Many of us are accustomed to our morning cup of coffee, but the temporary energy boost that comes from caffeine and most energy drinks can sometimes leave us too jittery and anxious to be at our best. For a smoother, gentler source boost, we can look to adaptogenic herbs for energy to start our day and activate our potential. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the best adaptogens for energy and how they work.
Do Adaptogens Give You Energy?
Caffeine is embedded in our fast-paced society. But while coffee offers morning motivation, this surge of caffeine can temporarily boost our levels of cortisol — a stress hormone that when constantly elevated, can keep our internal system locked in a fight-or-flight response and signal undesirable changes to occur throughout our body. Because of this, you might find coffee alternatives for energy, like certain adaptogens, to be more enjoyable.
Adaptogens, on the other hand, are gentle, non-toxic herbs, roots, and mushrooms that possess the ability to help us adapt to environmental stressors and regulate our cortisol production. Certain types of adaptogens also can provide benefits like boosting cognitive performance, supporting immune function, and providing mental clarity. Because adaptogens help us adapt to stressors, they allow us to conserve energy and allocate it where it’s actually needed.
7 Best Adaptogens for Energy
Unlike caffeine, which can stimulate frenetic energy, adaptogens help keep you centered throughout the day so you can better direct your energy where you want it to go. On top of that, different adaptogens offer specialized health benefits to suit your needs. Whether you’re powering up for physical exercise, cognitive function, sexual fire, or just to get you through the day, here are some of the best adaptogens for energy.
There are numerous health benefits of Ashwagandha, making it a popular adaptogen for many reasons. Ashwagandha has been shown to increase resistance to chronic fatigue, and it offers additional benefits, whether you’re looking to support your energy levels for physical or mental performance.
From the evergreen shrub of the Ashwagandha plant, this Ayurvedic root has been used for thousands of years to inspire relaxed energy and concentration. An Ashwagandha powder supplement can also help improve sleep and stress levels, resulting in better energy during the daytime.
If you’re taking this adaptogen to support your physical endurance, research also shows potential benefits in athletic performance, including enhanced strength and oxygen consumption during exercise. If you’re using Ashwagandha for workday focus, it’s been shown to support cognitive functions like memory, information processing, reaction time, attention, and performance on cognitive tasks.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Schisandra berry is thought to benefit qi, your energy or life force, as well as beauty and longevity. This energizing berry is traditionally used as an ingredient in adaptogenic supplements to support your body’s capacity to handle stress and sustain energy and concentration. The use of a Schisandra supplement is also known to support healthy cardiovascular and liver function so your body can run more efficiently.
Rhodiola is an arctic adaptogen found in the mountainous regions of Asia and Europe. Rhodiola root powder is often used to enhance mental functions like learning and memory, and it’s also been shown to have a beneficial impact on energy levels and mood.
Numerous studies have found evidence that Rhodiola can reduce mental fatigue and increase athletic performance by way of stamina and muscle recovery. It’s also been shown to benefit those suffering from burnout, which shares common symptoms with fatigue, while easing stress and lifting mood. Plus, Rhodiola root is also an amazing adaptogen for stress and can support overall health.
Forced to adapt to harsh climates in the Himalayan mountains, these small mushrooms evolved to thrive, making them one of the most potent plant medicines today. Cordyceps are traditionally used to sustain energy and stamina, and encourage healthy lung capacity, while also supporting libidinal energy.
Ginseng is an energizing herb to take as part of your adaptogenic energy blend. Native to Asia and North America, Ginseng root is known to help rejuvenate energy and fight chronic fatigue, and has been used for centuries in TCM as a tonic for its invigorating effects.
This herb is a powerful natural energy source. Also known as Siberian Ginseng, the root of this woody shrub is known to power physical endurance and boost energy naturally.
Maca is the root of a cruciferous vegetable grown in Peru and is traditionally used to promote energy and memory function, making it a valuable natural support for cognitive function. Several studies have shown Maca to be beneficial in regulating fatigue, improving mental performance, and boosting energy scores in subjects.
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Energy is a precious resource. While caffeine can pick you up in a pinch, there’s a gentler way to support sustained energy every day. Cultivating adaptogenic power from certain roots, mushrooms, berries, and other herbs can help your body allocate energy properly while assisting you in your workout, workday, studies, or sex life.
To cover your bases, consider a blend. With Cordyceps, Ginseng, Eleuthero, Astragalus, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Schisandra, Power Dust® is an invigorating adaptogenic blend that targets stress to support your everyday energy and stamina.
- Bonilla, D. A. et al (2021). Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on Physical Performance: Systematic Review and Bayesian Meta-Analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8006238/
- Cheng, N. eta l (2013). Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of Schisandra chinensis pollen extract on CCl4-induced acute liver damage in mice. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23201450/
- Hung, S. K., Perry, R., & Ernst, E. (2011). The effectiveness and efficacy of Rhodiola rosea L.: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21036578/
- Gonzales-Arimborgo, C. et al (2016). Acceptability, Safety, and Efficacy of Oral Administration of Extracts of Black or Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) in Adult Human Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27548190/
- Goodwin G. M. (2006). Depression and associated physical diseases and symptoms. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181771/
- Pérez-Gómez, J. et al (2020). Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on VO2max: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230697/
- Ng, Q. X. et al (2020). A systematic review of the clinical use of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) to ameliorate cognitive dysfunction. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31742775/
- Zhu, H. et al (2021). Anti-fatigue effect of Lepidium meyenii Walp. (Maca) on preventing mitochondria-mediated muscle damage and oxidative stress in vivo and vitro. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33729250/