Addressing Grief, Trauma, Fears, Chronic Stress with Rooted Spiritual & Plant Based Medicines


A THREE Part Post – Morning Reflections in Nature On The State Of Society Questioning How Do We Move Forward – A Successful Case Study Involving the Transformation & Integration from Grief & History of Domestic Violence – Benefits of Blackberry & Burdock From My Morning Reflections- Tips for Triggers, Stress & Fears – Tips Around Food Scarcity- Why Work With Me


I do not know about you, the intensity that has been climaxing has been quite difficult to navigate no matter where we are in our lives. I sometimes like to write my processes and thoughts after certain experiences.

This morning I was reflecting on the sad state of our society and how on one level how hyper triggered & stressed folks are and on the other level how toxic so many folks are expressing their pains by projecting them onto vulnerable populations such as victims of domestic violence or sexual assault, homeless or low-income populations, folks with certain religious beliefs, and women. The growing misogynistic vitriol on women seems to be the most vile I have ever witnessed. It is sometimes hard to witness as if I am reliving the early days of the Burning Times of Witches or as if I am watching Chapter 2 of the Handmaid’s Tale play out.

Why am I sharing this? We can’t heal old wounds or create policy change by sticking our heads in the sand. I am not about band-aid approaches, because frankly we have seen how well those have worked out for us haven’t, we.

Humans in general are resistant to change and we are experiencing evolutionary times on so many levels simultaneously which can be difficult for the average person to adjust yielding lifetimes of lessons to be addressed.

The current energies of Saturn and Pluto retrogrades are amplifying this construct through at least October 2022 when Saturn stations direct. Pluto won’t go direct til 2023.

However, for folks who are struggling with chronic health or mental health challenges or implications as a result of trauma or faced with systemic oppressions, or folks who are faced with one adversity after another without the ability to come up for a breath – this can feel extraordinarily burdensome.

In this post I want to share a couple of experiences I have had this week in hopes it inspires us as a culture to SHOW UP better.

I personally like going into nature start my day and for some reflections. This morning was of no exception. I live on land of the original Massachusett & Wampanoag First Nations. It is rich in wildlife, nature, and medicinal plants – that some would call weeds.  There has been lots of incorporating herbal medicine this week in my life & in my work.


Client Story

Earlier this week, I spent a half day with someone in deep pain and surmountable grief. They are a survivor of past domestic violence where the system failed to protect the children now grown adults.  They thought their life was finally on track with a new marriage and stability in their life.

However, when they came to me the other day, they were struggling with immense grief-stricken trauma associated of losing a spouse and child in a short span of time compounded by the fallout afterwards and old wounds were opened and bleeding out.

They have been stuck in a downward spiral with their overall health for over a year now with little support structures in place, felt like they were about to break, and nothing they were doing was working.

After incorporating a multidisciplinary approach over several hours including:

  • spiritual coaching & guidance,
  • somatic trauma healing and recovery work,
  • a holistic health assessment,
  • outdoor nature therapy,
  • a customized herbal medicine plan including a custom herbal medicinal tea blend as shown here.

The next morning, they reached out to me to tell me their nerves & anxiety were calmed, a lot of their physical symptoms were not present, pain noticeably diminished, and had the best night sleep since they can remember … sleeping through the night without any additional medication or aids.

They are initiating new daily protocols to help themselves navigate moving forward.

Hearing all this make my heart jump for joy. Meanwhile thinking to myself, how do I share WHY folks need to consider these very approaches in their lives to break to toxic cycles they are stuck in.

So, when I was out for my walk in my very large diverse backyard this morning reflecting upon society, I struggled with the notion that how few Americans find value, or seek out THIS type of help with a seasoned experienced healer and that makes me sad.

Then I get the calls for help and guidance from folks. We do the work. We get results and I am reminded that folks are seeking this out – they are seeking an alternative way of healing – of being – of living – of working etc. and I put my ego in check and go back to work honoring my path and this sacred work.

We have a lot of work to do and the Universe if forcing us to evolve. Old ways of BE-ing, working, living, and how we relate to ourselves, each other, the world around us MUST CHANGE.

However, just like that my once heavy heart was lifted by the surrounding plant medicine around me this morning.  Like an inquisitive child, I discovered a new wild blackberry bush while I stopped in my tracks to admire this gorgeous burdock lavishly making her presence & medicine pronounced & loud.

From there, this post was born.


