Elevated cortisol levels and chronic stress can affect every physiological system in your body, including your thyroid and adrenal glands. It can make you anxious, irritable, lead to weight gain, bone loss, contribute to diabetes & heart disease risk, and also deplete your energy levels. Cortisol is also known as the aging hormone. When cortisol gets too high, it puts you into a “fight or flight” response, which stimulates your sympathetic nervous system and your adrenal glands. When this occurs, there is a decrease in your digestive secretions and an increase in blood pressure. This puts your body in a state of constant stress, which will burn out your adrenal glands, stress your digestive tract and cause you to age more rapidly. Side effects of chronically elevated cortisol can include: Anxiety Autoimmune diseases Cancer Chronic fatigue syndrome Common Colds Hormone imbalance Irritable bowel disease Thyroid conditions Weight loss resistance What can help us adapt to stress and lower cortisol? Adaptogens of course! Phytotherapy, refers to the use of plants for their healing abilities. Adaptogens are a unique class of healing plants that: help balance, restore, and protect the body. They help you adapt to any stressor, by normalizing your physiological functions. Adaptogens support, and help recharge your adrenal glands, allowing you to respond to stress in a healthier way. Some common adaptogenic herbs would include: ashwaganda, astragalus, ginseng, licorice root, holy basil, specific mushrooms, and rhodiola.