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End of Endo, Boosting your Energy Levels
October 25, 2003
Boosting your energy levels
In this issue we will look at a couple of natural remedies to help boost your energy levels. I know from personal experience how drained and exhausted you can feel with Endometriosis. For many women this feeling of exhaustion can be constant and you wonder how you are going to get through the day. I am convinced that in my own case that I did actually suffer from ME at the same time that I had Endometriosis. This situation is quite common, but I will not go into this here today - maybe another topic to cover in the future.
Why are you so tired!
Why women with Endometriosis suffer so badly from exhaustion is not clearly understood. There have been various ideas put forward, both from the medical profession and from Endo sufferers themselves. It is a natural process of the body to feel tired when dealing with viruses, bugs, colds and so on. We naturally feel tired when the body is working hard to heal itself. It is a natural mechanism which nature has built into our systems so that we stop rushing around trying to carry on as normal and the body can then use spare reserves of energy to heal, repair and recouperate.
Many women with Endometriosis are dealing with a complex array of health problems. You only have to read the results of surveys and medical reports which can be found all over the internet. Women with Endo are more prone to a whole range of other health issues as well as their Endometriosis. It is no wonder that they feel exhausted. Their bodies are working overtime trying to cope.
What actually is the state of exhaustion! To state the obvious - it is lack of energy. All our energy comes from the food we eat. Food is fuel. Lots of women with Endo have various digestive problems - why! - well that problem is unclear as well. This disease is so complex in the way it affects the entire body that it leaves most of the medical profession at a loss as to how to deal with it. But going back to the digestive system - if we have a compromised digestive system then we are not going to assimilate out food so well.
Then there is the whole subject of STRESS. Stress will upset the digestive system, stress will deplete energy reserves, and trying to cope with the myriad of effects and symptoms caused by Endometriosis is stressful. So you become stuck in a vicious circle.
Endometriosis also causes a great deal of pain symptoms - this too will cause tiredness and exhaustion.
Without extra energy reserves it becomes very, very hard to deal with practical issues like daily chores, trying to hold down a job, and simply looking after yourself.
You do need to take extra rest when trying to deal with Endo, but you also need to feel as though you have some quality of life. If you are too tired all the time, then you end up with yet another layer of depression caused by the fact that you are so tired you cannot enjoy normal activites without feeling like a zombie.
There needs to be a balance. You need to take enough rest so that you can give your body chance to heal, but you also need to be taking an active part in your own life so that you can feel a sense of achievement, a sense that Endo has not taken over your entire life.
Boosting your body's energy
On a day-to-day basis, the average person will use stimulants to boost energy supplies and performance. This comes in the form of caffeinated drinks including coffee, tea and cola, which are among the most popular drinks in the Western world, all of which are stimulants derived from herbs. What many people do not realise, however, is that over-reliance on stimulants can be addictive and destructive to our overall health. These drinks are really bad for the system in the long term and even more so for women with Endometriosis.
While it is true that natural substances can increse energy levels in a number of ways, there is an important distinction to be made between those substances which are purely noted for their 'quick stimulant' action and other natural substances that fall into the category of 'system boosters'.
Most stimulants work through the nervous and circulatory systems to provide an immediate, but short-lived, increase in alertness. Some may also temporarily boost brain function and elevate the mood. The downside of many stimulants is that their quick action frequently leads to addiction and abuse.
System boosters, on the other hand, comprise certain herbs, vitamins, minerals and other natural nutrients, that provide a more sustained and gradual release of energy. On the whole, system boosters are considered to be non-addictive and far safer to use that stimulants. Some herbal system boosters can also act as overall nervous system strengtheners.
Two of the most popular and widely recommended system boosters are the herbs Guarana and Ginseng.
Many of you will have heard about Ginseng which has been gaining popularity in the West since the 1960's. Extensive research into the effects of this herb has been carried out in Russia, Sweden, India, Japan and the US. In Russia, where interest in this herb has been particulary extensive, Soviet reserchers claim their studies have shown that extracts of ginseng can boost immunity, inhibit cancer, stimulate physical and mental activity, increase energy and physical stamina, improve endocrine glandular function and have variable effects on blood pressure and blood sugar. Clinical trials of ginseng with elderly people in China reported substantial improvements in cases of cardiovascular disease, depression and lack of vitality.
Benefits attributed to Ginseng
Numerous studies have confirmed that Ginseng acts primarily as a system booster. It is said to be especially useful for debilitating states, particularly during and after illness or in old age. It has been shown to improve the body's ability to utilise oxygen, therby increase mental and physical stamina, aiding concentration and memory, and improving the body's overall response to stress.
Those who have studied this herb agree that ginseng appears to affect the body in a very positive manner. Because it works on the nervous system directly, it affects the body's ability to increase energy or to acquire equilibruim when in a state of tension.
For centuries, the Maues and other native Indian tribes of the Amazon Rainforest have revered Guarana as legendary as a highly potent 'sacred elixir' sent by the gods to provide medicine and food.
A member of the soapberry family, the woody, fruit bearing vine's true name is Paullinia cupana. In 1826, a German chemist called Von Martius discovered that Guarana contained a caffeine-like stimulant which he called Guaranine. But it wasn't until 1973 that research into the benefits of Guarana produced the first evidence that it acts a nervine, or nervous system tonic. Unlike caffeine in coffee, however, Guarana acts slowely on the body to gently stimulate the adrenal system to prevent fatigue, therby aiding concentration and improving both intellectual activity and physical stamina.
Further research has revealed that, like Ginseng, Guarana has an 'adaptogenic' effect on the body, which normalises body functions. Because of this, it is thought to be particularly helpful in building up the immune system and helping the body to adjust its various functions to enable it to cope more effectively with stress.
Guarana is the herbal approach that I use myself to give me extra energy both physically and mentally. The effects and benefits are quite noticeable but gentle. I have used it for reasonably prolonged periods when I have a long-term project to undertake, which requires either physical or mental stamina. I have not noticed any side-effects either when using Guarana or when I have stopped using it. I do not use it continuously as I do not want to be reliant on it.
I do not suffer the same tiredness or exhaustion that I used to when I had Endometriosis. These days most of my tiredness is due to seasonal weather changes, stress, or trying to do too much. I personally find the nervine benefits of Guarana to be exceedingly helful. If I have any academic/written work to do that requires concentration, but life is very hectic around me, then using Guarana gives me a relaxed but focussed mental state I need to enable me to do my work.
Having more energy available will help you to look after yourself better. You will be able to have a better quality of life. You will be able to do more things that help you with your healing like taking some gentle exercise, which in turn will release those endorphins into your system which in turn will help to reduce the amount of pain you suffer. Having energy will lift your spirits which will improve your immune system. Everything in life has a knock-on effect - and the more positive you can make your life, the quicker you can restore your health.
Yours with healing thoughts
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