It’s one of those wellbeing buzzwords that you’ve probably seen a lot of lately. But how much do you actually know about adaptogens and how they work?
In a nutshell, adaptogens are plants that are shown to have a positive impact on a number of both mental and physical stressors. They quite literally help the body to adapt, adjust and recalibrate depending on our emotional and physical surroundings. For example they can help you focus when life is too hectic, help you sleep when your mind is busy or help calm during times of stress.
Revered as a natural response to the stresses, strains and pressures of modern life, adaptogens have been experiencing a revival in the Western world. And at a time when we are all being faced with unprecedented change and widespread health concerns, maybe we could all use a little help adapting…
As well as being non-toxic and improving the body’s adaptability to different stressors, it is their function as ‘hormone balancers’ that has perhaps led to the recent surge in the popularity of adaptogens. Our bodies produce cortisol in response to stress and this can have a very disruptive effect on our hormones. But when our adrenal function and cortisol regulation is optimised, hormones can balance out on their own. Adaptogenic herbs like Ashwaganda produce a good example of this ‘normalising’ effect.
You may well have heard of different types of adaptogens without realising what they were. Now you understand what they are and how they work, it’s easier to find the right one for your needs.
Here are some examples of popular adaptogens and their unique benefits…
Ashwagandha is perhaps one of the better known adaptogens. It’s a traditional herb that supports the nervous systems and is believed to primarily benefit the body’s response to stress, in turn resulting in a better night’s sleep and improved energy levels. It is also credited with providing rejuvenating properties that are especially beneficial when recovering from illness.
Reishi is a type of mushroom best known for its immune-boosting properties. It’s often used to help treat viral infections like the flu as well as high blood pressure.
Known as the ‘elixir of life’ in ayurvedic medicine, Holy Basil or Tulsi as it is otherwise known, helps to aid digestion and help to calm busy minds.
These are just three of a wide variety of different adaptogens that can help support your needs. But there are so many other variations including brahmi, turmeric, maca and chaga to name a few.
It’s clear to see why these little wellness wonders have become so popular. From helping us to manage stress, to regulating hormones, to improving overall wellbeing, adaptogens are evidently well-deserving of a place in your daily routine.
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