What Are Adaptogens?
Stress is a constant part of life for most people. Whether it’s financial stress, familial conflict, politics, physical health, work-related stress or one of the many other reasons why we worry — stress is hard to shake. In fact, trying to avoid it can increase its power, and nobody wants that.
Stress is always going to be there. However, we can control our reaction to it and how we support our bodies in dealing with it. One key tool at our disposal? Adaptogens.
Adaptogens are components of herbal medicines that are said to help the body's resilience in dealing with physical and emotional stresses. Adaptogens are also said to have anti-aging properties. Think of adaptogens like a multivitamin for stress. They’re herbs and mushrooms that aid our body in adapting to, reacting to and recovering from short and long-term physical, mental and emotional stress.
- Improve attention
- Increase endurance in situations caused by fatigue
- Lower stress-induced disorders and impairments in the body
- Balance hormone levels
- Keep cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and other hormone levels in check
- Fight fatigue that results from excessive physical or emotional stress
- Combat the impact that stress has on cognitive function
- Stimulate mental performance that has been impacted by stress
- Normalize body functions
- Boost the immune system
- Fight the symptoms caused by elevated cortisol levels (such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and obesity)
- Increase physical stamina and improve energy levels
- Improve the function of organs, such as the liver and adrenal glands
- Improve the function of body systems
Examples of common adaptogens and the action they are said to produce in the body include:
- Astragalus root: to help reduce stress and aging by protecting the telomeres (structures linked with aging, located at the end of each chromosome)
- Ashwagandha: to help the body cope with daily stress, and as a general tonic
- Holy basil: to promote relaxation, relieve stress and anxiety
- Rhodiola rosea: to lower anxiety, fatigue, and depression
- Cordyceps: a specific type of mushroom which is said to fight stress and help balance hormones
- Reishi: a specific type of mushroom which is said to help the body adapt to stress and promote a healthy sleep pattern
- Maca: to improve mood and increase energy
- Wild yam: to regulate female hormone levels
- Licorice: to increase energy and endurance and help boost the immune system, stimulate the adrenal glands and promote healthy cortisol levels