Adaptogens or adaptogenic substances are used in herbal medicine for the claimed stabilization of physiological processes and promotion of homeostasis.
Adaptogens have been used for years by doctors to help find balance within the body. They are a group natural herbs/supplements that can help with things like anxiety, relaxation, mental clarity, energy and much more! They are obviously all natural, and are therefore not used by western medicine. Scientific studies have proven adaptogens to beneficial for the body homeostasis. That is why I want to share with you the different types of adaptogens and their benefits!
Adaptogens, like I said, are natural herbs that can help your body relieve stress (which therefore helps to balance hormones). Stress can be both internal and external. It can be caused by food, environment, work, exercise, life changing events, disease and much more! With that, we tend to either continue on with our day to day complaining about being tired, run down or overweight, or we turn to western medicine and get a prescription to help “handle” the symptoms of the stress. Adaptogens can be incredible tools to get us feeling 100% again and decrease stress, therefore decreasing inflammation and therefore decreasing chronic disease! But, the downfall of adaptogens is that they take a little while to start showing results. They are not immediate like western medication can be, they take time to start working, which a lot of us are convinced we don’t have a lot of.
Adaptogens work by balancing the hypothalamic-pituitary-endocrine axis. This “balancing” happens between the brain adrenal (HPA) axis brain-thyroid (HPT) and brain-gonadal axis (HPG) and they are all needed to work in perfect harmony for a overall healthy body! When this axis is unbalanced it can lead to excess stress and therefore hormone problems, like adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems and a low sex drive. So lets chat about specific adaptogens and what their benefits are!
Ashwagandha is one of the most well-known adaptogenic herbs. It is derived from a plant in the nightshade family and is very powerful/potent!
• Helps combat stress
• Reduces anxiety and depress
• Reduces cortisol
• Boosts immunity
Mushrooms aren’t just for your pizza! There are several different kinds of adaptogenic mushrooms, most of which have different healing properties. Some of these include chaga, reishi, cordycepts, lions mane, and turkey tail.
• Fights inflammation
• Fight free radicals
• Balance hormones
• Increase energy and stamina
• Increase focus
Normally used as a sweetener, licorice root has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is derived from the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra. There are several different forms of it, but most likely you will see it (and want it) as DCL.
• Heal leaky gut
• Help with adrenal fatigue
• Decrease cortisol levels
A cruciferous vegetable native to Peru, but it has also recently been found to be extremely beneficial in medicine. It is now a well-known superfood that is typically ground into a powder. It is packed full of antioxidants and has amazing benefits such as,
• Boosts immunity (full of Vitamin C)
• Increase energy
• Balances estrogen levels
• Enhances mood and memory
Derived from the plant tulsi (ocimum sanctum) and is an herb that has been used in India for centuries. It was used to treat things like the common cold, flu, coughs and respiratory infections. But, now it has also been shown to have other great healing benefits.
• Increases cognitive function
• Reduces bloating and gas
• Fights acne
• Decreases stress
• Great for general cold, flu, respiratory symptoms
Although all these adaptogens have great benefits, you want to be sure you have the best products. A lot of companies cut their products will fillers, to make them go “further”. So one thing to always remember, you get what you pay for. The cheaper the price, likely the cheaper the product. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for saving a few dollars here and there, but supplements and herbs is NOT the place to skimp! If you really want to reap the benefits from these products, then buy quality. Here are a few brands I have found that are extremely reputable and high quality:
It’s no secret (if you’ve read this blog of mine) that I have suffered with anxiety for years. It wasn’t until I got off of prescription medications that I started to really do research. I looked into meditation, yoga, oils, herbs, everything. Literally everything. I landed upon adaptogens after doing some deep research into hormone health. As you also know, I am recently totally into everything natural. Maybe its the science freak in me, maybe its the amount of free time I have to research, but I am all about removing the amount of toxins and unnecessary ingredients from our lives that can cause imbalances. So you can imagine my reaction when these were obviously ALL NATURAL herbs. I started taking ashwagandha about 6 months ago, and it has made a world of difference. Again, these things don’t happen over night (which is obviously frustrating) so I was a little discouraged at first. I gave it a few months and realized it really was helping to reduce my anxiety! I take a little bit in my morning smoothie each day and it has been like night and day. I now also take licorice root for my gut health and mushrooms for focus/relaxation! They have made a world of difference for me. So if you too are looking for something natural to balance out your hormones and body, I cant recommend adaptogens enough!