Blackberries

Blackberries are not just yummy. They pack a host of amazing health benefits.  Some of the benefits wild blackberries include:

  • low glycemic index – this means that is likely to spike blood sugar levels.
  • nutrient dense – such as Vit C, Vitamin K, and manganese
  • high in fiber – That’s a problem: A low-fiber diet has been linked to digestive problems like bloating, constipation, and stomach pain. And according to a 2013 study, not getting enough fiber may increase your risk for heart disease.
  • may boost brain health & prevent memory loss according to a 2012 study
  • one of the top 10 highest-antioxidant foods
  • a 2013 study showed anti-inflammatory & antimicrobial benefits in oral health and a reason to add blackberries to your diet.
  • May Prevent and Slow Growth of Cancer

and more … Here is a good source for more on blackberries for health


Burdock

The plant that led me to find the blackberry bushes was this gorgeous burdock – a plant we often “weed it out” as a nuisance, but it’s medicine is one of my favorites  for its support in liver health, promotes circulation and combats inflammation. Burdock root helps to strengthen the immune system and speed healing.  Some of the benefits include:

  • tonifies & “purifies” blood/liver
  • effective in removing toxins from blood/liver as proven in a 2010 Study
  • Nutrient dense
  • antioxidant rich including quercetin, luteolin, and phenolic acids
  • inulin rich – prebiotic that aids in digestion
  • according to many studies, it may inhibit certain growth of some cancers such as pancreatic cancer.
  • Strengthens the Lymphatic System
  • Natural diuretic
  • improves arthritis according to a 2016 study

and more …


Tips on addressing triggers & stress

1) Stop.

2) Pause.

3) Create space to see where the triggers & stresses are rooted … beyond the obvious story.

4) Allow yourself the gift of sleep, rest, and Process

5) Implement & increase self care … go for a walk, get outside, turn off the TV, take an Epsom salt bath, get a massage or reiki session, listen to soothing music, take a COLD shower, dance even if naked in your house.

6) Eliminate expenses that REALLY are NOT necessary

7) Remove toxic experiences, people, things

Consider seeking out a knowledgeable experienced healer, earth medicine expert, or herbalist to see what medicinal plants may be best for you.


Addressing food scarcity fears

1) Grow SOME of your own NOW … hydroponics have come a long way. So this CAN be possible even in an apartment setting.

2) Shop LOCAL – mom and pop food stores & farmers markets. Shopping local & supporting LOCAL farms are MORE sustainable & better for the planet

3) Watch waste … Americans waste enormous amounts of food daily. Buy fresh and use only what’s needed. Cut back … I get not everyone is doing this, but Americans DO throw out more food than other countries.

4) If you are in a position, SHARE with the elderly and folks who are struggling. I mention the elderly cuz this demographic rarely complains but often must choose between food, shelter, medical care.

5) Donate food to especially domestic violence shelters that are currently under funded with DV skyrocketing and victims trapped due to lack of financial means to leave & systemic misogynistic biases making leaving difficult


WHY WORK WITH ME:

Quite simply, I use a multidisciplinary approach that has a track record of getting results.

Since 2006, I have been offering spiritually based integrative holistic health enrichment with a subspecialty in somatic trauma healing and recovery.

Over the years, I’ve empowered thousands of people heal issues and restore wholeness – personally, mentally, physically, spiritually, professionally – by addressing root causes, transforming pain, bridging science, research and practical magic of sacred ancient traditions & spiritual medicines.

I am a published author, speaker, award-winning advocate, teacher, an experienced rooted healer with teachers based in Kyoto, Japan, seeker, intuitive spiritual mentor, social justice warrior, and a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault, with over 15 cumulative years of experience in the field of healthcare.

If you read this far down, what’s peaking your interest?

Are you wondering if working with me is what you need right now – whether a half day/full day immersion or a private one-hour session(s)?

Reach out. .. or comment below.

You can book a private session here.

Inquiries about half day or full day sessions, please contact me here.

I am here to support YOU

Thank you for supporting me and my work & mission.

With appreciation,

Laura

Feisty: Amazingly Dangerous Women Using Their Voices To Make An Impact


How to Shine Without Shame in a World That Wants to Silence You

If you’re ready to rewrite all the rules and start thriving, just as you are, then Feisty is a must-read!

WARNING: This book is not for everybody. Well-behaved women rarely make history, so, check your good-girl card at the door. There is something even better waiting on the other side, if you dare venture.

Stories to inspire you to new heights of bravery, new depths of vulnerability, and new dimensions of femininity.


What does it mean to be feisty?

This collection of true tales of resistance and persistence in the face of historical oppression from cycle-breaking writers of all walks of life will defy your expectations, validate your experiences, and rally your inner warrior-woman.

Not only that, this book also teaches you how to:

  • Identify and share your own feisty flickers and acts of brave badassery
  • Release the “shoulds” and embrace your true desires
  • Heal from shame and trauma
  • Accept and embrace your authentic self
  • Find hope and resilience in any situation

Click here to get your copy


My story is finally being published as a chapter in THIS NEW inspirational powerful collaborative book of powerful stories of women from all over the world.

The Title of My Chapter:

“#MeTooFamilyCourts: Reality Is Stranger Than Fiction”

In this chapter, I shared my story of what it’s like to leave a domestic violence relationship only to have the abuse escalate AFTER I left spending the next 16 years vying for my freedom from abuse.

I share how I was incarcerated WITHOUT being charged or convicted of any crime while also being DENIED my right to a lawyer to represent me.

I share my journey, struggles and recovery that led to where I am today and the work I do today professionally as a result.

I’m not gonna lie or sugarcoat this.

I am scared.

I am frightened.

I am anxious.

… BECAUSE my fears of retaliation are REAL …  cuz they happened before as I write about in this chapter (which was very triggering yet empowering for me at the same time).

As of this past fall 2021, the escalation of my abusive ex to use the courts to harass, control and abuse with impunity have once again escalated making me wonder if I will ever be free. I am praying this new judge is able to see it for what it is and finally puts an end to all the abuse and grants my freedom.

Why I Wrote This Chapter

I was asked to contribute to this amazing international collaborative book of powerful women with incredible stories.

This chapter started out as a way to share my story and the trauma I endured, how I moved forward, how I became empowered, how I wanted to use my story to inspire other survivors of abuse to NEVER GIVE UP. This was to be a lead in for the upcoming book I have been writing for almost 10 years now on healing the roots to chronic illness and trauma through a Japanese healing system.

I wanted to share one of the most traumatizing experiences of my life that the father of my children wanted to perpetuate repeated and relentless harm in hope to kill me while keeping his hands clean (as one police chief told me once) in hopes it helps someone else who might feel stuck, hopeless, disempowered by a broken system that may have failed them too.

The allowance of court abuse on survivors over 10 years AFTER leaving the abusive marriage ultimately led to my diagnosis of complex post-traumatic stress disorder that led to a host of physical health issues.

I intended this story to be shared in hopes someday, my children will know what I have had to go through to escape domestic violence in hopes to protect them (and failed) and that I NEVER gave up on them despite the maternal deprivation and trauma bonding they fell prey to.

However, after the actions taken by my abusive ex this past fall to resume his patterns of abuse in the court system, this chapter has become my plea for justice and freedom from abuse while offering FIVE tips on how to support survivors so we may break the cycles of unrecognized unhealed unresolved trauma that is plaguing humanity in a grand scale.

Please consider supporting THIS BOOK.

  • Support my story… Support my freedom by purchasing this book.
  • Support ALL survivors’ rights to be free from abuse by purchasing this book.
  • Support all the amazing women from all over the world I’ve had the privilege to share space within this book.

Thank you to Sierra of Red Thread Publishing for your vision to bring these
#Feisty stories to publication.


HOW TO PURCHASE?

Click here to get your copy of FEISTY


NOW …

The courage to solidify my publishing team, complete the edits & publish my FIRST solo book despite all the threats I’m currently faced with. Projected release is slated for Spring 2022.

This book is about my story of healing the broken me, the prevalence of unaddressed, unhealed, unresolved trauma, and what to do about it, what is Jikiden Reiki, how can it help heal chronic illness, pain and trauma.

What is shared in this book is worth the weight in gold to anyone struggling to heal or for reiki practitioners and/or teachers wanting a more trauma informed approach to their practice and teachings.

STAY TUNED …

Triggers & Spiritual Medicine Episode #2: Healing & Recovery From Domestic Violence


Triggers & Spiritual Medicine: Episode #2 with guest Lovern Gordon

TOPIC: Healing & Recovery from Domestic Violence.

Join us in the conversation about healing & recovery after Domestic Violence. Lovern shares her story of repeated domestic violence as shared in her Memoir “The Legacy He Left Me”.

Her story doesn’t end there. She is an inspiration to so many survivors of abuse from all over the world. It is not only what happened to her, but her recovery.

Lovern shares her struggles leaving and the shame that comes with it as well as her ability to leave and thrive. She shares her spiritual medicine with us giving us 3 things she did that was key to her recovery, healing, and thrive as well as to how to relearn to self love and what healthy love looks like.

Click on the video below to watch the interview.

Be sure to help us gain visibility and don’t forget to:

  • engage in our content
  • comment
  • share

ABOUT LOVERN:

Lovern Gordon is a two-time sur-THRIVER of domestic violence (a child witness until she was 15 years old and a 2-year, young adult relationship). Ten years after escaping, she subsequently became the Founder of Love Life Now Foundation, Inc. (LLN), where she used 2 back-to-back pageant wins to increase awareness around issue in 2010 and the following year, LLN was formed.

Today, she conducts DV Awareness Workshops worldwide, hosts events that raise thousands of dollars to benefit DV shelters and points people in the right direction for DV resources.

She is the author of the DV awareness memoir, The Legacy He Left Me and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows including: CBS This Morning nationally and NBC’s This is New England locally.

Print includes features on Huffington Post and Boston Voyager Magazine.

The Boston Celtics named her one of their ‘Heroes Among Us’ and she was featured as part of Instagram for Business’ – entrepreneur ‘togetHER’ minidocuseries for Women’s History Month.

Website: https://lovelifenow.org/

Lovern’s Book: https://www.thelegacyheleftme.com/


To learn more about our Triggers & Spiritual Medicine Program, click here

To stay in the loop on our project, click here

Follow this series on YouTube, click here.

The Dark Night of the Soul

This year has kicked our rears to no end. Many of us feel like we are about to break wondering when will all this end? Are you feeling this?

Various folks in the spiritual communities are saying we are experiencing what is called the “dark night of the soul”, but do we really know what this means?


If you are wondering what the heck is going on in the air????

Have you read any of my 2020 energy forecast yet? Click here for initial 2020 forecast with end of January karmic update here, 4/4/20 COVID Energy update here, Facing the shadows May update here, and my June spiritual medicine during times of unrest update here.

