Adrenal depletion can be defined as a reduced capacity to cope with stress. It usually arises from the chronic effects of continued stress brought about by the pace and demands of modern living. In a sense, it represents a precursor state to chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia syndromes.
Although not recognized as a medical condition, this syndrome is widespread and often underlies why patients seek herbal treatment for fatigue. Typical signs and symptoms of adrenal depletion include constant fatigue and need for extra sleep, inability to cope with stress, irritability, and anxiety.
Reduced libido (men and women), sighing and yawning, low back pain in the adrenal area (kidney area), recurrent and often prolonged colds or influenza, sweet craving, and reactive dysglycaemia, sensitive to cold and heat and low core temperature. Pigmentation in skin creases and loss of body hair may be evident, as can poor digestion, metal intoxication and assimilation, postural hypotension, and unstable pupillary reflex.
Treatment for adrenal depletion are:
- Support adrenal gland function with adrenal restorative herbs such as Mucuna (Mucuna pruriens) and Tongkat Ali (Eurycoma longifolia)
- Decrease the detrimental effects of stress on the adrenal glands with adaptogens such as Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), and Red Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
- Enhance adrenal function with tonics such as Red Ginseng (Panax ginseng) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
- Minimize the effects of stress on the nervous system with nervine tonics such as Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum), and Uvuma Omhlope (Synaptolepis kirkii)
- Support immune function with Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) and Mutamba (Guazuma ulmifolia)
A female patient aged 36 complained of low energy, mouth ulcers, poor concentration, difficulty in staying awake in the evenings, low libido, and stress at work. She was concerned that she would not be able to cope with a new job plus help her husband at night with his business.
Herbal treatment was aimed at supporting her immunity, energy, and concentration and helping her to better cope with the stressful demands of her life. The patient was treated with herbs over several years and was able to function well with good energy levels overall.
As much as possible, she changed her lifestyle to ensure adequate rest and holidays but still needed to work long hours often. Herbal treatment was primarily based on the following: Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera).