Increasing numbers of people are experiencing tension, fatigue, lack of sleep, digital overload and a 24/7 lifestyle. While your body does an amazing job as a first-responder combating these challenges, it could certainly do with some back up in this modern era—that’s where adaptogens come in!
Used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, adaptogens are herbs that help you “adapt” by restoring balance and protecting your body from external challenges. They don't have a specific action but, instead, help prevent imbalances
How Do Adaptogens Work in the Body?
The best way to think about adaptogens is to consider them an internal “thermostat” for your body. When your body gets out of balance, adaptogens work to bring your hormone levels back to normal and bring your internal “temperature” down if you need calming or back up if you need uplifting.
Plus, because your body's e sympathetic nervous system controls hundreds of pathways that are responsible for occasional discomfort, it’s a powerhouse at keeping other nasty imbalances at bay.
How to Take Adaptogens
As with many herbs, adaptogens come in various forms that can be taken with water or added into smoothies, teas, snacks, and even beauty elixirs. While no option is necessarily better than the other, make sure you are buying from a high-quality source and go with a form that works in easily with your lifestyle (if you love smoothies then go for powdered forms but if you prefer to take a capsule then that works too).
Other things to be mindful of when taking adaptogens:
- Use 1 – 2 at one time, and no more than 3 at one once
- For ones that have a strong taste, consider adding them to recipes (rather than water).
- Choose one that supports how you’re feeling, what you need, and what you’re dealing with in life.
- They’re generally quite strong so you don’t need a lot.
- If you don’t notice a difference instantly, be patient—adaptogens are powerful, but slow-acting; allow up to a few weeks to notice a difference.
To be an adaptogen, herbs have to be non-toxic to the body’s physiological functions, offer comprehensive support, and help bring the body back to balance. There are more than 50 adaptogens to choose from, but below we’ve put together our team of “Adaptogen All-Stars”:
Ashwagandha: the mood master
Turmeric: potent anti-inflammatory
Known as one of the most powerful herbs on the planet, turmeric has a long list of natural benefits. But before you wonder how many curries you’re looking at each week, here are some of our turmeric recipe ideas.
CBD: a “girl scout” for your body
CBD always does the right thing for the body in any given situation (hence it’s “girl scout” reputation). It’s a “smart” molecule, a regulator, a modulator, and an adaptogen that fights inflammation—the root cause of so many imbalances in the body. It helps you find some relief, recover, and chill.
Maca: the battery pack
Often added to smoothies, raw desserts, protein powders and hot chocolate (yum!), maca is a great option if you need an energy lift as well as being a rich source of vitamin C—making it great for boosting your immune system.
Holy Basil: hello, tranquility
Need to take a deep breath? One of the most important benefits of Holy Basil is that it facilitates relaxation and calmness. Plus, it also helps clear brain “fog” by gently working to increase cognitive function.
Medicinal Mushrooms: a turbo shot for immunity
Medicinal mushrooms, like Chaga, are an antioxidant powerhouse that fights free radicals and inflammation. This dark black mushroom acts as “damage control” in the body, combating the far-reaching effects of oxidative stress (when free radicals in the body start attacking fatty tissue, DNA, and proteins).
While you can’t eliminate tension from your life entirely, you can use adaptogens to help keep pace with your busy life and find balance when you need to. Plus, the beauty of adaptogens is that they meet you where you are rather than trying to be a “one-size-fits-all” approach. We are all different and life throws us challenges at different times in our lives which is why we love the flexibility that adaptogens provide— they work with your specific needs, adapting their function to your body’s needs.
So whether you're interested in finding greater calm, avoiding burnout, or are simply looking for more ways to elevate your healthy lifestyle, this unique class of herbs has so much to offer for everyday well-being. Consider incorporating some adaptogenic herbs in your supplement stash, experiment to see what works for you, and relax knowing you’re well-equipped to support your body no matter what life throws at you next.