Stay Calm Naturally with Adaptogens
This is my second post on adaptogens because they seem to be only growing in popularity as stress levels grow. They may just be the plant based answer to soothing stress!
WHAT ARE ADAPTOGENS?
Adaptogens are a select group of herbs (and some mushrooms) that support the body’s natural ability to deal with stress. They are called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to the specific needs of the body. Adaptogens are believed to help regulate our bodies and have been around for centuries, specifically in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine.
WHAT DO ADAPTOGENS DO?
The beneficial properties of adaptogens are just starting to be understood, but research shows they aid our ability to maintain resilience to stress by supporting our immune system, optimizing energy, supporting brain health and protecting our glands from the impact of stress. according to dietitian Ali Miller. They have been compared to a thermostat, moderating the body’s stress response like a thermostat controls temperature
WHICH ADAPTOGENS SHOULD I TAKE?
Ashwagandha, cordyceps and rhodiola are the adaptogen power players and are available in powders, tinctures, pills and teas. Ashwagandha is the most well known and helps to prevent stress induced fatigue and maintain energy levels and focus, says Miller. Cordyceps balances out blood sugars and boosts immune health, whereas rhodiola is a mood influencer and is known to help depression and anxiety.
HOW SHOULD ADAPTOGENS BE TAKEN?
The roots are best for potency - grate into milk (non dairy is fine) or into food. The powder, often used in tea bags (which can be bitter), and finally the pills. Most adaptogens are more bioavailable in heat, so take either in tea (or with it) or blended into coffee with milk. The fat in the milk helps it absorb better), or with vitamin C to boost adrenal recovery. Look for the GMP (Good Manufacturing Process) stamp on the label to ensure there are no additives, fillers or sweeteners.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE INTERESTED IN ADAPTOGENS?
Herbs that are good sources of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents and that also happen to boost energy levels, fight stress, promote health and work without harmful side effects should interest everyone! In North America, stress related health issues have reached epidemic proportions. A new Consumer Report survey (August 2017) finds that 55 percent of Americans regularly take a prescription medicine and those who use a prescription drug take four, on average, and many also take over-the-counter drugs, vitamins and dietary supplements, Although there is skepticism in the medical community because of the lack of credible research, there seems to be a growing realization, as the number of small studies increases, that adaptogens do have unique, probably beneficial, qualities that warrant further investigation.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Some adaptogenic herbs, such as ginseng, can negatively interact with certain prescription medicines, while holy basil may lower blood pressure and blood sugar, so always seek your doctor’s advice first.