Adaptogens and their benefits
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are plants. Many of which thrive in some of the harshest environments on earth. Their ability to adapt to these extreme climates has made them uniquely potent at helping us adapt to chronic stress.
Herbal medicine traditions – including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine – have used adaptogens for thousands of years. But the term adaptogen was coined less than a century ago by researchers. These researchers concluded that adaptogens must meet three criteria:
- Non-toxic plants that help the body’s natural stress response on a cellular level; increase resistance to physical, biological, emotional, and environmental stressors
- Chemically support homeostasis
- Regulate the body's systems
How do adaptogens work?
Adaptogens work by modulating the release of cortisol, like a thermostat — adapting to your body's needs to keep you in resistance and out of exhaustion. If stress drags you down, adaptogens will give you the boost you need. And if it triggers your fight-or-flight response, they'll help you stay collected.
What are the benefits of adaptogens?
Adaptogens help the body overcome major stressors. Adaptogens can:
- Help reduce stress
- Balance stress hormones
- Support increased* endurance
- Enhance focus
- Regulate cortisol levels
- Enhance mental stamina
- Help increase energy
- Support the immune system
- Support the function of the body systems
Types of adaptogenic herbs
There are many types of adaptogens. These are the most popular types that help support the body’s natural functions include:
- Siberian Ginseng
- Holy Basil
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete system of healing that dates to 200 B.C. Among the principal concepts in TCM is that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a "balanced state" and disease is due to an internal imbalance.
This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of vital energy – known as qi – along internal energetic pathways. It takes a macro approach to look at a human being as a whole and highlights prevention, wellness, and healing.
Adaptogens Specific to TCM include:
- Asian Ginseng
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Ayurveda (the science of life)
Ayurveda is one of the world's oldest holistic (whole-body) healing systems. It dates back over 5000 years & originated in India.
It is based on the concept that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance between the mind, body, and spirit. According to Ayurveda, all things consist of nature's five elements: space, air, fire, water, earth. All beings are made up of a unique combination of these elements, known as a Dosha.
Adaptogens Specific to Ayurveda:
- Ashwagandha Root
Potential side effects of adaptogens
Consult your doctor to determine if adaptogens are right for you. Although there is little evidence to suggest that adaptogens can cause side effects or health issues; there is also limited research and information on the long-term effects of adaptogens on the body over time.