Stress-Modulating Blends from the Orient and the Ancient
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Ancient remedies of Chinese Medicine and from the Celts support relaxation and emotional balance
In addition to the popular botanicals and botanically-derived substances like ashwagandha and L-theanine, many other natural agents that support relaxation and healthy sleep exist. Although many people will say they have “tried everything,” substances that are less commonly used in the US exist that many have not tried. This includes a combination of botanicals used in Classical Chinese Medicine and an extract from a deep-sea fish used by the Ancient Celts, both of which have evidence for helping to mitigate the body’s physical and emotional response to stressful challenges.
A Classic Chinese Medicine blend supports relaxation and sleep
Collective Happiness Bark, also known as Silk tree (Albizia julibrissin) is one of three herbs in a blend of botanicals used in Chinese medicine for their calming effect, as well as to support sleep at higher doses. The other botanicals in this blend are Ramulus uncariae, also known as Gou Teng or Gamdir vine, and Jujube (Ziziphus spinose) seed. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), mood issues such as irritability, frustration, and nervousness, as well as insomnia, are seen as a collective issue of the heart and the liver. This blend of botanicals is focused at calming down the liver, clearing heat and removing spasm, also removing obstructions to the flow of Chi and quieting the spirit.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), mood issues such as irritability, frustration, and nervousness, as well as insomnia, are seen as a collective issue of the heart and the liver.
Although descriptions and concepts such as these are unfamiliar to us in the West, the research behind these botanicals brings up things which we have much familiarity such as serotonin, GABA, and nervous system protection., These botanicals also have been demonstrated to have antioxidant effects,,, which is important to consider as well in mood disorders such as depression, which we now know often has an inflammatory component to it.
Silk tree has been shown in animal models to have anti-anxiety effects, targeting serotonin receptors in the brain., The bark and two of its isolates (quercitrin and isoquercitrin) have been demonstrated to have dose-dependent sedative effects in mice, decreasing sleep latency and increasing sleeping duration. Rhynchophylline, one of the major constituents of Ramulus uncariae, has been shown to modulate sleep, increasing both total sleep time and rapid eye movement in rats. Finally, jujube seed and its extract or constituent compounds have been shown to support the effects of GABA, a calming neurotransmitter, with anti-anxiety effects at lower doses and sedative effects at higher doses. Jujube has also been shown to have neuroprotective effects, stimulating new nerve growth, also improving learning and memory. Centuries of traditional use of these botanical weighs heavily in support of their use for these mood-balancing and potentially sleep-supportive effects.
Mood and adrenal-supporting food from the deep seas
One of the things that can be helpful when stresses run high are substances known as adaptogens. Adaptogens help the body adapt to stressors, be they physical, mental, or other challenges of endurance. Adaptogens commonly are the roots of herbs such as licorice root, ginseng, maca, rhodiola, and many more. In addition to these plants, an extract from the deep-sea fish, Blue Ling (Molva dypterygia), has also been shown to have adaptogenic effects. This deep-water fish is found at a depth of 1,500 to 3,000 feet, where the oxygen deficiency and extreme pressure and temperature have made it develop a highly specialized metabolism and physiology. Historically, the extract from this fish was used by the ancient Celts to improve resilience to physical and emotional stress.
Historically, the extract from this fish was used by the ancient Celts to improve resilience to physical and emotional stress.
This extract contains a high concentration of amino acids, small peptides, essential fatty acids (including omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9), and is rich in vitamins A, D, and E which serve as food to the brain, supporting neurotransmitter production and healthy cellular function. In animal studies, the extract has been shown to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant-like effects., In humans, improved motivation and concentration, reduced fatigue, as well as increased alpha wave activity (the kinds of waves seen in relaxation) have been observed., Additionally, in healthy college students, significantly reduced anxiety has also been observed with ongoing consumption, with trends towards reduced anxiety for a prolonged period after discontinuation as well.
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 Jung MJ, et al. Antioxidant activity from the stem bark of Albizzia julibrissin. Arch Pharm Res. 2003 Jun;26(6):458-62.
 Choi SH, et al. Distribution of free amino acids, flavonoids, total phenolics, and antioxidative activities of Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) fruits and seeds harvested from plants grown in Korea. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jun 22;59(12):6594-604.
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 Yoo JH, et al. Rhynchophylline, One of Major Constituents of Uncariae Ramulus et Uncus Enhances Pentobarbital-induced Sleep Behaviors and Rapid Eye Movement Sleep in Rodents. Nat Prod Sci. 2016 Dec 1;22(4):263-9.
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Dr. Carrie Decker
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