Humans have been using adaptogenic herbs to support their mind-body wellness for centuries, but the modern wellness world has only recently begun to recognize and embrace the many benefits of adaptogens.
Since ancient times, people have instinctively turned to plants to help heal, support the immune system, and improve their overall well-being. Although the term “adaptogen” wasn’t coined until just a few decades ago, the plants that science now recognizes as adaptogenic were commonly used in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
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In our stressed-out world, we are constantly looking for the next fix. And while exercise and a healthy diet support our stress response in a big way, there is more we can do to help prevent stress and manage the stress we do have in a natural way.
Enter: adaptogens and specifically, adaptogenic herbs! While there are dozens of adaptogens out there, this article focuses on the adaptogenic herbs and plants that bring the most stress relieving and wellness-supporting benefits.
Read on to learn more!
What Is an Adaptogenic Herb?
Adaptogens are super-herbs or plants that promote vitality. They help your body manage stress and restore balance. Ultimately, adaptogenic herbs help your body adapt to stress-induced responses.
These adaptogenic herbs are thought to have the ability to modulate the body’s response to stressors, whether they are physical, chemical, or biological.
Some adaptogenic plants are stimulating and may be beneficial for improving physical endurance and cognitive function, while others leave you feeling calm, yet energized.
Most of all, many people are now turning to adaptogens to support the adrenal system in protecting the body from the damages of stress. You may even be using some balancing, restorative or fatigue-fighting adaptogens already without knowing it.
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How to Use Adaptogenic Herbs
Adaptogenic herbs most commonly come in the form of tinctures, supplements, and powders. You can also find them in a wide range of snacks and beverages for on-the-go use, or add them in powder or tincture form to your morning shake. Whether you want to cultivate calm or need an energizing boost, the following adaptogenic herbs can help.
Here Are the Top 5 Adaptogenic Herbs to Help Manage Stress and Support Your Overall Wellbeing:
Learn more about each adaptogen and its specific qualities.
This adaptogenic herb is revered as the “super herb of Ayurveda.” It is one of the most widely used adaptogens because it is so versatile. It can boost the immune system, improve cognitive function, improve physical endurance, potentially speed up recovery, and enhance relaxation. It is so rejuvenating that it is often called “Indian ginseng.”
Ashwagandha is believed to help the body cope with stress, promote vitality, and enhance overall well-being.
Due to its bitter taste, Ashwagandha is generally taken in capsule form as a supplement.
In the high altitudes of Peru’s Andean Mountains, the precious maca root has been used for centuries to boost vitality, stamina, energy levels, and support healthy hormones. Today, many athletes turn to this super herb to help them perform their best. It is believed to best help the body adapt to stress, much as its classfication as an adaptogenic herb suggests.
Maca powder makes a delicious addition to a smoothie or your morning latte.
3. Holy Basil
Closely related to sweet basil, holy basil is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and incredibly antioxidant-rich. This botanical helps the body fight fatigue and function at its best in response to stress (physical, emotional or environmental).
Also referred to as Tulsi, holy basil is revered in Ayurveda for its stress-relieving properties and its ability to promote a sense of emotional calm and well-being.
Asian ginseng is a staple in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) perhaps one of the most well-known adaptogenic herbs, found in everything from drinks to candies. Ginseng is believed to enhance resilience to stress, increase energy, and support the immune system.
It has been proven to boost mental performance and increase circulation while reducing inflammation. Ginseng is also rich in antioxidants. Fun fact: botanical genus (or category) is panax, which means “all-healing” and stems from the “panacea.”
In your research of ginseng, you’ll notice that there are many different kinds – Asian ginseng, Brazilian ginseng, Siberian ginseng, Female ginseng, and American ginseng.
Ginseng is consumed as a supplement, in tea, or in powder form.
5. Chaga, Cordyceps, and Reishi Mushrooms
Chaga, Cordyceps, and Reishi all have two things in common: they are all adaptogens, and they are all classified as functional mushrooms. Commonly referred to as medicinal mushrooms, this popular group of fungi are believed to have many wellness benefits and have been used for centuries, particularly in Asian cultures.
Sometimes called the “Mushroom of Immortality,” Reishi is one of the most prized functional mushrooms in the world. It is believed to support healthy immune and cardiovascular functions, assist the body in detoxification, and promote healthy aging.
Chaga is believed to have antioxidant properties and is used for its potential to support immune function, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health.
Cordyceps mushrooms also have anti-aging benefits, and they can also enhance energy, endurance, and athletic performance. They also reduce inflammation and support healthy immune system function.
Work With Adaptogenic Herbs to Support Your Wellbeing Naturally
Given common exposure to environmental pollutants and stressful lifestyles today, it is important to support your body – especially your immune system – as well as your overall physical and mental wellness.
A well-rounded and healthy lifestyle includes educating yourself on supplements like adaptogenic herbs and plants, healthy eating, and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Finally, it is important to note that while adaptogenic herbs have a long history of use in traditional medicine systems, scientific research on their is still ongoing, and individual responses may vary.
Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating adaptogenic herbs into your wellness routine, especially if you have any existing health conditions or are taking medications.
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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