Adaptogens are substances that help the body adapt to the stresses of day to day life. They are beneficial to the whole body and don’t have one specific action. They soothe the mind and the body during stressful situations without acting as a tranquilizer. They increase energy without overstimulating. Basically, adaptogens increase stamina while promoting or restoring normal body function.
- Increase resilience
- Improve and increase physical performance
- Improve motor coordination
- Improve memory and concentration
- Increase mental and physical capacity
- Improve energy, stamina, muscle tone and strength
- Regulate the immune system (immunoregulator)
- Reduce the stress hormone cortisol
How do they work
Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress by supporting the adrenal glands and reducing cortisol which is an everyday, low-level stress hormone the adrenal glands produce and release into your blood stream. Too much stress leads to adrenal fatigue and a plethora of ailments.
Adaptogens are present in adaptogenic herbs. You can’t use adaptogenic herbs to address any particular disease but you can take them to make your body stronger and better capable to adapt to stressful situations. It doesn’t matter which situations these are. They can be mental (divorce, loss of job, death in the family), physical (not enough sleep, physical exertion, injuries) or chemical (pollution, allergens, medication). In any case, adaptogenic herbs are there to help you.
My favorite adaptogenic herbs
Adaptogenic herbs almost fulfill the primeval human desire to maintain (or improve) adaptability and efficiency, especially in old age. No wonder they are treasured as anti-age wonder herbs.
Many herbs have adaptogenic properties and some are better suitable to some people than others. Try them out and find what works best for you. My favorite adaptogenic herbs are:
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) – Ginseng is used to improve mood, cognitive performance, sleep, energy, sexual function, and immunity.
Golden root (Rhodiola rosea) – Traditional in Scandinavia, it’s one of the most popular adaptogenic herbs, second only to Panax ginseng.
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) – Also known as Siberian ginseng, it’s benefits are very similar to those of true ginseng.
Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) – Supports mental health and performance.
Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) – A stress-busting herb wonderful for stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Bacopa monnieri – Improves cognitive and mental health.
How to take adaptogenic herbs
Prophylactic – It works best if you take it before a stressful time.
2-3 months – It takes time for the beneficial compounds to build up in the body, so take it for 2-3 month, but no longer.
2-3 month break – After taking adaptogens for 2-3 months, do take a break for 2-3 months. This way, your body won’t get used to the herbs.