How would you like to significantly increase your stress resilience and look good while doing it? Read on!
Perhaps no organ more than the kidneys and no gland more than adrenals are challenged more by stress, nor are more capable of increasing our resilience to it. So feel free to take a few minutes here to relax and learn how to optimize your kidney and adrenal function, and in doing so, create the foundation of beautiful healthy hair, which in traditional medicine systems is considered to be "the blossoms of the adrenals."
The kidneys, two small organs nestled symmetrically under our ribs in our lower back, are responsible for our urination function. But just a fraction of us understand its critical role in maintaining a balanced blood pressure, a healthy alkaline-acid balance, healthy electrolytes spectrum, optimal salt and water equilibrium, and proper purification and filtering of our blood. When you realize that in many ways “life is in the blood,” then the kidneys also become a filter of your life as well.
There are over a million nephrons in a human kidney. The nephron is an incredibly intricate micro-tapestry of dozens of ducts, glands, venules, arterioles, tubules and capsules all woven into what is in effect a tiny kidney, in both form and function.
The point here is that our kidneys are very complex and yet simple, very robust and yet fragile. And what’s more, because one of the most important jobs of the kidneys is to filter our blood non-stop, it means that if our diet and lifestyle is strong and filled with potent organic food and herbs, then our kidneys are almost the first to benefit from this healthy diet, and they become stronger, and in this strength, hold space for our True Wellness, which includes the "bullet-proof vest" of the stress resilience of a champion.
The adrenals are near the kidneys.’ That’s an etymology joke as ad is Latin for "near" and renal is derived from the Latin word for kidney. At the weight of a nickel and the width of a quarter, these two small pyramid-shaped glands, each perched upon a kidney, are a very important part of the endocrine gland system.
They are in constant communication with all its fellow governors of balance via their own primordial e(ndocrine)mail system of data packages called hormones that are broadcast over your inner net of veins and arteries. The adrenals especially have a pretty wide bandwidth of transmission when it comes to the hypothalamus and the pituitary endocrine glands, which together forms the HPA axis, a very important system of activation and feedback loops.
Adrenals manage our response to stress via controlling the release of some seriously potent hormones which double as neurotransmitters, including the steroids cortisol, adrenaline (epinephrine) and norepinephrine. By controlling the heart rate, the flow of blood in veins and the flow of air in the lungs, and some facets of metabolism, these hormones, in literally less than a second, can take you from a state of relaxed ease to sprinting faster than seemingly possible, your version of a jet take-off. This is the famous "flight or fight" reaction, this is exactly what keeps us alive when the tiger emerges from the forest hungry for some dinner. But like running jet fuel in a normal car, if there is daily continued use of the adrenals to get away from tigers you will burn out. Simple.
Whatever you do when you see lists like this, don’t panic. I find it somewhere between ironic, concerning and diagnostic when people quake as they see a few items that they think match who they think they are.
Though the kidney and adrenals are responsible for a lot of the acute stress response, the “fight-flight” syndrome, believe me, in the long run, your mind is the real fulcrum at the center of your resilience to stress. So daily do your best to stay away from mental, emotional and physical stressors and stress, and find or create inner resolution to all stress which is unavoidable.
Rest your body, mind, and soul, to
Wrest from stress your life’s control
Yes, you should rest, but it is not a sedated brain-dead kind of rest, but an alive awakened mind attached to that which creates positive peaceful empowerment. When it is time to restore the kidney/adrenal essence, stay calm, centered, and free. Make the choice to not engage in fights, conflicts or flights of any sort, internal nor external, as chances are they are so not worth feeding your life force to. Audit your life force in all its guises, audit your energy, audit who and what gets it, audit who and what you want to give it to, and then use your mind and will to choose that in ease and grace.
Something about human nature likes to hear "yes" and contracts when it hears a "no," so though I don’t want to stress you, here are the obligatory litany of "no's" to follow during adrenal restoration, conveniently disguised as a list of items to be minimized.
There are hundreds of herbs which will support the kidneys and adrenals, either directly or indirectly, and of those there are several that are especially good at optimizing the whole terrain of these organs and glands. These include:
Though optimal dose depends on the individual, in general when working to restore the kidney/adrenals one can easily take up to 5 grams (10 capsules) total in 2-3 doses spread out over the day.
Whatever herbs you take, and however you take them, washing them down with a strong cup of Tulsi Tea will amplify their effectiveness as the vehicle (called anupana in Sanskrit) of your anti-stress adaptogens is also an adaptogen. This is especially true with Tulsi Gotu Kola Tea or Tulsi Cinnamon Rose Tea. In fact, you can do what I do: in one large cup make a tea with 2-3 bags of Tulsi Gotu Kola Tea, 2-3 bags of Tulsi Cinnamon Rose Tea, and 2-3 bags of Tulsi Licorice Spice Tea.
One of my heroes is Viktor Schauberger, an Austrian genius who is one of the world’s greatest masters of biomimicry. He believed that a society will take on those qualities of its main source of energy, for instance our society is based on the destructive energy of the internal combustion engine, and so our society would to some extent always be destructive.
He wasn’t referring to coffee (and toxin filled lifeless foods) but the principle applies: coffee causes an imbalanced stressed agitation that ends in a crash into dull lethargy. Hmm… sound familiar? Our kidney/adrenals so take a beating in this coffee culture, don’t they? And then we immerse these organs in toxins. But what is really amazing is that we then wonder why we are tired!
Our lives start taking on the characteristics of our energy’s source, so make your choice as best as you can, as often as you can by consuming pure, potent, organic, biodynamic, premier-quality, life-force-filled food and herbs, and in doing so you create less stress on yourself, your community, and the ecosystems of our good Earth!
Prashanti de Jager
Spring Navratri, 2013