The best cure for stress: from the laboratory or from nature?


The use of synthetic sedatives, sedatives and anti-depressants has been alarmingly high for years. In the United States, for example, there were more than 80 million prescriptions for benzodiazepines (tranquillizers) in a recent year. In Belgium and the Netherlands, too, tranquillizers have been among the most commonly swallowed drugs for years. And their use is still increasing. 

For some it is a necessity, but most of them should never have started. Taking synthetic tranquillizers can be addictive in the long term. Often the dose has to be increased to maintain the same effect. Moreover, these drugs do not really contribute to solving the causes of the tensions. 

My experiences with natural tranquillizers - for example based on valerian, melissa, lavender, ginseng, passiflora - are more positive. Properly applied, they work safely and are body-friendly. Without side effects and not addictive. Another big advantage is that these herbal remedies work very specifically. They can remove typical stress symptoms and that is usually not possible with synthetic drugs. 

Different reactions to stress
People can react to stress in very different ways. This often has to do with an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system. This consists of two large parts: the orthosympathetic part (roughly speaking, the part of the system that allows us to react) and the parasympathetic part (takes care of the control of the digestion and to calm down). 

Someone in whom the orthosympathetic part of the system predominates, usually reacts agitated, violently and emotionally in a stressful situation. Flushing, warming up, constipation and low urination occur. When the parasympathetic has the upper hand, stress is often accompanied by depressive feelings, fatigue, forgetfulness, being cold and a tendency to withdraw from the problem. What is special is that certain plants can adjust the balance between these two systems. They can boost or slow down the functioning of one of the two systems. In this way, the underlying problem can be tackled very specifically, with special results. Thymus vulgaris, for example, can have an inhibiting effect on the parasympathetic. And Passiflora incarnata, for example, has sympathicolytic properties. This is a wonderful example of natural medicine: the use of natural, mild-acting agents to restore a disturbed balance in the body... 
Of course, it is logical to first pay attention to the causal problems and all the stressful factors that contribute to increased stress.