Everything You Need to Know About Adaptogens and Why You Should Use Them

Alexa Torontow
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There are times in our lives when a nutrient-dense diet, exercise, stress management, and yoga just aren’t enough.

There are stages and phases of our lives when we simply need a little more support. Whether emotional, physical, or mental, long-term build up of stress slowly chips away at our energy, resiliency, and overall vitality.

Loading up on caffeine to get through the day, and then countering with sedative supplements or medications to wind down and combat insomnia in the evening wreaks havoc on our nervous systems. And this simply isn’t a sustainable way to take care of ourselves.

That’s where adaptogenic herbs come in to save the day, and frankly, our overall health.

What are adaptogens? And what are adaptogens benefits? They are powerful herbal medicines with a plethora of uses and advantages.

Herbal medicine has been used for centuries for a variety of reasons, including the need to adapt and counteract the negative effects of stress.
 
 

What Are Adaptogens?

Herbs with adaptogenic properties modulate our stress response. What that means is adaptogens support the body in buffering the effects of mental, physical, and emotional stress.

Adaptogens work on the endocrine system, which keeps our hormones balanced, decreases the cumulative effects of stress on our minds and bodies, and – as a result – allows us to better cope within our daily lives.

Although adaptogens work primarily on the endocrine system, they also have additional properties that further support the body in different ways. For example, some herbs also have immune boosting properties, such as Astragalus. Others are more nootropic (AKA help you focus), such as ginseng.
 

 
 
There are also herbs that additionally support the liver and stabilize blood sugars, such as Schisandra. Herbs such as Rhodiola have been shown to enhance exercise performance.
 
Here are some adaptogenic herbs that have been well researched, and are among some of my personal favorites:

  • Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)
  • Panax ginseng (ginseng)
  • Schisandra chinensis (Schisandra)
  • Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice root)
  • Rhodiola rosea (rhodiola)

 
 

What Are Some Common Uses? And What Are Adaptogens Benefits?

One of the biggest benefits of using adaptogens as support is that they are modulators. This means they upregulate or downregulate our systems, depending on what we need to move toward balance.

Our bodies strive to be in a place of homeostasis, of balance, of that sweet midline. Adaptogens help stabilize our physiological processes and encourage the shift toward homeostasis.

For example, some will increase blood pressure, and others will lower it. Some will be more stimulating and help you perform mentally and physically. Others have more sedative properties that will help you relax and unwind.

Some common uses and additional benefits include:

  • Supporting and increasing thyroid function
  • Dealing with acute and chronic stress
  • Countering fatigue and burnout
  • Stimulating (without the jitters and crash that we get from caffeine)
  • Assisting in liver function and hormone balancing
  • Boosting immune function and increasing bounce back time when we do get sick

 
In short, adaptogens will help our bodies compensate less, and harmonize more.

If you’re still unsure about what are adaptogens benefits, read: The True Secret to Sustained, Natural Energy (Hint: Get Back to Your Roots)
 

 
 

Why Take Adaptogens?

Adaptogens aren’t a new fad or a magic solution. They have been around for centuries, are time tested, and have been heavily researched. They are currently used in evidence-based medicine.

Chronic stress has been shown to be linked to a variety of illnesses (such as hypertension, depression, anxiety, and age-related disorders). So, it’s so critical to have tools, such as adaptogens, for stress management.

Get even more of adaptogens benefits! Manage Your Stress + Improve Digestion With These 5 Adaptogenic Plants
 
 

What Are Adaptogens Benefits: The Takeaway

Adaptogens are an affordable, and most importantly, a sustainable way to mediate the impacts of stress – whether it be mental, physical, or emotional. If you feel like your overall health needs some extra support, adaptogens may be that missing supportive piece of the puzzle.

You can take adaptogens individually, or you can take them in combinations, both of which are widely available for purchase. Although they are over-the-counter, I do recommend consulting with a trained professional or physician who is familiar with what they are and how to use them, especially to ensure there are no interactions with other supplements or medications.
 

Adaptogens are an affordable, and most importantly, a sustainable way to mediate the impacts of stress.

 
So, ultimately, what are adaptogens and what are adaptogens benefits? They are potent and powerful resources for our overall health and wellbeing.

All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.

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Manage Your Stress + Improve Digestion With These 5 Adaptogenic Plants
Adaptogens are super herbs, roots, or plants that promote vitality and balance. Add these adaptogens to your diet to support your immune system.
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Alexa Torontow

Alexa Torontow is a naturopathic medical student, yoga teacher and writer in Canada. She's wildly passionate about preventative health, mindful movement and discovering daily tools that help us feel better and live better. Connect with Alexa on social @alextorontow or through her website.

alexatorontow.com

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