Stress in America and Possible Botanical Solutions

It’s no secret that Americans are stressed. Recently, the American Psychology Association (APA) found Americans are stressed more than ever before.1 While the source of this stress may vary between different populations, stress in America is on the rise.

Environmental stress, no matter the source, often sparks the same chain of neurological and hormonal responses in the body. As these processes continue, lasting negative effects can manifest as various chronic diseases, such as obesity and coronary heart disease (CHD) and psychological disturbances, including insomnia and increased anxiety. Consequently, many individuals have started to look to various forms of lifestyle changes to help reduce daily stress and the many lasting negative results that accompany it. Notably, APA reported 53 percent of Americans are turning to exercise, with yoga and meditation seeing a 3 percent jump in participation from last year alone.

Despite the negative overtones between diet and stress management, botanical-based supplements are also seen as a common way to cope with stress. A 2015 meta-analysis suggested a wide variance of reported use (2.3 to 22 percent) among members of western societies, depending on nation and cohort characteristics.5 Nonetheless, herbal remedies are acknowledged as possible aids in maintaining healthy cognitive functions.

Valerian root (Valeriana Officinalis), a flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia, has shown some promise throughout literature. Supplementation with valerian root has been shown to help reduce psychological markers of stress in those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder and in healthy individuals. Similar results have also been reported accompanied by decreases in physiological markers of stress, such as blood pressure. It has been suggested these results are due to valerian root’s interaction with neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) by influencing production10 and inhibiting breakdown.

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