A Holistic Approach to Stress

Whether you need just a few extra minutes of calm in your day or more long-term stress relief, Pharmaca offers a variety of different approaches to beating anxiety. And don’t forget—helping your body better cope with stress can go a long way toward optimal health and reducing your risk for chronic conditions like cancer, obesity and heart disease.

The Herbal Approach
When it comes to stress-fighting herbs, Cassy Dymond, ND at our Seattle – Wallingford location, says her go-tos are passionflower, lemon balm and milky oats. “WishGarden Herbs has some really nice formulas,” says Cassy. Deep Stress, for example, contains herbs like nettles, oat seed, thyme, bladder wrack and skullcap—“a really great herb for stress. This one is ideal when you have stress and anxiety with agitation and a hard time falling asleep,” says Cassy. She also likes their Emotional Ally, which can be helpful when you’re going through a difficult period in life, like a personal or professional change. That one also includes skullcap and St. John’s wort.

In addition to calm-inducing herbs, says Cassy, “My tendency is to look for herbs that are supportive to the adrenals. If someone is stressed out it’s important to address the adrenal glands, too.” That’s when she turns to adaptogenic herbs like ashwaghanda, eleuthero and rhodiola, found in Gaia Herbs’ Adrenal Health and Vitanica’s Adrenal Assist.

The Vitamins & Supplements Approach
“B vitamins are also hugely important regarding stress,” says Cassy. “They are co-factors in so many different cellular processes, and when we’re stressed, we burn through B5 and B6 more quickly.” Look for B complexes from Thorne Research, MegaFood or New Chapter.

Two more to add to the stress-fighting toolkit, according to Cassy: vitamin C, which offers good antioxidant support during times of stress, and magnesium, which can be help relaxing the muscles and offer physical calm.

The Homeopathic Approach
This subtle, gentle form of healing can work on very specific forms of stress.  Elizabeth Vassar, homeopath at our Brentwood store, tells us about some of her favorites.

Ignatia amara: “This is one of my number ones for coping with sudden disappointment or loss, such as the ending of a relationship,” says Elizabeth.

Natrum muriaticum: “This is good for people who have a tendency toward mild to moderate depression,” she says.

Kali phosphoricum: Elizabeth commonly recommends this for overworked people. “I usually give it to people who are tired of their job! It helps calm the nerves.”

Bryonia Alba: This is good for someone who has suffered big losses—like their job, a home, etc., and is experiencing depression because of it, says Elizabeth.

Arsenicum album: “This is for the people who worry about everything!” says Elizabeth.

Because homeopathy is so specialized to each person’s individual needs, it’s best to speak with a homeopathic practitioner at Pharmaca about proper strengths and dosages.

The Flower Essence Approach
Much like homeopathy, flower essences are made via multiple dilutions of flower, tree and bush extracts, and work on an energetic level. In the 1920s, British homeopath Edward Bach isolated 38 flower essences that he felt were especially helpful in balancing emotions—making them ideal for beating stress.

Bach’s Rescue Remedy, a combination of five flower essences, is a best-selling stress-relief option. “Rescue Remedy is designed for immediate relief from stress or some kind of trauma,” says Lindsay Fontana, homeopath at our Santa Fe store.  “Sometimes when you can just get a little distance from things, you can find more peace. And that’s what Rescue Remedy really gives you.” Available in drops, as a spray and in tasty pastilles, the formula includes five flowers: rock rose, clematis, impatiens, cherry plum and star of Bethlehem.

Lindsay cites a few other individual flower essences that can be helpful for different stressful scenarios:

Aspen is good for stress—literally for fears and worries of unknown origin

Cherry Plum is for fear of losing control

Elm is for when you’re overwhelmed by responsibility

Honeysuckle helps when you’re dwelling on the past

Pine relieves self-reproach or guilt

Again, because of the specialized nature of these essences, it’s best to work with a Pharmaca practitioner on choosing individual products.

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