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I love Christmas! I love the anticipation and the family time. I love how it naturally punctuates the darkest time of the year, a short pause for thought and celebration before we embrace the ‘new’ of January!

Christmas shopping stressBut I know that for many Christmas can have its negative side, it can be a stressful time, be that just the stress of getting everything organized or the monetary stress that one of the most expensive times of the year puts us all (except the fabulously wealthy and I don’t know too many of them!) under. On top of this Christmas can be physically demanding so often our energy levels come under serious threat. With these challenges in mind I thought I’d remind you of some of the things that can support us through the Christmas season allowing us to enjoy the holiday rather than getting overwhelmed by it all.

Ginseng is a wonderful tonic herb for these situations, not only does it boost energy levels but it’s also an adaptogen i.e. it helps us deal with stressful situations. However, because of its stimulant nature it should be avoided by those on heart medications.

B vitamins are vital to stress tolerance, as well as being essential to proper nervous system function, certain ones are needed for adrenal gland function and adrenal hormone manufacture. B vitamin deficiencies are often associated with anxiety and nervous disorders. High B multivitamins are also available and invaluable in stressful times.

Rhodiola is a herb which has been shown to increase tolerance to various stressors. Evidence shows that it has a potent enhancing effect on brain serotonin activity which may help the body to deal with the effects of chronic stress.

Magnesium and calcium are both required for proper function of nerves and muscles and deficiency of them, particularly magnesium, can lead to irritability, tension and insomnia. Magnesium, often taken in powder form, can often combat many of the effects of stress and help to promote better, more restful sleep.

Ginseng, B Vitamins and Rhodiola, as well as helping us deal with stress, all have the potential to improve energy and endurance levels so all three of them might be doubly beneficial to those that Christmas puts under physical as well as mental stresses.

CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is essential to energy production in the cells of the body. Clinical trials have shown that it too can improve physical performance and energy capacity.

And don’t forget to boost your immunity at this critical time of year when the body is getting used to the harsher conditions of winter and is so open to coming down with colds, flus and infections of all sorts. You don’t want to sniffle your way through the festivities. Elderberries’ flu fighting abilities are getting more and more attention from today’s scientific community and research is showing how they work. Pukka Elderberry image
The flu virus forms tiny spikes, called hemagglutinins, which are laced with an enzyme called neuraminidase. The enzyme helps the virus to penetrate the cell membranes in our lungs. And this is where the elderberry comes in; it actually helps to deactivate the neuraminidase preventing the proliferation of the virus and the dreaded aches and pains of the flu. For example, one interesting study on people with early flu symptoms showed that after using elderberry extract 20% reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed a complete cure after three days. Patients receiving the placebo required six days for recovery. As proof that elderberry has more to it than the enzyme-neutralizing constituents, researchers found that the patients who took it also had higher levels of antibodies against the flu virus. On top of this elderberries may be superior to flu shots for another reason: 50% of people who get the vaccines report side effects. Elderberries can be taken alone (many of the best formulas come in liquid form) or are frequently combined with other constituents such as Vitamins C and D, zinc and mushroom extracts in immune boosting formulas.
Either way don’t get caught out this Christmas, take preventative measures now.

Don’t forget to keep some digestive help on hand to see you over the festivities, digestive enzymes, probiotics, soothing digestive teas such as ginger and aniseed, as well as milk thistle to make up for the inevitable assault on the liver all come to mind.

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Think prevention with some of these natural boosters now and help keep Christmas the celebration it should be and not an assault course for body and spirit!