Anything that is based in centuries-old medicine and makes a big comeback that even the medical community acknowledges, I get kind of excited. We’ve seen this before with things that up until a few years ago were not part of mainstream culture like quinoa, rose water, and cacao.
So, introducing your newest wellness obsession, straight out of ancient times…ADAPTOGENS.
I actually heard about adaptogens a year ago on a podcast, but it was still so far from mainstream that I didn’t pay much mind to it other than “oh that sounds cool.” But now I’m seriously crushing.
What I love most is that they pack a double punch, as adaptogens are known for improving physical AND mental wellbeing.
If you don’t know by now I deal with anxiety which is why I am so passionate about taking care my my mind, body, and spirit. Well, adaptogens just made that whole lot easier.
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are a class of herbs and mushrooms that supports your body’s natural response to stressors.
Anything that taxes the body such as lack of sleep, illness, mental/emotional stress, a tough workout, or just a busy life with very little time for relaxation, will weaken systems and take away from our body’s ability to function at an optimal level. The negative effects of these stressors can build up over time, impacting our health and happiness. No bueno!! So what are we doing on a daily basis to combat these adverse influences?
Adaptogens are actually a broad term, encompassing many different types of herbs. Basically, they have to be non-toxic to the body (Le duh), and help support the functions of the body that bring it back to equilibrium when there is an attack on the system. They work on normalizing imbalances in the body the way a thermostat normalizes the temperature in a room if it goes too low or too high. Adaptogens can help the body’s cells access more energy, as well as calm you down in the face of stress.
Ashwagandha– A powerful herb used to help increase vitality, endurance, and stamina, it also enhances endocrine function for adrenal and thyroid health. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat mental and physical exhaustion.
Asian Gingeng– A spice believed to help the bod withstand stress, restore and strengthen the body’s immune system, enhance the growth of new cells, promote a sense of wellbeing, and may protect against some types of cancer.
Eleuthero– Also in the ginseng family, this root spice has been used traditional Chinese medicine for treating muscle spasms, joint pain, and fatigue. It’s also known to improve memory and mild depression.
Rhodiola Rosea– Another root spice that helps regulate cortisol, the stress hormone that affects sleep and your ability to handle stress. It also positively affects brain function, heart health, and depression.
So I know what you’re thinking: This sounds like it’s to good to be true for us busy gals out there. Do they actually do what everyone says?
In doing some googling (the new standard for research), I found that adaptogens help support the adrenals, which are glands that manage the hormonal response to stress and fatigue. While adaptogens are not exactly a natural Xanax (…darn), I believe in supporting our bodies with all it needs to function at it’s highest, and that’s what adaptogens seem to do.
It’s really important to remember that adaptogens are just another tool in our wellness arsenal and don’t treat a specific condition. They’re best used for anyone looking to boost overall well-being, just like taking your vitamins and eating your greens.
How can I take adaptogens?
Adaptogens come in lots of different forms including pills, tinctures, powders, and teas. The main way I get adaptogens are through my superfood shake that I drink almost every day, as well as a powder that I can put in my tea or hot chocolate. It’s recommended that you take a day off from adaptogens about once a week because little breaks will let the herbs take effect in your system.
Of course you know your own needs, so it’s best to do your homework or consult an Ayurvedic medicine practitioner if you really want to begin a regimen of adaptogens to improve your health. I want you to know that I’m not a doctor, so I can’t tell you what to take and how much, but I do feel like this information is valuable and powerful when used correctly.