Have you ever experienced an upset stomach before an important event?
“Butterflies” in your stomach before a first date, or a big presentation at work.
Have an argument with someone and leave feeling like your stomach is “tied in knots”.
All of these digestive health issues can be due to stress, and right now stress levels are pretty high due to issues related to COVID-19.
Stress about the health of yourself, and your friends and family.
Financial worries due to job loss, or hours being cut back.
If you are experiencing stomach issues due to any of this, there are a number of natural solutions which can help ease these issues.
Keep reading as we take a closer look from a naturopathic perspective at the connection between stress levels and stomach upset, as well as a few natural remedies to help ease tummy issues.
The Gut-Brain Connection
Have you ever wondered why feeling stressed or upset can lead to stomach issues?
Why being in an uncomfortable situation can lead to feelings of nausea?
It’s because activity in the brain affects the gastrointestinal tract.
A useful example of this is when you start to think about eating, signals are sent to your stomach to release stomach acids which can help digest food.
This close interaction between the brain and stomach helps to explain why we experience stomach issues when we are stressed out.
But there’s more to it than that.
In fact, part of your nervous system is located inside your gut.
Your central nervous system (CNS) is located in your brain and spinal cord, and your enteric nervous system is like a liaison between your CNS and your gut.
So when you have a “gut feeling” about something, or a difficult situation gives you an upset stomach, that feeling is coming from your enteric nervous system
The Connection Between Stress And Many Other Illnesses
In additional to stomach issues, the journal Alternative Medicine Review showed links between stress and a number of other illnesses.
Some of these include:
Soothe Your Stress To Soothe Your Gut
If you are experiencing stomach upset due to stress, taking measures to lessen your stress can also help to relieve your stomach issues.
When reviewing these remedies, it is very important to keep in mind these are not cures or treatments for COVID-19.
At this point, there is nothing – naturopathic or otherwise – which can cure COVID-19.
If you suspect you have symptoms of COVID-19 it is important to follow the directions from your local health authority and practice self-isolation.
If what you are experiencing is stress and stomach upset due to the uncertainty in the world, though, keep reading for some natural solutions.
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are plants, herbs, and roots which have a long history of being used in traditional Chinese medicine, as well as Ayurvedic healing traditions.
Each adaptogen works in a different way, but generally speaking, they all help the body to adapt to stress, and some can help support your immune system and improve overall well-being.
Let’s look specifically at the use of adaptogens for dealing with stress.
Adaptogens For Stress Management
Adaptogens are generally seen as plants and herbs which can help resist stress on the body.
They help the body to react and recover from both physical and mental stress.
Let’s take a closer look at a few specific adaptogens.
Ashwagandha has been used for a long time in Ayurvedic medicine.
An article in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine looked at the effectiveness of ashwagandha in reducing stress in adults.
The study found participants in the ashwagandha treatment group experienced significant reductions to stress scores when compared to the placebo group.
Ashwagandha works by lowering cortisol levels, which are linked to stress and can help with insomnia, related to high-stress levels.
2. Tulsi/Holy Basil
Tulsi, also known as holy basil comes from Indian tradition and is typically taken in the form of a tea.
A 2014 study in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine looked at the wide range of uses of this multi-purpose herb.
It was found to be a potent adaptogen which protects against toxins and is beneficial for overall health.
3. Licorice Root
Licorice root has been shown to help promote and support adrenal gland activity, which means it may help balance adrenal hormones which include cortisol, the “stress hormone”
Additionally, a study in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine looked at the effect of an indigestion remedy containing licorice as a main ingredient.
Patients who received the medication containing licorice experienced a significant reduction in symptoms compared to the placebo group.
Seeing as how licorice can deal with both stress as well as digestive issues, it may be doubly as useful for dealing with digestive issues related to stress.
Licorice root has also been used as a natural treatment for cold sores.
It should be noted that because licorice can interact with some medications, as well as cause issues for pregnant individuals, it is important to speak to you doctor or naturopath before beginning its use.
4. American Ginseng
Ginseng has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine.
American ginseng in particular is thought to have relaxing effects, whereas Asian ginseng is said to be invigorating.
A study in the journal Psychopharmacology looked at the effects of ginseng on brain function.
American ginseng was found to increase calmness, reaction time accuracy, and working memory.
Ginseng is also useful as a treatment for men’s fertility.
Book An Appointment At Annex Naturopathic
Are you experiencing higher-than average levels of stress due to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Is this leading you to also have unpleasant physical symptoms and digestive issues?
Annex Naturopathic is here to help.
Although we cannot provide treatment for COVID-19 itself, we can offer naturopathic solutions for the unpleasant symptoms linked to the excess stress you may be experiencing in this time.
Our office is currently closed for in person visits, however we are still offering phone and virtual consultation.
Contact us today for more information or to schedule a virtual appointment.