Chinese herbs for adrenal exhaustion

Adrenal exhaustion and eastern medicine

As every western doctor knows, the adrenal glands and the kidneys are intrinsically linked. As well as filtering the blood, the kidney's detect the presence (or absence) of adrenaline and are therefore indirectly controlled by the adrenal glands.

Amazingly Chinese physicians were not only aware of these links thousands of years before their western counterparts but had even produced a whole program of cures for adrenal exhaustion based upon modulating adrenaline levels - and hence exhaustion - with simple Chinese herbs.

Before we discuss Chinese herbs for adrenal exhaustion in more detail, it's important to explain the Chinese concept of "Yin" and "Yang". Often referred to generally as 'opposites', Yin and Yang are more correctly translated as 'cool' and 'warm' respectively.

Adrenaline - the action hormone - can be thought of as similar to the effect of a herb which increases the body's 'yang', it's heat. Anyone who has suffered from an unexpected adrenaline rush will identify with this analogy. The sudden rush of energy accompanied by sweating and heart palpitations is not dissimilar to someone turning up the body's own internal heat source.

It follows therefore that if someone is suffering from adrenaline exhaustion then an infusion containing a herb belonging to the "yang" category would be welcome as going some way to redress the balance. Patients suffering from the opposite problem - too much adrenaline would benefit from the converse effect of taking a "ying" based compound.

Chinese herbs capable of stimulating or suppressing the body's adrenal functions are called "adaptogenic" - this means that they adapt the body's reactions. Some well known and widely used Chinese herb preparations include.

Ginseng - perhaps the most famous of all Chinese medicines. It has been used in the east for thousands of years and is now catching on increasingly in the west.

Licorice - Not to be confused with childs' sweets, 'neat' full-strength licorice contains a powerful cocktail of hormones which are chemically similar to human adrenaline.

ChangXan - Little known outside of Tibet, this curious herb moss-like herb grows only on the underside of rocks found in close proximity to mountain llamas during the mating season. ChangXan is thought to absorb traces of adrenaline eliminated in the urine of male llamas shortly after mating. A pale green tea made from dried ChanXan is said to be an effective remedy for adrenal exhaustion.