Everything in our lives and our bodies is constantly in flux. Adaptogens help bring balance to the body amidst all these changes.
Heraclitus of Ephesus, a Greek philosopher said that change is the only constant of life.
Everything within the body, the environment, and life in general is always changing.
The ability to “adapt” to all these inevitable changes is critical to fostering a healthy life and our own human evolution. Adaptogens are essential natural substances or herbs that work within the body to help us adapt. In the modern day, they are particularly useful for persistent fatigue and stress.
You can refer to them as nature’s miracle anti-fatigue and stress fighters.
All this sounds like an incredible solution for the busy professional of today, but do they really work?
Read on and discover what adaptogens are and if they are worth all the hype they’re getting these days.
For Linda, it was only after being diagnosed with thyroid issues two years ago that she heard about adaptogens.
Her practitioner brought up adaptogens quite a number of times during their consultation sessions. Linda decided to try adding adaptogens to her diet and she swears by its efficiency in helping her manage her hypothyroidism.
Thanks to adaptogens, she is now able to sleep well, stress less and continue to live a productive and fulfilling life.
Why Adaptogens are Relevant Today
These days, more people are willing to try natural substances rather than pharmaceuticals, for better healing without the nasty side effects.
However, the critical reason for adaptogens’ new popularity is their power to reduce stress.
Just think for a second, it seems like recurring tiredness and stress is the new normal, regardless of your age, sex, or background.
We are living in the fast lane, waking up earlier, working later, and quickly wearing ourselves out with our busy lives, including the pressures of social media.
It’s just too much!
Enter Adaptogens – The Solution
Adaptogens are substances that positively influence various organ systems in the body and work to enhance tolerance of a broad range of physical, biological, emotional, and chemical stress factors in our lives.
They are herbal compounds, mainly certain barks, berries, mushrooms, roots, and leaves, which, when consumed over a certain amount of time, help to modulate immune functions, supporting physiological homeostasis, as well as having the natural ability to stimulate energy levels.
In short, adaptogens essentially reduce your stress sensitivity by normalizing the under- or over-activity of your organs.
#Adaptogens are substances that positively influence various organ systems in the body and work to enhance tolerance to a broad range of physical, biological, emotional and chemical stress factors in our lives.
Key Features of Adaptogens
Even though Chinese herbalists have been using adaptogenic tonics for their herbal medicine, it was not until 1947 that these effects could be scientifically proven.
A Russian scientist, Nikolai Lazarev, is credited for coining the word “adaptogen,” which means metabolic agents that increase the capability of organisms to acclimatize to prevailing environmental factors without getting damaged by those factors.
All adaptogens can be summed up by the following key criteria:
- They are non-toxic
- They produce a healthy non-specific response i.e. increasing the tolerance against multiple stressors that include chemical, physical and biological agents
- They have a balancing or normalizing effect on physiology
How Do Adaptogens Work?
Now that you’re comfortable with describing what an adaptogen is, let’s talk about how they work.
Adaptogens increase your stress tolerance levels by supporting both the adrenal and pituitary glands.
The core part of their action lies in enabling people to cope better with stress and achieve balance by acting on the stress response mediators, including nitric oxide and cortisol.
Several studies show that these adaptogens prevent fatigue and increase focus and concentration through homeostasis regulation.
Simply put, adaptogens can be considered as a niche category of effective anti-fatigue treatments that:
- Induce enhanced endurance and attention when you might otherwise have lower performance due to weakness or fatigue
- Limit the onset of stress-induced disorders or impairments linked to the function of immune and neuro-endocrine systems.
List of Common Adaptogens
The following natural herbs have been found to have significant adaptogenic capabilities and are generally safe for consumption:
- Ashwagandha – This herb has been used for ages in ancient Ayurvedic medicine for increasing vitality, endurance, stamina and promoting longevity.
- Eleuthero – In Chinese herbal medicine, Eleuthero was used for fatigue, insomnia and muscle spasms. Today, it is recommended for improving memory and can relieve mild depression.
- Panax Ginseng – It provides non-specific protection from various physical, mental and environmental stress factors
- Maca – Like ginseng, this root enhances energy, libido, sexual function and stamina
- Medicinal mushrooms – Various mushroom species like chaga and reishi provide the same protective and immune building properties that also protect and support the earth itself.
Benefits of Adaptogens
The major appeal of adaptogens is the fact that they specifically work with your unique needs and help you maintain balance.
Here are some of the benefits you can expect with regular use of adaptogenic products:
- Reduced impacts of stress so that you function optimally even under stress.
- Restored and normalised healthy immune system functions
- Safe to use as long-term natural tonic remedies
- Reduce inflammatory responses within the body
- Improved cognitive function by fostering hormonal and overall balance within the body
How to take them
I’m convinced! Now, how do I integrate adaptogens into my life?
Well, that’s easy. Adaptogens usually come in a tincture or powder form and you can easily add them to teas, smoothies, breakfast, juice, or even as a quick shot with some water.
If you are looking for a healthy alternative to your morning coffee, try these four highly effective adaptogens:
- Jing – If you want to completely eliminate fatigue, then switch out your coffee and take Jing instead. It replenishes the jing energy within your kidneys and brings with it long-term stamina and energy to keep you going during those hectic days.
- He Shou Wou Root Extract – Besides helping to normalize your adrenal glands and promoting homeostasis, this root extract can also boost your sexual function by increasing the production of your sexual fluids. Additionally, He Shou Wou has also been successfully used in ancient Chinese medicine to improve hair health and to deal with premature greying or baldness.
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract – With its potent nootropic effects, Lion’s Mane offers key cognitive benefits, including protection from diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as well as improving your ability to focus. Regarding its adaptogenic benefits, this mushroom extract can provide significant protection against inflammation and damage caused by free radicals, which are linked to cancer.
- Wild Chaga Mushroom Extract – Yet another adaptogenic mushroom extract, Wild Chaga is filled with beneficial antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that all contribute to a better immune system.
#Adaptogens usually come in a tincture or powder form and you can easily add them to teas, smoothies, breakfast, juice or even as a quick shot with some water.
Cautions and recommendations
Remember that adaptogens do not treat specific conditions, rather they are for anyone who wants an overall boost in well-being.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have ulcers or other gastrointestinal issues, it is not recommended to take adaptogens.
However, for most people who want to function at their optimal levels, whether it is with better sleep, healthy appetite or enhanced sex drive, then supplementing with adaptogens is a good decision.
- Adaptogens are great for eliminating stress and fatigue
- Supplement with the mushroom jars mentioned above (Jing, He Shou Wu, Chaga, Lion’s Mane) for an effective, convenient approach
- Experiment with these different adaptogens to find the best tonic program that suits your needs
- Be patient as adaptogens are powerful substances, but are usually slow-acting
In short, all adaptogens must:
- Work by decreasing your stress response
- Be safe to use
- Support optimal health by assisting the body to achieve homeostasis or balance.