Please post your comments and feedback so I know if these posts resonate with you or not.


In this video:

  • I define what the phrase “dark night of the soul” means
  • What is it?
  • How does it relate to what is happening NOW
  • What does it mean?
  • How can we become empowered through it?

Virtual Class: Learn 5 Tips To Manage Anxiety, Stress & Triggers During COVID19

I am here for you & to support you through this … what some see as isolation, confinement or quarantine … I see as cocooning.

What does this mean? What does this look like? Stay tuned … I will go into this more.

Many of us mystics have been warning & preparing us for these times building up until now and there have been many prophecies foretold over the years.

Let us … all the spiritual people who have been apprenticing for decades for these times … help you navigate these changes.

I am here for you.

I am holding space.

TOPIC FOR FRIDAY’s EVENT

  • Managing Anxiety, Stress, & Triggers While Finding Balance and Mastering Presence In Times of Crisis.
  • Learn 5 Tips You Can Implement NOW
  • Will do a mini meditation if time allows as well as an opportunity for questions/answers

LOCATION:

This will be virtual class on Zoom.

To Register, Click here.

For more information, contact us

INVESTMENT Paid by DONATION:

Funds are currently running low due to financial investments needed to offer these events operating for FREE.

Help  support our FREE initiative, by making a donation to help us keep offering these events for FREE by making a donation

To get a glimpse about what you might experience on Friday?

Here is an intro to what was run on Monday with the experientials removed and individual mentoring removed for privacy reasons

In this video I share what is happening energetically and spiritually that led to these times and I share 3 tips to help you navigate.

On Friday, I will share 5 tips and will have a more elaborate approach to what is shown here with direct interactive group work and experientials.

Virtual Class: Learn 3 Tips To Manage Anxiety, Stress & Triggers During COVID19

I am here for you & to support you through this … what some see as isolation, confinement or quarantine … I see as cocooning.

What does this mean? What does this look like? Stay tuned … I will go into this more.

Many of us mystics have been warning & preparing us for these times building up until now and there have been many prophecies foretold over the years.

Let us … all the spiritual people who have been apprenticing for decades for these times … help you navigate these changes.

I am here for you.

I am holding space.

TOPIC FOR FRIDAY’s EVENT

  • Managing Anxiety, Stress, & Triggers While Finding Balance and Mastering Presence In Times of Crisis.
  • Learn 3 Tips You Can Implement NOW
  • Will do a mini meditation if time allows as well as an opportunity for questions/answers

LOCATION:

This will be virtual class on Zoom.

To Register, Click here.

For more information, contact us

INVESTMENT Paid by DONATION:

Funds are currently running low due to financial investments needed to offer these events operating for FREE.

Help  support our FREE initiative, by making a donation to help us keep offering these events for FREE by making a donation

#TimesUp Healers & Reiki Practitioners. Plus, Tips on Finding a Reiki Practitioner


In this post, we will explore the following to address perceptions, boundaries, trauma, predatory behavior, healing, and healers.

My goal is two fold:

  • to awaken reiki practitioners and healers to their full optimum potential while understanding their ethical responsibilities to their clients and/or students,
  • and to help guide those seeking healing services for themselves or a loved one.

In this post, we will address the following:

  • Introduction to this sensitive topic from a personal and professional perspective
  • #TimesUp healers and reiki practitioners video
  • 12 Tips To Choosing A Reiki Practitioner
  • Questions to ask a prospective reiki practitioner

Introduction to This Sensitive Topic

In search of “healing the broken me” as I would like to call it from years of abuse that resulted in complex C-PTSD or complex post traumatic stress disorder, I originally delved into the traditional American Healthcare System in hopes I can quickly return to my unbroken self. Like many others, I have felt that I was not getting better and band-aids were being applied to my mental, emotional, and physical symptoms that were not getting better and began to spiral out of control.

I realized there had to be more to all this and began looking into the spiritual aspects of my issues that the healthcare system couldn’t figure out.

I started reconnecting to my spiritual path. I began meditating. I eliminated inflammatory foods. I sought out reputable teachers and healers. I started connecting with the divine within me and my divine team. I learned and studied multiple holistic health modalities and spiritually based practices.

These practices saved my life and has been allowing me to reclaim my life in ways to defy all logic. I was fortunate in who I sought out as healers and other professionals to help guide me.

However, abusers and predators are still very skillful at their tactics, which is what sparked this post. I have been doing this work since 2006, and I have experienced numerous situations that were quite disturbing that made me wonder how to communicate such a delicate and serious topic that would hopefully be welcomed and received both by the healing community and trauma survivors.

This leads me to the next point …

 


#TimesUp Healers and Reiki Practitioners Video

I need your help on what I consider a very sensitive topic.

This video which was recorded in April 2018 took over 4 years to make due to concerns of my ability to communicate what needs to be said in a way that is heard and openly received

What healers and survivors need to know.

Have you experienced THIS?

My goal in this video is to help healers and practitioners to awaken to their full potential while understanding their ethical responsibilities to their clients and/or students.  Abusers are infiltrating the spiritually based communities and healing arts.
  1. Are you aware?
  2. What steps are you taking to ensure the safety of those around you?
  3. What are you doing to help break the cycle of abuse?

