The human body is a remarkable ecosystem with an inbuilt ability to self-maintain. Injury, stress, poor food, and hazardous settings, on the other hand, can throw our systems out of whack. Adaptogens can aid in this situation. Adaptogens are healing herbs, plants, and fungi that help the body's adrenal functions and influence our stress reactions, immunological health, sleep patterns, and mood. They assist us in thriving and returning to our natural condition of health, balance, and enjoyment.

 

What exactly are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that are advertised as aiding the body's resistance to a variety of stresses, including physical, chemical, and biological stressors. These herbs and roots have been utilised in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions for centuries, but they are experiencing a revival now. Some, like holy basil, can be eaten as a meal, while others are taken as supplements or brewed into teas.

 

"Adaptogens help your body handle stress," explains Dr Brenda Powell, co-medical director of the Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute. "They're supposed to bring us back to the middle."

 

Why are adaptogens good for you?

Adaptogen research and possible applications have risen in recent years. We know now that adaptogens function at the molecular level to balance the adrenal, hypothalamus, and pituitary glands, which compose the human stress response system. In this approach, research has shown that adaptogens have the ability to help humans combat fatigue, stress, and depression while also enhancing mental powers and attention spans. The adaptogens health experts recommend Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Eleutherococcus, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Schisandra. 

 

How to use adaptogens?

Adaptogenic products can be used in various ways: sipping adaptogenic tea, adding adaptogenic tinctures to water, or mixing adaptogenic powders into your favourite beverages, such as smoothies or your daily coffee.

Discover more adaptogenic recipes here 

 

Adaptogens are also used in skincare, with research demonstrating that serums, lotions, and night masks designed with adaptogens can reduce oxidative damage from UV exposure compared to untreated areas. Adaptogens provide both psychological and physical effects that might help you feel and look better.

 

However, including adaptogens in your lifestyle does not guarantee quick stress alleviation or the ability to work 100-hour weeks continuously. Zeiler frequently encounters the misunderstanding that one can ingest an adaptogenic substance and expect rapid results – similar to taking pain medication. She claims that this is not the case. Instead, she encourages people to extend their understanding of promoting long-term healing in the body.

 

Western medicine frequently provides treatments that cover symptoms without pushing patients to investigate the underlying reasons of a health condition or disease. "Herbal medicine, on the other hand, needs the individual to be working on their own recovery, recognising their body, and listening into what works for them," Zeiler explains.

 

According to Zeiler, the ideal way to include adaptogens into your health and wellness regimen is to take the time to observe how they act in your body over time. "I suggest that people go deeper into it rather than just numbing out or bandaging whatever pain they're feeling — whether it's due to stress, burnout, a breakup, or starting a business and having to work 20 hours a day."

 

What is going on in the market?

 

Adaptogens have made their way into a variety of consumer products. The nutraceutical sector is the largest adaptogen market. Some, like holy basil, can be eaten as a meal, while others are taken as supplements or brewed into teas, coffees, or other sophisticated drinks.

 

Adaptogens have recently become popular in cosmetics. We are seeing an increase in the number of creams and masks containing ashwagandha, reishi, and other super herbs that are advertised as adaptogen beauty products. The concept is similar to that of nutraceutical goods in that the precise ingredients should strengthen the skin's natural defence system and make it more tolerant to external stress factors.

 

Adaptogens roots and their benefits 

There are different adaptogens, and each adaptogen has a unique effect on the body; the one you choose will be determined by the outcome you desire.

 

American ginseng

Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng) is a herb native to North America. Due to great demand, it is considered an endangered species in various states. The benefits of this adaptogen include boosted working memory, reaction time, calmness, and a strong immune system. 

 

Ashwagandha 

Ashwagandha belongs to the adaptogen plant family, known for its health advantages when consumed as teas, powders, tinctures, supplements, or raw form. Ashwagandha, often known as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, or its scientific name Withania somnifera, is a medicinal herb whose roots and berries are utilised. It is mainly used for relieving stress and anxiety. 

