The Effect of Stress & Anxiety on Autoimmune conditions
By Dr. Elizabeth Winter
Stress and anxiety are common complaints in our fast-paced, over-worked world and having an autoimmune disease only adds to the stress and anxiety we already experience. More and more, people are finding it difficult to unwind and are experiencing symptoms such as insomnia, racing thoughts, feelings of overwhelm and short temper. When we experience stress, the physiologic cascade that occurs in our body can actually cause autoimmune disease to worsen. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2018 showed that in individuals who reported a stress-related disorder, there was actually an increase in the prevalence of autoimmune disease.
When you experience stress, hormones, for example, cortisol and adrenaline, are released. While in short bursts, cortisol can limit inflammation, high levels of cortisol over the long-term can actually increase inflammation and pave the way for the development of or exacerbations in autoimmune disease. Furthermore, when stress goes on and on, the body can’t continue to produce sufficient levels of cortisol leading to a condition called adrenal fatigue. In this case, there aren’t sufficient levels of cortisol to effectively modulate the immune system causing immune system dysregulation and an increase in inflammation.
Our Stress & Anxiety tea blend is formulated to gently and effectively target stress, lower cortisol levels, and restore your sense of calm. Before you even take your first sip of this stress-busting blend, the aromatic properties of lavender and rose will have you feeling more serene (the volatile oils of both have been shown in studies to reduce anxiety and depression and increase feelings of calm). Additionally, lavender has been shown to increase the relaxing effects of GABA, a naturally occurring neurotransmitter well understood to reduce anxiety, as well as to reduce serotonin-1A receptor binding, leading to relaxation. Passionflower is one of the most popular herbal nervines (i.e. nervous system tonics) and with good reason: it has been shown to relieve insomnia, improve the quality of sleep, and in one study was even shown to be as effective as clonazepam in decreasing generalized anxiety. Finally, rhodiola is an excellent adaptogen (an herb that helps our adrenal glands to cope with stress). It works to decrease physical and mental fatigue and enhance energy production while at the same time exerting calming effects and decreasing situational anxiety.
This delicious and effective blend of herbs makes for a calming cup of tea appropriate for any time of day. Enjoy a cup in the evening to unwind, in times of acute stress, or daily as a nervous system and adrenal tonic to prevent the negative effects of daily stress. Your immune system will thank you!