By Shauna Reiter
If you have ever suffered from anxiety, stress, skin conditions, ill health, sleep issues, and even depression, then you may have heard the term ‘adaptogens’ thrown around by health professionals – both mainstream and alternative. However, knowing the word is not enough to understand the meaning. Below, you will find everything you need to know about adaptogens and how they can benefit you.
An adaptogen is a plant type. In 1947, a Soviet toxicologist called N. V. Lazarev used the name to describe a class of plants that are resistant to influences such as stress.(1) Even though Mr. Lazarev was the first person to give such the plant class a name, they have been used in various cultures for centuries – including Russia, Scandinavia, China, and India. Adaptogens can decrease how sensitive we are to outside influences such as stress and anxiety, and they are thought to date back over 3,000 years.
Some people who suffer from mental and physical stress turn to pharmaceutical drugs. While there’s no denying the evidence is there to back up their efficacy, there’s every reason to believe a more natural solution exists: adaptogens. As a herb, they work to relieve your body and mind of stress while offering the energy and level-headedness you require to get through the day.
Adaptogens are available in liquid and powder form, supplements, and you can even find them in various tea and coffee blends. Most people add them to their drink, but you may also see more benefits from consuming them in a powder or pill form over several months. You will not see benefits right away. Many people also prefer them in liquid form because the manufacturer will predigest the herb to make sure your body gets the maximum benefits.
Like most things you put in your mouth, it’s crucial that you know where you get them, and whether you can take or consume them safely. Adaptogens are a supplement or a form of medication, so your first plan of attack should be to see a medical professional. With any new drug or supplement, it’s essential to find out whether it’s going to be safe for your consumption.
What’s more, if you are on a thyroid hormone or medication, it’s even more critical. Adaptogens can alter parts of your body. While it’s a natural product, it still doesn’t hurt to get the tick of approval from your GP.
Alongside your doctor’s advice, it’s important to understand that the supplement industry is not as well scrutinized as prescription medication. As a result, many drugs and supplements slip through the cracks that are either A) not safe, or B) don’t work. When you are looking to purchase adaptogens in any form – be it supplement, powder, pill, or liquid, make sure it’s from a reputable supplier.
Refer to the bottle or packaging and locate a USP seal. If it has one, that means that the adaptogens you have chosen have received verification from the United States Pharmacopeia, or has an NSF dietary supplement certification.
It’s okay to know what an adaptogen is, as a whole, but what does it include? Below, we cover some of the more common adaptogens which can be beneficial for stress.
Ashwagandha has long been used by chefs in Moon Milk and even steamed fish. However, even though you can use it to create extraordinary meals, you will also see the benefit of it for stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha is what is known as an ayurvedic herb. For centuries, people have been using it for stress and anxiety, but it’s only in recent years that modern studies have backed up these claims. (2)
Cordyceps are a type of mushrooms which boast a range of antioxidants. They are a popular adaptogen because they can boost your energy levels and immune system while reducing stress as well.(3) Some people also believe you can use them for their anti-inflammatory benefits too.
Similar to Cordyceps, Reishi are mushrooms which enhance your immunity while reducing dermal oxidation at the same time. In essence, they are beneficial for your skin. (4)
Another beneficial adaptogen is the Chaga, another mushroom with origins in northern Europe. Chaga mushrooms can help with your immunity while reducing inflammation and being a rich source of antioxidants at the same time. (5)
Most people will be aware of the health benefits of turmeric, for there are many. However, did you know it was an adaptogen as well? Turmeric can help to improve your blood glucose, cholesterol, memory, and maintain your body weight as well. What’s more, it can help to support your body’s antioxidant functionality. (6)
If you want to improve your sexual function, libido, energy levels, and stamina, then reach for Maca. Similar to ginseng, it’s a type of root that’s one of the most popular adaptogens around. It’s also similar to ginseng, getting its nickname “Peruvian ginseng.” (7)
Ginseng is an adaptogen that can help with mental and physical stress. It can rejuvenate and invigorate both body and soul while protecting you from many environmental forms of stress. (8)
Rather than reach for a synthetic product for your stress and anxiety, why not find out what adaptogens can do for you? This natural herb substance can offer a level of calmness and relief that you may not find with many other human-made products.