You’ve seen them on smoothie and coffee bar menus, as an ingredient in snack bars and gummies and even in specialty cocktails promising to reduce stress and anxiety, boost immunity and energy, fight inflammation, and improve sleep. Although this seems like yet another trend in the health and wellness world, adaptogens have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
Coined by Dr. Nikolai V. Lazarev, the term adaptogen refers to “a substance that increases non-specific resistance against multiple stressors.”
This powerful group of plants, herbs and mushrooms known as adaptogens interact with your brain and nervous system to regulate physiological responses to stress, ensuring your body functions as it should, even when battling our every day stressors.
Adaptogens basically do for your adrenal glands what exercise does for muscles and bones, strengthening them to protect and defend. As a result, cortisol levels decrease, serotonin (the happy hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone) increase and everything else falls into place: pain relief, improved digestion, cognitive function and increased immunity.
Now weeding through the noise and making sure you’re actually getting real adaptogenic herbs is the main hurdle. Because the FDA deems these products as dietary supplements, manufacturers may exaggerate how well their product really works. Steer clear of the gimmicky gummies and packaged snacks and look for the whole form, powder or liquid versions of the herb’s root itself. Adaptogens are not something you can sprinkle on your Starbucks coffee every now and again and expect results. Adaptogens need to be a part of your daily routine to really reap the benefits. Read on below for easy ways to add Adaptogens into your daily routine.
THE MAIN ADAPTOGENS
Ginseng – a root; Boosts energy and cognitive function
Ashwagandha – an herb also known as Indian ginseng; Reduced stress and anxiety
Maca – a Peruvian root; Used by ancient warriors to boost stamina and energy. Is found to increase libido, balance hormones and boost immunity.
Matcha – a plant/tea; supports healthy glucose response, balances hormones and reduces inflammation
Holy Basil – a plant: reduces cortisol, the stress hormone reducing stress and anxiety, balances blood sugar and hormones, promoting fertility
Rhodiola rosea – Improves physical and mental fatigue
Astragalus – a plant; reduces fatigue
Turmeric – a root; reduces inflammation and regulates glucose and cholesterol to maintain a healthy weight
Goji berries – Boost energy, physical performance, improves wellbeing and sleep
Cordyceps – mushroom; Boosts stamina, increase exercise performance and reduce inflammation
Reishi – mushroom; boost immunity, lower blood pressure, improves sleep
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms – reduce anxiety and depression, boosts brain health, reducing Alzheimer’s
Maitake Mushrooms – support healthy blood sugar levels, regulate insulin
Use stimulating, energy boosting adaptogens like maca and ginseng earlier in the day, before 2pm
Use calming adaptogens like holy basil and ashwaganda later in the day or evening.
Incorporating adaptogens into your daily routine in the form of teas, coffees, smoothies or cooking adaptogenic mushrooms are the best methods