Sceletium Tortuosum, Doctor Prescribed and Stress

Though in modern times stress gets a bad rap, back in the day stress actually served a purpose, to protect us. It geared us up for any potentially harmful situation. When we were threatened our adrenal system started pumping and we become hyper vigilant—acutely aware of any potentially harmful situation, like a saber tooth tiger watching us from his perch above or an anaconda the size of a fire hose, lurking in the swamp. Stressed yet?

  Modern man’s stress stimulators are different. We deal mostly with invisible emotional stresses. But, they are just as pernicious, probably more so. Our heart doesn’t know the difference between losing a loved one or being six months late on our house payment. We can’t run from either of those stress triggers so our adrenal systems keep pumping and pumping out epinephrine, cortisol, and dopamine.

  Unfortunately for many, stress is much too prevalent. But, fortunately, modern medicine has accessed us to a broad assortment of quick antidotes to the symptoms of stress. Unfortunately many of these treatments carry side effects. Many are opiate based and are addictive. Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam) to name a few.

  Though these quick fixes are not cures they can be short term and effective tools to behavior modification capable of supporting someone in great stress. But, they are NOT long term protocols. Long term use of these drugs can induce what is called the “Paradoxical effect of anti-anxiety based drugs” characterized by aggressive or impulsive behavior, mania, hostility, rage, and hallucinations. Memory loss, forgetfulness, confusion, disorientation and depression are also common side effects of these opiate-based drugs.

  Because of the addiction/safety concerns linked to anti-anxiety drugs, other natural protocols treating anxiety have gained in popularity. One such non addictive natural treatment that has been used for hundreds of years by the San tribe in South Africa is known as Sceletium Tortuosum. It is a plant that grows freely across the Kalahari Desert. When the San tribesman stressed out they would chew, smoke and/or swallow it. And, not just when they were stressed out, they also use it to get into the groove of tribal ceremonies. Sceletium has a PDE 4 pharmacological action, which means that it positively affects the opiate receptor sites calming us down without become addictive. By the way, the San also partake of the plant when they are hungry and thirsty as it has the ability to mitigate these cravings.

  If you have anxiety that’s interfering with your ability to function, medication may be right for you. However, many people use prescription anti-anxiety medication when Sceletium Tortuosum would work just as well or better—minus the side effects and risks.

  Modern life is stressful. Therapy and other self-help strategies like yoga can help you get a handle on it. So can prescriptions. But, while drug treatment can be beneficial, they are by no means the only answer. There are other effective treatment approaches that can be taken in addition to or instead of medications. It’s up to you to evaluate your options and decide what’s best for you.