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Banish Fatigue

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Close to half of all adult Canadians feel sleepy enough during the day that it interferes with daily activities

Close to half of all adult Canadians feel sleepy enough during the day that it interferes with daily activities. The problem isn't simply a lack of restful sleep, although that can be a problem for some; many people remain lethargic from dawn to dusk despite getting a sound "eight" every night. The words "chronic" and "fatigue" are now frequently used in the same breath.

Fatigue is a symptom of disease. If you're tired all the time you need to address the reasons fast! Is it due to chemical overload? Nutritionally denuded processed foods? Or simply increased stress? Chances are it's all of these together. Thankfully, you can banish symptomatic fatigue with totally safe natural remedies while rooting out the underlying causes. Life's too short to settle for low energy levels. Try the following safe and drug-free solutions to return zest and vigour to every day. And start enjoying life to the fullest!

Turn off Tension

Feeling stressed? Take kava. This root (Piper methysticum), a member of the black pepper family that grows in the romantic South Pacific, is known to have a calming effect. It's excellent for reducing fatigue brought on by stress and emotional tension. Not only does it relax the body and the mind, it also has the potential to spice up sexual desire.

Kava acts as a muscle relaxant, a soporific and a cerebral depressant that steadies the pulse and sharpens mental faculties. Try 150 mg of standardized extract (containing 30 percent kavalactones) three times daily with a meal or a snack (to increase absorption). Avoid the herb if you are pregnant or nursing (it can cause miscarriage as well as brain and developmental damage to the fetus) or if you're already taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications.

Pick-Me-Ups

You've just chowed down a big lunch and all you want to do is sleep. Your eyelids are heavy but your boss is waiting for that report.

If your food is properly digested, your energy levels should remain constant all afternoon. Drinking a glass of ginger tea or taking a 500-mg capsule of ginger (Zingiber officinale) with lunch will aid in proper digestion and will help eliminate the desire for a mid-afternoon siesta. Ginger is also helpful in preventing motion sickness.

There are times when repetitive tasks take their toll and we fight to stay alert crunching numbers, working at the computer or driving long distances. If you're stuck in the same place doing the same thing for long periods of time with no relief in sight, try sniffing peppermint. Place a drop or two of peppermint essential oil on a handkerchief and take it with you wherever you go. Rubbing a bit of peppermint oil mixed with alcohol on your temples may help relieve headaches.

The office water cooler isn't just a place to share stories. When everyone around you is sick, remember echinacea. If you feel yourself getting sick, take 30 drops of echinacea tincture three times per day. Stop taking the herb two to three days after you begin to feel better. Echinacea studies have shown that it helps reduce symptoms of weakness, chills and muscle aches and pains. Don't take this herb if you have liver disease, immune-compromised conditions or autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis, urticaria or lupus. Any immune-boosting supplement can worsen symptoms in those with autoimmune or "over-reactive" immune systems and play havoc with the function of compromised immune systems (such as HIV affected systems).

If you have to travel long distances, you'll probably experience jet lag. To counter this, the best thing to do is stay on your regular sleep schedule. (Easier said than done when you are flying across time zones.) To help you nod off try passionflower (Passiflora incarnata). Using 10 to 25 drops of 1:1 liquid extract about 30 minutes before going to bed may help an overtired body fall into a restful sleep. Don't mix with alcohol, sedatives or antidepressants.

Ahhh, home at last, but you feel like you didn't get enough sleep last night. Cozy up to a teaspoon of valerian (Valerian officinalis) tincture added to your favourite herbal tea or any other caffeine-free, nonalcoholic beverage about 30 minutes before heading off to bed. Tuck yourself under the covers and enjoy a peaceful, sound sleep.

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