By now I am sure you’ve heard the term adaptogen. As we slowly move away from hustle culture to our self-care era, it is no wonder adaptogens have grown to be one the of biggest buzz words in the wellness space. While the one thing we seem to all have in common is stress, it seems stress management is also on the rise and that is a trend we can get behind!
From cold exposure to breathwork to mushrooms in your morning coffee, people are obsessed with feeling good. These micro habits that we sprinkle throughout our day are the actions that have the biggest impact on our overall wellbeing, as Dr Hans Selye says It’s not stress that kills us, but our reaction to it. Today we are exploring the world of adaptogens and how they can help us to manage our reactions to stress.What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are a class of natural substances that are believed to help the body adapt to stress and promote overall well-being. They are the superheroes of the herbal world, typically found in herbs and mushrooms. Although adaptogens may be new to us, they have been used for centuries in traditional medicine practices such as Ayurveda and Chinese medicine.How do adaptogens work?
Adaptogens work by helping the body to better cope with stress, which can come in many forms, including physical, emotional, and environmental stressors. They do this by modulating the body's stress response, which is controlled by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is responsible for releasing hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline in response to stress.
Adaptogens are thought to help regulate this process by balancing the levels of these hormones in the body. It is no coincidence that many adaptogens grow in harsh conditions where they are forced to adapt. Just as maca has adapted to thrive in the high plateaus of the Peruvian Andes, you too can adapt to thrive in all seasons of life.Finding what adaptogen is right for you
Now you understand what adaptogens are, but where do you start? The common theme of adaptogens is their role in bringing our bodies to homeostasis, but in doing so they often benefit other systems within the body. Some adaptogens boost energy levels, while others help us to relax. Many are believed to strengthen the immune system while others rejuvenate.
Depending on what benefits you are after, or what ailments you are looking to soothe, there will be an adaptogen for that!
- Ashwagandha: Traditionally used to help with stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Ashwagandha is a great herb for anyone feeling depleted or worn down, physically or emotionally.
- Maca: Used to improve energy, mood, and fertility. If your hormonal system is needing some love, maca is your herb.
- Holy basil (tulsi): Used to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. In India, this sacred herb is believed to harmonize the chakras. If you are looking to balance your mood and energy (who isn’t), look no further.
- Cordyceps: Used to improve energy and endurance by improving the body’s ability to use oxygen. If running that extra mile is on your current to-do list, cordyceps might be worth a try.
- Schisandra: Used to improve mental performance, reduce stress, and improve liver function which in turn, may help to improve the health of the skin. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which could help to maintain a healthy glow.
It is important to note that adaptogens are not a quick fix for stress-related issues; lifestyle, diet and other factors also play a role. Adaptogens used consistently combined with meditation, fresh air, whole foods, and daily movement is the recipe for a balanced life.
Real change happens bit by bit. Committing to daily self-care rituals is how you make impactful lifelong change; your routines create your life.
Looking to include adaptogens in your diet? Mood capsules contain both Ashwagandha and Maca, along with other vitamins and minerals to support your mental health.
If you are pregnant, have a medical condition or take prescription medication, it is always best to consult with a doctor before introducing adaptogens. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only. It is not meant to substitute for medical advice from your physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication.
Grainger, P. (2018). Adaptogens: Harness the power of superherbs to reduce stress & restore calm. Gaia, an imprint of Octopus Publishing Group.