Buy organic Ashwagandha root powder here.

 

Astragalus 

For ages, Astragalus has been used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is frequently recommended for its effects on the immune system, liver, and cardiovascular system. However, there has been minimal study to demonstrate that astragalus can assist protect the heart in humans. 

 

Cordyceps 

Cordyceps may boost immunity by activating cells and particular molecules in the immune system. It may also aid in the fight against cancer cells and the reduction of tumour size, notably in lung and skin malignancies.

 

Goji berry 

Goji berries are thought to offer protection against age-related eye disorders. Goji berries can improve vision since they are abundant in antioxidants, particularly zeaxanthin. Goji berries contain beta-carotene, an essential plant phytochemicals. Beta-carotene is well-known for its ability to support healthy skin.

 

Eleuthero root 

Evidence shows that eleuthero was first utilised as a herbal treatment in China over 2,000 years ago. The plant is used mainly in traditional medicine as an adaptogen, a chemical that helps the body deal with and adapt to stress. Eleuthero also functions as a stimulant, enhancing nervous system function.

 

Jiaogulan 

Jiaogulan is used to treat high cholesterol and high blood pressure and improve heart function. It is also used to enhance the immune system, increase stamina and endurance, increase resilience to environmental stress (as an "adaptogen"), improve memory, and prevent hair loss.

 

Liquorice root 

Although the evidence is limited, several studies suggest that liquorice may have health benefits. Many of them have applications in intestinal health, among other things. Previous research discovered that liquorice root acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, hastening the healing of canker sores in the mouth. Aphthous ulcers are the medical term for these sores.

 

Rhodiola Rosea 

Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea) is a plant that thrives in cold regions of Europe and Asia. The root has a long history of usage in traditional medicine. People take Rhodiola for fatigue, anxiety, depression, stress, and various other illnesses; however, no good scientific evidence supports any of these claims.

 

Schisandra berry 

Schisandra (Schisandra Chinensis) is a plant native to northern China. People take Schisandra for menopause, athletic performance, pneumonia, and various other purposes.

 

Tulsi 

The concept of an adaptogen is a multifaceted one. The holy basil plant, in its entirety, functions as an adaptogen. However, scientific evidence suggests that holy basil has pharmacological qualities that can assist your mind in coping with various stressors. Your tension could be caused by: chemical, physical, infectious, and emotional.

 

Reishi 

Reishi is regarded as the most important adaptogen in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Because of its overall wellness advantages, reishi is one of the most often used adaptogenic mushrooms. It strengthens the immune system, alleviates stress and anxiety, and promotes deeper sleep. 

Buy organic Reishi mushroom extract powder here.

 

How soon will you notice the effects of adaptogens?

If you're new to adaptogens or considering using them, you may be wondering what changes you'll notice and how long it will take for you to notice a difference. This is determined by various factors and will differ for each individual. The effect of adaptogens on you will vary depending on your unique situation and how you utilise the herbs.

 

"Everyone is different," Assaf says, "but just as you can feel stimulated after a cup of coffee, you should feel an impact after drinking an adaptogen latte or bioavailable ingestible." A healthy body will usually react quickly to everything taken, but whether or not we are attuned enough to perceive these reactions is more dependent on our stress levels, surroundings, and relationship with ourselves. "That said," Batchelor continues, "adaptogenic herbs are absolutely more effective at particular doses with proper extraction procedures, and [these herbs] continue to strengthen their capacity to help the body establish a resistance to the stress response with persistent use."

 

Consistency is critical. They have the potential to bring dramatic, profound improvements, so allow yourself the opportunity to improve the quality of your life and establish a consistent habit.

 

Other points to consider

 

There are numerous contraindications to consider when utilising herbs and adaptogens, especially in therapeutic quantities. It is advisable to do your own research or consult with your practitioner before incorporating them into your diet to confirm their safety.

 

October 11, 2021 — Lilian Buechner

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