Cortisol is a stress hormone that plays a role in your body’s fight-or-flight response, which is how your body reacts to stress or threats. When you’re in danger, your body prepares to either stay and “fight” or run away and “flee.”
In prehistoric times, the fight-or-flight response was crucial for our ancestors to survive attacks from enemies or animals. But you don’t have to be in a jungle fighting tigers to feel ongoing stress. Our bodies have similar reactions to less life-threatening issues, like stressful meetings at work or arguments with loved ones. A daily, busy lifestyle alone may lead to high cortisol levels.
Cortisol affects many parts of your body. It increases your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle tension, and blood sugar levels. This is why your heart pounds, you sweat, and experience heavy breathing when you’re in a stressful situation.
Cortisol also slows down certain body processes, like digestion and reproduction, to conserve energy. Cortisol can even suppress the immune system, increasing your risk of infection.
What Causes High Cortisol Levels?
The hypothalamus (located in the brain), pituitary gland, and adrenal glands all play a role in releasing cortisol into your bloodstream. The following factors can lead to elevated cortisol:
The side effects from certain drugs may also include raising your cortisol levels. For example, birth control pills for contraception, or corticosteroids, typically prescribed for autoimmune diseases, can raise cortisol.
Occasionally, problems with your pituitary gland, a small organ in the brain, or problems with your adrenal glands can elevate cortisol levels.
Common High Cortisol Symptoms
High cortisol levels can lead to a variety of symptoms. Too much cortisol has a negative effect on your health, and continued exposure may lead to what doctors call Cushing’s syndrome (also called hypercortisolism). Cushing’s typically leads to weight gain around the mid-section, face, and upper back, with weight loss from legs.
High cortisol levels can also cause adrenal fatigue, which happens when your adrenal glands are in overdrive from producing this hormone. Other common symptoms of elevated include:
If you’re wondering how to lower cortisol levels, relatively simple lifestyle and diet changes can help. In addition, specific supplements and herbs may also normalize cortisol levels. Below, we’ve listed several natural options.
Improve Your Diet
Studies show that stress often affects your eating behaviors; in particular, you may crave foods high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates. Shifting to a plant-based diet centered around fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats is naturally anti-inflammatory.
• The incredible array of healthy antioxidants you get from eating this way helps reduce both physical stress within your body (“oxidative stress”) and emotional stress — both of which influence cortisol. There is also a specific anti-inflammatory diet you can follow.
• Try stress-relieving foods, including dark chocolate, walnuts, avocado, garlic, figs, Swiss chard, dulse seaweed, citrus fruits, and pumpkin seeds (which are also rich in amino acids).
• Avoid dehydration — which can raise cortisol — by drinking plenty of water. Also, consider drinking green tea because experts believe it lowers cortisol.
Manage Your Stress
One of the most important ways to lower cortisol involves healthfully managing your stress. Consider deep breathing exercises or focusing your mind on a soothing word when you begin to feel stressed. Some people like to visualize tranquil scenes and practice being happy in their mind’s eye.
Find Ways to Relax
Finding ways to relax can help you reduce stress. Try these suggestions:
Develop Healthy Relationships
Relationships, whether friendships, children, parents, workmates, or life partners, often cause a lot of our stress. Learning how to have healthy relationships goes a long way to lowering stress — and hence cortisol. Try these simple but powerful suggestions.
Sometimes, supplements can help us manage the daily stresses of life. An adaptogen is a substance that helps your body “adapt” to stress. Some people benefit from taking adaptogenic herbs to normalize cortisol levels. Two very effective choices are:
Do you feel bloated, and imbalanced or irregular?
Drinking fibrous Chaga helps break down foods and rebuild the gut microbiota (gut floor) to support a healthy digestive function. This means less bloating, less constipation and less inflammation. Your digestive system will feel more balanced if you make Chaga Tea part of your daily regimen.
Do you feel tired and sluggish?
Take a deep breath! Drink Chaga Tea to boost your energy and feel like a super human while running your errands, taking care of your kids, or zipping through your work day! Studies suggest that Chaga improves exercise and fitness effectiveness by expanding the lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen... by up to 40%! Chaga reduces inflammation and post exercise lactic acid levels, and may also due to this fact assist those dealing with chronic asthma problems to open their airways.
Looking for extra protection this season against colds and the flu?
If you have a bacterial infection such as an ear or skin infection, Chaga may stop the bacteria from multiplying so that the condition would not worsen. Depending on your body’s needs, Chaga is multi functional, it can either up-regulate or down regulate your immune system to support healthy recovery times.
And yes, it's made from a a mushroom that grows on a Birch tree!
What Does Chaga Tea Taste Like?
As you might imagine, brewing tea from a substance that grows on the side of a tree results in an earthy flavor profile. Imagine yourself sitting under a birch tree, the warmth of the sun gently kissing your skin. You can smell the moist earth underneath, as the quiet of the forest envelops you in peaceful bliss. That being said, you may find it surprising that this tea holds very little mushroom taste. Indeed, it is delightful!
