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A Beginner’s Guide to Adaptogens

by Karen Rollins Feb 18, 2019

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If you haven’t heard of adaptogens, then you’re probably not alone.

Despite being a key part of Ayurvedic, Chinese, and alternative medicines for centuries, this powerful group of herbs are only now gaining popularity in the western world.

Adaptogens have been credited with balancing hormones, fighting fatigue, and boosting your body’s natural defences against stress and sickness, but do they really work?

Sure has put together this beginner’s guide so you can make up your own mind.

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens “help the body adapt to and resist physical, chemical, and environmental stress” according to alternative medicine practitioners.

They include a range of herbs and mushrooms such as rhodiola, ashwagandha, licorice root, maca root, and lion’s mane.

How do they work?

Adaptogens are said to be able to restore communication between your brain and adrenal glands, and therefore have a balancing effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-endocrine (HPA) axis.

The HPA needs to be stable in order to maintain a healthy mood, metabolism, energy levels, and immune system.

Adaptogens can also reportedly improve attention, increase endurance, reduce stress, and fight fatigue.

How can I introduce adapogens into my diet?

Adaptogens are available in lots of different forms such as powders, dissolvable tablets, pills, liquid extracts, and teas.

If you decide to use an adaptogen supplement make sure that you’re getting a pure form of the herb.

In addition, you should consult with your doctor before taking any type of adaptogen, as they can interfere with some drugs and how they interact with the body.

You should also remember that adaptogens are generally not regulated and are not officially approved for specific holistic use.

Which adaptogens should I take?

Here are a few adaptogens and their potential benefits:

Rhodiola: This herb can help reduce stress and is ideal for people with adrenal fatigue. However, be careful because it could potentially keep you up at night.

Schisandra: This berry supports your adrenals and can help fight adrenal fatigue.

Lion’s mane: The nerve growth factors (NGFs) found in this mushroom can help regenerate and protect brain tissue.

Chaga: This superfood mushroom is loaded with antioxidants that help fight free radicals to keep skin youthful. It also has powerful antiviral effects as well as immune-balancing properties.

If you think it’s worth giving adaptogens a go, make sure you carry out your own research, and consult a medical professional.

Sources: Sheerluxe / Shape Magazine / MindBodyGreen