|Daisy trying hard to keep eyes open
If you are reading this and are not experiencing a little extra stress or find yourself wrapped tightly as the presents under the tree; then please send me your elixir ASAP. I have always used this blog as a safe space to reflect and inform on living with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. I found the biggest thing you learn in medical school which then I fast tracked to being a patient (where I learned more) was how much you don't fucking know. I feel it would have been much easier to write a health blog without a medical degree; especially a Naturopath where one size does not fit all. However, I have decided to start using my knowledge both personal and schooling to highlight products and tools I have found useful; and hope you will too. There of course will be an disclaimer at the end of this post; but goes without saying please discuss any medical decisions with your physician.
|Consult with Physician before adding any medication or supplement
So thank you for joining me on the first ever supplement highlight Pure Encapsulations Cortisol Calm. When I first was ill; I was medically anorexic. That was about the only useful diagnosis that Mayo Clinic gave me; however they missed that minor subclinical hyperthyroidism. Bravo brainiacs. My point that I am getting to was I was too weak to handle any supplements except for two herbs that are known to decrease thyroid output. (That's for another day) Even years into this illness the traditional herbals/supplements and even medications either did way to much and aggravate or did absolutely nothing. It is only recently I would acutely notice shifts when taking or stopping certain supplemental protocols.
|"Don those are berries"
The first thing you learn in herbal medicine is the synergy of the plant. It's fascinating how they have all these natural built in protections to balance out potential toxicities. While most medicines come from plants; the most famous being aspirin. Aspirin's origins date back more than 3500 years ago when the bark from the willow tree was used as a pain reliever and to reduce fevers. Ironically the Spanish Flu bolstered the use of aspirin. Aspirin History From Willow to Wonderdrug; Pub Med. The previous two articles are one among many of the history of aspirin. The science of finding the "active ingredient"worked in isolation for aspirin. But often it doesn't; removing the parts of a plant to create a drug at times could be compared to saying just eat a bunch of vitamins instead of food. We can see the current shift with cannabis and medicinal mushrooms. It’s not to say pharmaceutical companies aren’t going to continue to try to mimic the “essential molecule” and package it up; but demand and education of these medicinal plants is speaking louder. Have you ever listened to a weed pharmacist? They will give you a god damn headache so big you will be shouting just give me a fucking aspirin! The art of medicine.
So to our product de jour; Cortisol Calm. Cortisol Calm combines: Vitamin D, Ashwaganda (little side note also known as winter berry; cue last post...), Rhodiola, Magnolia and L-theanine. Per the label the product is recommended to support relaxation, sleep and mood. My personal opinion is Pure Encapsulations did an excellent job of synergy with this product. The herbs listed are all under the broad category of adaptogens, ie: help the body adapt to stress. They work on the GABBA neuropathway. GABBA keeps us cool; like sunglasses on a beach cool. Vitamin D more and more research is popping up every day; from immunity, depression and anxiety. It’s currently the Belle of the Ball vitamins; I’m always a little mindful when someone is named Prom Queen. Therefore please use caution if someone is recommending the excessive dosing of Vitamin D. It it is not always about consumption but absorption; Vitamin D is fat soluble high doses should be carefully monitored. I am very comfortable with Cortisol Calms amount. L-theanine a non protein amino acid is found primarily in green tea and some mushrooms. It helps to increase mental function and simultaneously decrease anxiety. All these ingredients rolled up into one capsule I find a really well rounded product.
These herbs have been used for centuries. An interesting fact about the Magnolia species; is this tree is rooted in history before the introduction of bees! Can you believe that? Beatles were the trees' source of pollination. Ninety Five million years ago these roots were planted; if the supplement doesn't ground you perhaps that little factoid will.
If you are fist starting out in the world of supplements and herbals it can be a bit overwhelming. A helpful way to begin is to find a framework. One such framework is getting an overview of your Ayruvedic "doshas" Vata, Pitta and Kapha. No one fits neatly in one box, however we all tend to have our predominant leanings to these ancient categories. In the most simplest terms Kapha's think earth mother grounded and calm, Vata your easy breezy head in the clouds feet off the ground and Pitta the little fire pistol with a short fuse. If anyone has had toddlers I bet you can spot their dosha mood in a hot minute. There are plenty of places online that can help you find you overall type which is a good starting point of where to best support your current state. Dosha Quiz This was a quick google search, there are many more.
The reason I took that little diversion besides the fact that I'm a “tad" Vata myself is that this formula is helpful in the Vata or Pitta state. If your head is spinning and you are screaming at the cashier because they grabbed the wrong bag or if your mind is buzzing around faster than you can keep up this may be the formula to aide you. However, if you feel heavy and slow, having difficulty getting motivated would tend towards an excess of Kapha energy and this wouldn't be my first choice. This is a simple example of how knowing your baseline constitutional state is a helpful place to begin.
The biggest dilemma when dipping your toes into holistic and preventative medicine is thinking you need it all. Between bloggers (wink) and influencers there is a huge market and payday for "wellness culture". Wellness culture don't be fooled is currently being monetized by everyone that is healthy and health conscious; a genetic goddess selling you CBD gummies. I used to call it the Reader's Digest Syndrome; to get with the times the Gwyneth GOOP. My grandmother was the queen of that particular affliction. I would come over and she would have pages torn out of what was good for what. This for her eyes that for her bones this for her stamina etc etc. The problem is it is true; these vitamins, minerals and whole foods are all good for you; however that doesn't mean you need all of them all the time. When I was in school we would ask patients to bring in all of their supplements. They almost always left with fewer than they brought in a more efficient protocol.
The other important factor is dosage. Just like prescription medications too much or too little yields ineffectiveness or side effects. With a product like Cortisol Calm I would personally do what's called a loading dose. For the first week take more a few times a day especially if in an overly stressed state. Then slowly decrease til you find your sweet spot. Please remember herbals and supplements are medicinal therefore can react and enhance or decrease medications you may already be taking. It is wonderful if reading this you want to begin to take more control of your health and well being. Preventatively and acutely however please do it with care and respect.
|Herbal use is the bark; but this is just so pretty
Wishing you all a restful and joyful holiday season. This is not an easy time; try and find your breathe, and root in what and whom you love. Remember the Magnolia Tree and persevere. Meaning Magnolia Tree
Walking through the tall trees
Going where the wind goes
Blooming like a red rose
Breathing more freely
Light out singing
I'll walk you in the morning sunshine
Walk you in the sunshine