Adaptogens 101

Adaptogens – you’ve most likely heard of them but like many, you may not know what they are. I am here to explain exactly what adaptogens are and how they can help you be your best self!


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Adaptogens are a class of herbs and mushrooms that have been used for centuries in both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine for their ability to restore homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis is the biological process that keeps the internal systems of the body stable, despite external stressors. For example, maintaining a steady internal body temperature under the influence of changing external temperatures is your body practicing homeostasis.


Adaptogens do not act on specific conditions. Instead, they work with the body’s needs, adapting their function to support balance. In most cases, these herbs are working with the body’s adrenal system. The adrenals are small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for managing the hormonal response to stress by producing stress hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. Additionally, they produce aldosterone and sex-hormones, which regulate blood pressure and the reproductive system, respectively.

By supporting the adrenals, adaptogens can help strengthen the body’s response to stress as well as improve the response to anxiety and fatigue. With the regular use of adaptogens, people report increased mental clarity, improved energy, less anxiety, and more restful sleep. They are powerful, yet slow-acting so should be used regularly for a few weeks.


There are so many adaptogens out there, here is a list of my favorites:


Mental Performance and Physical Stamina

Asian Ginseng

Eleuthero

Rhodiola rosea

Maca

Lion’s Mane

Schizandra Berry


Reduce Stress and Support the Immune System

Ashwagandha

Reishi

Holy Basil

Astragalus

Amla


In addition to supplementing with adaptogens, it is important to eat a well-balanced diet full of low sugar fruits and vegetables. Foods like kale, blueberries, beets, and water lentils all contain antioxidants, that also help the body fight off stressors and free radicals.

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