If you’re a health and wellness freak (like us!), chances are you may have already heard of adaptogens. More than just a buzzword in the wellness world, adaptogens have many benefits, such as helping your body and mind adapt to life’s stressors.
If you are curious about what they really are and which ones you should be taking, here we bring you the long and short of it. Let’s dive in.
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens have popped up everywhere — from juice bars and local coffee shops to supplement stores and lifestyle blogs. But they’re not just a modern fad. They have been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese healing practices and are now spreading to the rest of the world.
Adaptogens are non-toxic herbs that help our bodies respond to or recover from short-term and long-term physical or mental stress. They provide our body and mind with a biological boost so that we can cope better with stress and reestablish a healthy balance.
Certain adaptogens also boost immunity and overall health and well-being. Research shows that adaptogenic herbs can fight fatigue, improve mental performance, and alleviate anxiety and depression. Essentially, they help you thrive rather than just survive every day.
How Do Adaptogens Work?
When we are dealing with a physical or mental stressor, our bodies undergo a physiological process called general adaptation syndrome (GAS). GAS has three stages:
Adaptogens help our bodies remain in the resistance stage longer with their stimulating effects, keeping exhaustion at bay.
When our bodies and minds adapt to stress, we can feel and perform better. The adaptation they bring also lifts our health and well-being. Adaptogens are seen, in holistic systems of health, as being major players in anti-aging and rejuvenation.
Moreover, when you’re anxious or stressed, your adrenal gland releases cortisol, the stress hormone. This hormone puts you in fight or flight mode. While it helps you deal with an emergency, having excessive cortisol on a regular basis is bad for your body.
This hormone is the main culprit for weight gain, particularly around the belly. Stress also puts into motion a cascade of physical responses that exert negative impacts on our immune function, hormones, cognitive function, and circadian rhythm. It increases blood pressure, blood sugar levels, respiration, perspiration, etc. while suppressing immune response and other crucial functions.
When you consume adaptogens and relieve stress, you reduce cortisol, weight gain, digestive problems, pain, insomnia, and other health issues.
Which Adaptogens Should You Be Taking?
There are several adaptogens available on the market today. Here we will delve into seven of the very best. These have survived the test of time for promoting good health:
Rhodiola, whose scientific name is Rhodiola rosea, is a high-altitude shrub that grows in the mountainous and arctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is known to help fight physical and mental fatigue, as well as enhance mental performance and focus during stressful situations. It can also help increase immunity and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Recent studies have also found that rhodiola has anti-aging and cancer-fighting effects, making it a wonder herb.
Astragalus or Astragalus membranaceus is a flowering plant that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It not only fights fatigue—when used in combination with other herbs, it can also treat illnesses such as hay fever and upper respiratory infections and boost immune function.
3. Reishi Mushroom
Reishi mushroom, scientifically called Ganoderma lucidum, is a fungus adaptogen known to enhance immunity. It supports the function of the adrenal glands, which are responsible for secreting cortisol.
A study done on male athletes showed that taking reishi mushrooms with cordyceps helped protect against stress-related damage resulting from overtraining. Another study in 2020 found that reishi reduced stress-induced brain inflammation in rats that had been exposed to low oxygen levels. This helped prevent nerve damage and memory impairment.
Research also suggests reishi mushrooms’ ability to protect against different stressors, including cold exposure and low oxygen levels. Consuming it regularly may help people adapt to high-altitude climates and safeguard themselves against mountain sickness caused by low oxygen levels.
4. Burdock Root
Burdock root is a wonderful adaptogenic herb that purifies the blood. It is particularly great for the treatment of eczema, acne, burns, and cuts.
Burdock also helps with increasing urine production and elimination, making it a great diuretic, lymphatic, and liver tonic. It is a powerful cleanser that removes potentially harmful toxins from the body. It slowly restores the functions of the body and improves health and vitality.
Jujube is a red-colored berry used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is known to help with anxiety and insomnia and support energy levels. It is also great for enhancing the immune system and improving digestion.
Schisandra berry or magnolia berry, also known by its scientific name Schisandra chinensis, may not be as well-known as the other adaptogens on this list. However, this beautiful Chinese red berry is considered a super berry that has powerful immune-boosting and stress-fighting properties. It also boosts endurance and cognitive performance.
Ashwagandha or Indian ginseng, scientifically known as Withania somnifera, is an evergreen shrub that natively grows in India, the Middle East, and Africa. This popular Ayurvedic herb is useful for the fight against aging, stress, anxiety, depression, and other health conditions. Ashwagandha works to regulate your metabolism and calm you down by modifying the way your brain responds to stress.
It has both anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating benefits. Its antioxidant properties protect cells and reduce swelling. Ashwagandha can also help increase white blood cells, stave off fatigue, and improve autoimmune health.
8. Other Adaptogens
Holy basil, Bacopa monnieri, Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus) are other superb adaptogens that provide benefits similar to those listed above. They are great for stress, memory, cognizance and a sense of inner calm.
Adaptogens are a wonderful and easy way to access the powerful, plant based health benefits that nature can offer without needing to resort to unhealthy stress-relieving methods and tools.
If you’re looking for a supplement that provides the stress relieving, energizing benefits listed herein, AdrenalStability™ is a superb choice. It combines potent, full spectrum extracts of Cordyceps, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Schisandra, Eleuthero and Holy basil.
Another great choice is Stress Support System™. It provides Ashwagandha, jujube seed, rhodiola, and schisandra, along with other herbs and natural ingredients such as magnolia bark, bupleurum, pearl, polygala, white peony, spirulina, dong quai, skullcap, atractylodes, eleuthero, and rehmannia.*
These unique adaptogen supplements reduce cortisol, improve mood and sleep, and support energy flow. They also support healthy liver function and nourish the kidneys and adrenal glands, making it a wonderful tool for overall health.*