Tara Pierce, M.H.


Believe it or not, short term fear can be beneficial to your health. It is a primitive emotion that we are all hardwired with and would not survive without. The physical effects of the fight or flight response can be invigorating, therapeutic, euphoric, and put an adrenaline filled smile on your lips. Experiencing fear in a safe environment such as a haunted house or movie theater can be a great way to learn how to react in a healthy way to such stimulus. Increased heart rate, increased blood flow to the extremities, rapid short breath, jumping, screaming and running are all natural reactions to fear. This is a proactive and positive response, the same response that kept our predecessors from life threatening danger.


The negative side of fear, is when we are in a prolonged stressful situation that can lead to a myriad of physical and psychological problems. Irrational fears and everyday stresses cause the release of cortisol and other stress hormones, which in large and prolonged amounts can result in adrenal problems, weakened thyroid, weight gain, loss of sleep, digestion and assimilation difficulties, mood changes and in extreme cases can become a disorder like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and anxiety.


The body doesn’t always recognize the difference between real and imagined fear, it simply responds to stimuli. Imagined fear is often of our own making and is often rooted in the question “What if?” It can rob you of who you have the potential to be and a life that is full of happiness and satisfying achievements. (A great article, 7 Things Fear has Stolen from You)


To help calm the body’s response, I would recommend reconnecting with yourself emotionally and spiritually. Practices such as meditation, prayer, Emotional Release Therapy, Rapid Eye Therapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) etc. can be very helpful in identifying the reason for your fear. Once you understand the origin of the fear you can learn to let it go and move forward. To help in expressing your emotions, activities such as singing, music, dance, writing, painting, drawing etc. can be very beneficial.


To ease the symptoms of stress and anxiety, passion flower and wood betony combined can’t be beat. Use an equal amount of each herb as a tea, 1-3 times daily. These herbs are known to relieve anxiety, stress, nervous tension, insomnia, and depression. You will also find relief from the pain and discomfort caused by muscle tension and emotional turmoil.


Tara Pierce is a Certified Master Herbalist Graduate from The School of Natural Healing.