Ironic or what … that this article was published on the same day as my live video on same topic from the NY Times“In the space of a few short hours on Monday evening, Eric Schneiderman went from being known as one of the nation’s most progressive and influential attorneys general to being cast as a drunken, abusive monster who terrorized women in his personal life even as he publicly advocated women’s rights.”

This NY Times article is worth the read to tie into my argument.  In the meantime, I will share with you 12 tips in choosing a reiki practitioner and questions to ask.

 


12 Tips To Choosing A Reiki Practitioner

Healing varies from person to person and what some call “reiki training” varies from teacher to teacher since there is no standardization of training in the Unites States.  Most reiki training teaches the basics centered around stress reduction and relaxation. While others who call anything involving some form of energy healing or hands on energy work, reiki, can sometimes be misguided.

Let’s be clear first and foremost, reiki  is a Japanese complementary alternative mind body medicine therapy, self care and meditation practice  that works with the human body’s bioenergy field. I won’t go into details here. You can click here for more elaborate description.

Administering or facilitating a reiki session to someone who has been traumatized or abused is NOT part of the standard training curriculum for most reiki practitioners.

If you struggle with healing from trauma associated with abuse, here are 12 tips in choosing the right reiki practitioner for you. Plus, 10 questions to ask a prospective reiki practitioner/teacher. 

You may also check out the article I wrote several years ago while teaching college on Reiki Can Do No Harm or Can It? for more tips and guidance.

Click here for more posts about healing trauma

Click here for more posts about reiki.

I hope what I wrote helps someone out there in need who needs something to help them survive in order to thrive.For healers who read this, my hope is that this inspired you to be better than you already are. The world needs more healers. We need you to step up and help be the best version of you.


Please share the love and compassion.

✔ Join in the conversation

✔ invite others to join

✔ Share on your wall or group

With love and appreciation,

Laura  Joseph,
Jikiden Reiki® Shihan, Usui Reiki Master Teacher, Speaker, Medical Intuitive, Healer, Advocate, Trauma Specialist

 

To schedule a private session, to book a corporate wellness event, or speaking engagement, please private message me

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 © 2008-2019 Laura Joseph. All Rights Reserved. This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your specific medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional. Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns. This article does not share the opinions of Healing With Spirit or its affiliates.  Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

Why Ashwagandha Root Could Be The Cure For The Western Epidemic of Stress Related Illness

I have decided to post about this important herb as a resource for our growing community searching for healthy alternatives.  Over recent years, I have seen how well it works for so many especially those with diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, addictions, and sleep issues that have astounded me.

I began talking to others and exploring success ratios to my astonishment, which led me to begin working with many practitioners in the traditional broken American healthcare system educating them regarding my experiences personally and professionally. I am pleased to see some doctors, nurse practitioners and psychiatrists/licensed mental health prescribers beginning to consider this herb as a viable alternative to barbiturates, tranquilizers, anti-depressants, or other drugs such as the gabapentin.

As a matter of fact, I was recently diagnosed with chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, and I had stopped taking the Ashwagandha root personally too. As a result, I have decided as part of my own personal treatment plan to start taking this again (including my daily meditation, thyroid anti-inflammatory diet, jikiden reiki practice, and mindfulness as well as increasing my daily Vitamin D3 to attain a more optimum level).

So, here is more information compiled from some trusted sources (listed below) for you regarding this amazing herb.

Disclaimer: Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before using supplements if you have any health conditions.

 

What is it?

Ashwagandha, one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing, has been used in India for nearly 5,000 years for a wide variety of conditions.  One of the best known is its use as an adaptogen, meaning that it helps you manage emotional and physical stress.

The name Ashwagandha is from the Sanskrit language and is a combination of the word ashva, meaning horse, and gandha, meaning smell. The root has a strong aroma that is described as “horse-like.”

In Ayurvedic, Indian, and Unani medicine, ashwagandha is described as “Indian ginseng.” Ashwagandha is also used in traditional African medicine for a variety of ailments.  Don’t confuse ashwagandha with Physalis alkekengi. Both are known as winter cherry.

A member of the Solanaceae family, or nightshade family, ashwagandha is related botanically to potatoes, pepper, and tomatoes.

Why Use Ashwagandha?

Do any of these common symptoms sound familiar?

  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor memory
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Low libido
  • Frequent illness
  • Anxiety
  • Low endurance (mentally or physically)
  • Joint pain
  • Neurological condition

The use of ashwagandha can help alleviate these symptoms and support an energetic and rejuvenating sense of well-being.

Ashwagandha as an Adaptogenic Herb

In Ayurveda, there are specific herbs with adaptogenic benefits—ashwagandha is one of them.

Adaptogens are substances (a combination of amino acids, vitamins, and herbs) that modulate your response to stress or a changing environment. Adaptogens help the body cope with external stresses such as toxins in the environment and internal stresses such as anxiety and insomnia.

One of the attributes of ashwagandha is its ability to induce calmness and clarity by regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and the stress hormone cortisol.

