenal glands are located above each kidney. They produce important hormones that help the body handle stress and injury. The hormones include norepinephrine, cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
Norepinephrine, a “fight or flight” hormone, prepares the body for greater physical performance. It increases cardiac output, heart rate, and respiration rate, increases mental alertness, elevates metabolic rates, and increases ones tolerance for pain. Norepinephrine is released to help the body handle stress and to react quickly when one feels threatened.
Cortisol helps the body fight off sickness and heal from injuries. It increases energy levels, improves appetite, helps maintain stable emotions, and lowers the immune system’s inflammatory response.
DHEA is an androgen that works with cortisol in keeping the immune system resistant to disease. It helps keep bones strong, control cholesterol levels, sharpens the mind, provides energy, and promotes normal sleep patterns.
Other hormones and chemicals include estrogen, progesterone, cortisone, epinephrine, and dopamine.
When the adrenal glands produce too much or too little hormones/chemicals than needed, problems can occur. The adrenal glands in people with intense and/or prolonged stress become exhausted. Problems include trouble falling asleep, feeling groggy in the morning, “foggy” thinking, fatigue, irritability, headache, depression, and reduced resistance to disease.
Popular Chinese herbs for adrenal exhaustion include:
Licorice root has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It contains plant hormones that are similar to cortisol. People with high blood pressure should avoid taking licorice root unless they are being closely monitored.
Siberian ginseng has a component related to a precursor for cortisol and DHEA. It helps support adrenal function, normalize metabolism, increase resistance to stress, and regulate neurotransmitters.
Ginger root helps stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes for fats and proteins, increase energy, and regulate cortisol levels.
This moss-like herb grows under rocks near mountain llamas. It is believed that during their mating season, the herb absorbs adrenaline from the urine of male llamas, thus making it an effective remedy for adrenal exhaustion.
A healthy diet is very important when rejuvenating the adrenal glands. Include whole foods and adequate protein. Limit sugar and avoid all caffeine.
Get sufficient sleep. It is best to go to bed around 10 pm.
Exercise regularly. Do not over exert yourself. Start out slowly and gradually build up the intensity.
Sunlight is good for the adrenal glands. Get 10-15 minutes of exposure 3-4 times a week.
Before taking Chinese herbs for adrenal exhaustion, you should consult with a health care provider specializing in this field.
- https://www.compassionateacupuncture.com/decreased_adrenal_function.htm (little info)
Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Please read this disclaimer regarding the information contained within this article.