For thousands of years, the ancient teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism have embraced the concept of etheric energy points in the body known as chakras. These points bring life force and vital energy into the physical form and govern the psychological qualities of a person. There are seven central chakras — four in the upper body that control mental properties and three in the lower that control instinctual properties. They’re arranged vertically along the spinal column:
1) The Root Chakra
This chakra is located at the base of the spine and represents one’s foundation and feeling of being grounded. It concerns survival issues, such as money, and food. How to open the root chakra:
Enjoy a cup of Root Chakra Tea infused with Garnet.
This chakra is located near the lower abdomen, about two inches below the navel (or the width of three fingers). It concerns feelings of abundance, sexuality, and pleasure. How to open the sacral chakra:
Enjoy a cup of Sacral Chakra Tea infused with Moonstone.
3) The Solar Plexus
This chakra is located in the upper abdomen, above the stomach. It concerns feelings of self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
Enjoy a Cup of Solar Plexus Chakra Tea infused with Citrine.
4) The Heart Chakra
This chakra represents one’s ability to feel, give, and receive love. When blocked, love, joy, and inner peace may diminish.
Enjoy a cup of Heart Chakra Tea infused with Rose Quartz.
5) The Throat Chakra
This chakra is located in the throat and concerns communication, self-expression and feelings, and the truth.
Enjoy a cup of Throat Chakra Tea infused with Aquamarine.
6) The Third-Eye
This chakra is located in the center of the forehead and concerns one’s ability to focus and perceive the big picture. It concerns intuition, imagination, wisdom, and the ability to make decisions.
Enjoy a cup of Third Eye Tea infused with Sapphire.
7) The Crown Chakra
This chakra is located at the very top of the head and concerns inner and outer beauty, one’s connection to ‘Spirit’, and pure bliss. It’s the highest chakra.
Enjoy a cup of Crown Chakra Tea infused with Amethyst.
Studies show CBD may make life a little easier for people with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. In the early stages, someone with Alzheimer’s disease may notice mild confusion and difficulty remembering. Eventually, people with the disease may even forget important people in their lives and undergo dramatic personality changes.
Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. While the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is increasing age, it is not a normal part of aging.
According to Dementia Central:
There are three ways which CBD can work to improve health outcomes for persons with dementia; by reducing inflammation, by reducing oxygen build up, and by working as a brain stimulant and neuroprotectant. From a user’s perspective, CBD may reduce stress and anxiety in the individual with dementia as well as reduce the decline of memory and other brain functions. (source)
To view a list of links to studies on CBD and Alzheimer’s, please click here: Alzheimer’s Disease
CBD appears to have powerful anti-anxiety properties.
Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. It is your body’s natural response to stress. Mild anxiety might be vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety may seriously disrupt the sufferer’s daily life. Frequent intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear may be signs of an anxiety disorder.
Research on CBD for anxiety is still in the early stages, but so far, findings are promising. Numerous animal studies and accumulating evidence from experimental, clinical, and epidemiological studies in humans suggest CBD has powerful anti-anxiety properties.
According to a survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2018, almost 62% of CBD users reported using CBD to treat a medical condition. The top three medical conditions were pain, anxiety, and depression. Participants most frequently reported feeling that CBD treated their medical condition(s) “very well by itself” or “moderately well by itself” for the following three conditions: chronic pain, arthritis/joint pain, and anxiety.
To view a list of links to studies on CBD and anxiety, please click here: Anxiety
Research suggests CBD may help relieve depression.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It can disrupt every aspect of the sufferer’s life, making eating, sleeping and everyday functioning very difficult. Depression is not the same as being a little sad over a specific incident – the feelings associated with depression are persistent and chronic.
Research has shown that CBD has the ability to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.
CBD has demonstrated antidepressant-like effects in several animal studies, including two conducted in 2009 and 2012.
While studying the modulation of the serotonin system through endocannabinoid signaling in 2011, researchers found evidence that endocannabinoids are important regulators of stress responses.
In an article titled Depression and Cannabis, Dr. Stacey Kerr explains that “a dysregulated endocannabinoid system is implicated in clinical depression”:
A 2014 study concluded that “preclinical data … has shown that elevated endocannabinoid signaling is able to produce behavioral and biochemical effects as [well as] conventional antidepressant treatment, and that many antidepressants alter endogenous cannabinoid tone.”
There is potential, but as with many areas of cannabis science, more research needs to be done. Regardless of the research, some patients certainly claim cannabis is effective as an antidepressant. These patients admit that it helps them cope with life stressors and will sometimes allow them to see things in a more positive state of mind. (source)
For a list of links to more studies on CBD and depression, please click here: Depression
Several studies suggest CBD can help treat arthritis.
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, which typically get worse with age. “Arthritis” is not a single disease – the term refers to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. The most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and gout.
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting over 50 million Americans. Several studies in animals suggest that CBD could help treat arthritis and relieve the associated pain. One study found that CBD reduced inflammatory pain in rats by affecting the way that pain receptors respond to stimuli.