One of the attributes of ashwagandha is its ability to induce calmness and clarity by regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and the stress hormone cortisol.

Research has shown that consuming ashwagandha may not only reduce cortisol levels but also, as an adaptagen, can “substantially” reduce chronic stress to help your body adapt to and alleviate the stomach-churning anxiety stress can cause. (Mercola)

Research indicates there’s a likelihood that ashwagandha may be useful for helping patients in opioid withdrawal as well as reducing or eliminating dependence on benzodiazapene drugs such as Xanax and Valium.

 

Benefits of Ashwangdha

Ashwagandha contains many useful medicinal chemicals, including withanolides (steroidal lactones), glutathione (powerful antioxidant), alkaloids, choline, fatty acids, amino acids, and a variety of sugars.

While the leaves and fruit have valuable therapeutic properties, the root of the ashwagandha plant is the part most commonly used in Western herbal remedies.

Medical researchers have been studying ashwagandha for years with great interest and have completed more than 200 studies on the healing benefits of this botanical.

Animal studies have found constituents of the herb, including alkaloids, steroidal lactones, and saponins, to reduce inflammation and calm the nervous system.

Ashwagandha, today, is used for arthritis, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), balance, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), trouble sleeping (insomnia), tumors, tuberculosis, asthma, a skin condition marked by white patchiness (leukoderma), bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, hiccups, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic liver disease. It is also used to reduce side effects of medications used to treat cancer and schizophrenia. Ashwagandha is used to reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood.

Ashwagandha is known to help people strengthen their immune system after illness, chemotherapy, or surgery. It is a highly effective, evidence-based remedy for anxiety and stress—by lowering cortisol levels and mimicking the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA.

Some people also use ashwagandha for improving thinking ability, decreasing pain and swelling (inflammation), fertility problems in men and women and also to increase sexual desire.

Ashwagandha is applied to the skin for treating wounds, backache, and one-sided paralysis (hemiplegia).

Some key examples of the healing effects of Ashwagandha are:

  • Protects the immune system
  • Helps combat the effects of stress
  • Improves learning, memory, and reaction time
  • Reduces anxiety and depression without causing drowsiness
  • Helps reduce brain-cell degeneration
  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Helps lower cholesterol
  • Offers anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits
  • Contains anti-malarial properties
  • Enhances sexual potency for both men and women
  • May be an effective anti-tumor agent
  • Promotes new nerve growth

 

How does it work?

(Per WebMD)

Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling (inflammation), lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system.

Stress.Taking a specific ashwagandha root extract (KSM66, Ixoreal Biomed) 300 mg twice daily after food for 60 days appears to improve symptoms of stress.

Reducing side effects associated with medications called antipsychotics. Antipsychotics are used to treat schizophrenia but they can cause levels of fat and sugar in the blood to increase. Taking a specific ashwagandha extract (Cap Strelaxin, M/s Pharmanza Herbal Pvt. Ltd., Gujarat, India) 400 mg three times daily for one month might reduce levels of fat and sugar in the blood in people using these medications.

Anxiety. Some clinical research shows that taking ashwagandha can reduce some symptoms of anxiety.

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).Some clinical research shows that a combination herbal product containing ashwagandha may improve attention and impulse control in children with ADHD. The effect of ashwagandha alone is unclear.

Bipolar disorder.Taking a specific ashwagandha extract (Sensoril, Natreon, Inc., New Bruswick, New Jersey) for 8 weeks might improve brain function in people being treated for bipolar disorder.

A brain condition called cerebellar ataxia.Preliminary research shows that ashwagandha in combination with an alternative form of medicine known as Ayurvedic therapy might improve balance in people with cerebellar ataxia.

Fatigue in people treated for cancer (chemotherapy).Early research suggests taking a specific ashwagandha extract 2,000 mg (Himalaya Drug Co, New Delhi, India) during chemotherapy treatment might reduce tiredness.

Diabetes. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

High cholesterol.There is some evidence that ashwagandha might reduce cholesterol levels in patients with high cholesterol.

Male infertility.Some preliminary clinical evidence suggests that ashwagandha might improve sperm quality, but not sperm count, in infertile men. It is not known if taking ashwagandha can actually improve fertility.

Osteoarthritis.Early research shows that ashwagandha taken along with a zinc complex, guggul, and turmeric might improve arthritis symptoms. The impact of ashwagandha alone is unclear.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).Early research shows that ashwagandha root extract might reduce symptoms of OCD when taken with prescribed medications for 6 weeks better than taking the prescribed medication alone.

Parkinson’s disease.Preliminary research suggests that a combination of herbs including ashwagandha improves Parkinson’s symptoms. The effect of ashwagandha alone in Parkinson’s is unknown.

Rheumatoid arthritis. Early research shows that ashwagandha powder taken for 3 weeks followed by 4 weeks of sidh makardhwaj (a mixture of gold, mercury, and sulfur) slightly improves symptoms in some people with RA. The impact of ashwagandha alone in RA is unclear.

Increasing interest in sex.Early research shows that taking ashwagandha extract daily for 8 weeks along with receiving counseling increases interest in sex and sexual satisfaction in adult women with sexual dysfunction better than counseling alone.

