Friday, 23 October 2009

Herb of the Month - Rhodiola

Rhodiola rosea (Artic Root or simply Rhodiola) is not a well known herb like Echinacea or St. John's Wort but it is fast becoming a very popular commercial supplement owing to its versatility and effectiveness in combating the symptoms of modern living, particularly stress. Its traditional use (in eastern Europe and Asia) as a nervous system stimulant and as an antidepressant has much appeal today as it ever did. Rhodiola is thought to invigorate the body and mind by increasing its resistance to a multitude of chemical, biological and physical stressors. The main reason it is so popular, and probabaly more so than St. John's Wort is that it has effective antidepressant properties without the numerous side effects and known interactions of St. John's Wort. Rhodiola boosts energy levels, enhances nervous system activity, promotes better sleep, improves appetite, combats irritability and stress, alleviates headaches, improves fatigue and reduces high blood pressure. It is also good at protecting the heart and circulatory system.
Commercial preparations can vary greatly but a therapeutic dose of 3.6-6.14mg a day in a standardised extract formulation is usually considered safe and effective. However, specialists advice from a fully qualified and registered herbalist is strongly advised.
To find a practitioner in your local area, go to

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Coping with Stress in a Recession

In a climate of recession, many are facing a number of difficulties. Stress and anxiety are common symtoms, not exclusive to the current economic climate. Most people would not consider it 'rocket science' to work out that whatever factor is causing them stress (called the stressor) could also be making them ill. However, due to the body's remarkable capacity to cope with stress, this connection between the stressor and symptoms is not always so glaringly obvious. There are many causes of stress including work, relationships with family or partner, financial anxiety, threat of redundancy, increased workloads etc... Insidious and subtle manifestations are difficult to diagnose but very often, examining the wider influences on the person and identifying any contributory factors will make diagnosis and treatment that much more effective.

Common stress-related symptoms:
  • headache (computer overuse, worry, eye strain)
  • sinusitis (infection of the sinuses - reduced immune defences)
  • recurring colds (reduced defences due to prolonged & sustained stress)
  • palpitations (anxiety - a number of different causes)
  • skin problems (stress, anxiety, worry)
  • hair loss (worry, anxiety, stress, poor diet, hormonal influences)

Much of the work of herbalists involves examining stress and addressing symptoms of stress within a holistic context. Herbs can be a powerful and effective remedy. Examining lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, recreational pursuits, relaxation techniques, hobbies etc...) can give real meaning to lives of patients so that they are empowered to make improvements so that they can achieve a sustainable and manageable work-life balance.

Contact for more advice on herbal remedies for tackling stress or the Federation of Holistic Therapists ( for other supportive therapies in coping with stress-related symptoms and general holistic counselling.