Also, ashwagandha has shown to be beneficial for:

  • Altering immune system function.
  • Inducing vomiting.
  • Liver problems.
  • Preventing the signs of aging.
  • Swelling (inflammation).
  • Other conditions.

 

How to Add Ashwagandha to Your Diet

angelorosa / Pixabay

According to Ayurveda, our bodies are woven from food. The nutrients we ingest are metabolized into the energy and information that form our cells, tissues, and organs. Every day our bodies need essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to maintain our body’s delicate balance.

Ashwagandha is classically taken as a fine powder mixed in honey or ghee. In western countries, it typically ingested in capsule form.

The typical recommended dose is 500 to 1,000 mg. For people who suffer from insomnia and anxiety, having a cup of hot milk that contains a teaspoon of powdered ashwagandha or an ashwagandha capsule before bedtime is beneficial.

 

Special Precautions:

(discuss with your physician before taking Ashwagandha)

Prescription Medications – American Pharmaceutical DRUGS

qimono / Pixabay

Before I go to precautions with Ashwagandha, let’s look at the side effects of some commonly prescribed medications before we judge the side effects of this powerful herb.

Let’s compare. Then you decide which is safer.

What I see as the alternatives being prescribed daily in our traditional healthcare system carry MORE serious concerns.

Many traditional medicinal prescriptions carry side effects ranging from leading to addiction to causing dementia or increase risk for suicide. Yet the medical community is concerned about recommending Ashwagandha because why????

Commonly prescribed medications that carry serious side effects include:

  • Gabapentin (Seizures, Nerve Pain, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety, Depression, Pain): dementia, addiction (which is rarely listed but increasing problem),  suicidal thoughts, life threatening rash, organ failure, blurred vision, kidney problems, could make moods worse, aggressive behavior, chest pain, bloody stools, and more.
  • Lamictal (Seizures, Bipolar, Depression, Anxiety) :carries a black box label that can cause life threatening rashes to meningitis to suicidal thoughts. Irritable bowel type symptoms which is NOT listed.  – – – My story: I was given this drug for PTSD and Anxiety. My IBS symptoms went from 7 days a week to 1-2x a mo instantly when I stopped this drug several years ago.  This drug is also listed on Psycom as “The side effects of Lamotrigine are relatively harmless as compared to other options” REALLY?  “Lamotrigine induced mania is usually treated with Topiramate or lithium” (Pscycom) REALLY? Another DRUG to treat a side effect of this drug?
  • Paxil (Depression, PMS, PTSD, Anxiety): decreased interest in sex, changes in sexual ability, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, numbness/tingling, easy bruising/bleeding, fast/irregular heartbeat, seizures.
  • Xanax (Anxiety, PTSD): hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, slurred speech or difficulty talking, loss of coordination, trouble walking, memory problems, and can lead to addiction.
  • Adderall (ADD/ADHD):  Psychosis Caused By A Drug, hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, high blood pressure, seizures, anger outbursts, and can lead to addiction.
  • Synthroid (thyroid): hair loss, nervousness, mood swings, tiredness, diarrhea, shaking (tremor), headache, shortness of breath, bone pain, easily broken bones, chest pain, fast/irregular heartbeat, swellingseizures.

Ashwagandha Precautions:

Pregnancyand breast-feeding: Do NOT use ashwagandha if you are pregnant. There is some evidence that ashwagandha might cause miscarriages.

Diabetes: Ashwagandha might lower blood sugar levels.  If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar closely.

High or low blood pressure: Ashwagandha might decrease blood pressure. Ashwagandha should be used cautiously if you have low blood pressure or take medications for your blood pressure.

Stomach ulcers: Ashwagandha can irritate the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. 

“Auto-immune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Ashwagandha might cause the immune system to become more active, and this could increase the symptoms of auto-immune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using ashwagandha.

Surgery: Ashwagandha may slow down the central nervous system. Healthcare providers worry that anesthesia and other medications during and after surgery might increase this effect. Stop taking ashwagandha at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Thyroid disorders: Ashwagandha might increase thyroid hormone levels.

Moderate Interactions

(discuss with your physician before taking Ashwagandha):

Ashwagandha may increase the sedative effects of benzodiazepines such as Valium, Ativan, Xanax, and other depressants. It may also interact immunosuppressant medications. Talk with your doctor before beginning a supplement regimen that includes ashwagandha.

In animal studies, high dosages have been linked to toxicity, including impacts on thyroid function; however, human studies are limited.

Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA – Ashwagandha seems to increase the immune system. Taking ashwagandha along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system. Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.

Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA – Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives. Taking ashwagandha along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Some of these sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and others.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with ASHWAGANDHA – Ashwagandha might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking ashwagandha along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others. 

Minor Interactions:

Thyroid hormone interacts with ASHWAGANDHA – The body naturally produces thyroid hormones. Ashwagandha might increase how much thyroid hormone the body produces. Taking ashwagandha with thyroid hormone pills might cause too much thyroid hormone in the body, and increase the effects and side effects of thyroid hormone.

Medical Caution:  Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before using supplements if you have any health conditions. Laura Joseph and Healing With Spirit are not licensed medical physicians. Ashwagandha is not recommended for women who are pregnant.

 

Need More?

Need some guidance or direction?

Want a holistic health consult?

 

Laura has been providing spiritually based integrative holistic health enrichment services, classes, and programs since 2006. She has experience as a domestic violence advocate, college educator, and over 15 years working in the healthcare industry with multiple certifications in  areas in holistic health, spiritually based practices, healing, and more.

Her primary office is located inside Cohasset Medical in seaside Hingham, MA.

To book a consult, contact us here today.

Recommended Resources:

WebMD: Ashwagandha Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning

The Chopra Center: What is Ashwagandha

Dr. Weil: Ashwagandha

Dr. Mark Hyman:  Are You Suffering From Adrenal Dysfunction?

Dr. Mercola, DO.:  The Healing Wonders of Ashwagandha


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 © 2015-2019 Laura Joseph. All Rights Reserved. This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your specific medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional. Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns. This article does not share the opinions of Healing With Spirit or its affiliates.  Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

Breaking Free From The Chains Of The Past


Trauma …

Trauma … We have all been affected by trauma one way or another in our lifetime. However, we may not realize how a traumatic event may have affected our life or impacted our soul.

The challenge is trauma doesn’t affect us the way we perceive it. It affects us on a cellular and soul level and may not even be in our own awareness leading to chronic illness, cancer, pain, poor relationships, etc.

So, when I read the following quote, it struck me and gave me lots to ponder on and contemplate ultimately leading to this post:

“If your mind carries a heavy burden of past, you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence.” – Eckhart Tolle

I am going on my 13th year when I made a crucial decision to leave an abusive relationship and begin my healing path for first time in my life.

One of the things that I have learned in my 13 years, is that the more I connected to the divine within, soul, inner child, it also reveals the root cause that wounded my core. I began to discover the roots to my fears, insecurities, and my own self sabotaging behaviors … to the place it all began … the seed that began decades before I married an abuser.

I began my healing journey broken wondering how to put all the pieces of me back together.

I began to employ traditional therapies (which didn’t help me much), support groups, spiritually based practices such as developing my sequestered intuition, meditation, reiki, acupuncture, journaling, dance, connecting to nature and more.

We have technology which is supposed to make us more connected than ever. However, we are actually more disconnected than ever. We are not connected to the very life that breathes underneath our feet, Mother Earth. We are not connected to our own BE-ing or essence.  We live in a society of wanting everything now, instant gratification, and a “plugged in” to that technology 24/7.

Unfortunately, healing doesn’t work like that. Employing a one day at a time mindset goes a long way as well as a lot of self-compassion. Learning new ways “to be” takes time. Discovering you again takes time. Developing new skill sets to heal takes time. Finding someone to help you who has the skill sets is huge if you can find that coach/healer.

Employing a mindset of presence helped me with my trauma, PTSD, anxiety and the physical illness that resulted from my trauma. There’s many ways to learn the art of presence whether through meditation or mindfulness-based practices, but from me, learning Jikiden Reiki changed everything for me. This is where I have seen the most growth in my life since I began this journey in 2005.

Want to learn more?

Please join me at one of these 4 events this spring:

Check out


Copy right 2018. Laura Joseph, Healing With Spirit.  All Rights Reserved. May not be copied or reproduced without expressed written consent

Today I Bless My Junk Part 3 – Speaking Out and 10 Tips You Can Do Today To Be The Change

This series “Today I Bless My Junk” has been quite the challenge for me. However, I feel if I am to convey a certain message, I choose to be raw, real and authentic seeing all of me with an unaltered video.

Here is part three in the series of “Today I Bless My Junk”. This topic is on what happens when you speak out and why women wait 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years to speak out.

  • I go into the retaliations and a little bit of my story and my experiences with retaliations. I have only spoken out twice in my life outside this video series, and both times I experienced retaliations that I feel were worse than the abuses themselves.
  • So, why wait?
  • Why speak out now?
  • Don’t be fooled by the bogus apologies.
  • When will it all end?
  • Followed by 10 tips on what you can do today to be the change for the future.

Other Videos in the Video Series

For my other videos in the series of “Today I Bless My Junk #metoo

Question To Ponder

I ask for you to consider one question

Are you part of the solution to systemic abuse or are you part of the problem? The choice is yours and only yours to make.

Please go to my Vlog on Youtube for the following videos.

How Can You Help?

As always, please support my healing journey and my desire to help break the cycle of abuse through healing. There many ways you can do this.

Take action on the things I mention in this video series

  1. Share these videos
  2. Leave supportive comments and let me know what pearl you took away with you
  3. Let me know what you would like to see the next video to be on
  4. Book me for a speaking engagement. I speak on many topics. One of the most common is on healing trauma through holistic and spiritually based practices.
  5. As always, thank you for your support and being a part of my spiritual journey.
  6. Become an ally – Help me become a better speaker, communicator and video producer. Want to volunteer your services to help make that happen? Email me and let’s collaborate.

With love and appreciation,
Laura