Mother nature knows life can be hard to take sometimes. That's why she's given us adaptogens, a special group of herbs that help your body, specifically the adrenal glands, adapt to stress and resist fatigue.
Your adrenal system is in charge of managing your body’s hormonal response to stress. Adaptogens help balance your body’s response to stress
. For example, when you experience anxiety, adaptogens can balance your body's "fight or flight" response, when the adrenals start pouring adrenaline into your system. Adaptogens work to help the adrenals kick in slowly and gently, without those butterflies-in-stomach jolts of adrenaline, or scary, sudden drops in energy.
Studies have shown that sustained stress levels is one of the biggest risk factors for illness and disease.
Adaptogens are a perfect complement to energy principle exercises such as those that make up the Solar Body Method
or Water Up, Fire Down
because they function just like a thermostat. When your body temperature is too high, they brings it down; when your temperature is too low it brings it up.
Check your local health food market or favorite herbalist to buy these herbs and learn more about what adaptogens can do for you.
Here are four of the most common and effective adaptogenic herbs. Use them alone or in combination formulas to see what works best for you!
Eleuthero or Siberian Ginseng is considered the "King of adaptogens."
“I would rather take a handful of eleuthero than a cartload of gold and jewels,” said 16th century Chinese pharmacologist and physician Li Shih-Chen.
Eleuthero’s benefits are that powerful when it comes to protecting and nourishing good health.
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is used in traditional Chinese medicine for muscle spasms, joint pain, insomnia and fatigue. In Germany, its use is approved for chronic fatigue syndrome, impaired concentration, and speeding recovery from illness. Western herbalists note that it improves memory, imparts feelings of well-being and can lift mild depression.
Eleuthero is usually taken as a dried root. Grind the root into a powder that can be taken in gelatin capsules, stirred into smoothies or sprinkled on food. Eleuthero, like most adaptogenic herbs, can be used safely over a long period of time.
(Panax ginseng) has been highly valued around the world for many centuries. Believed to affect the body by influencing metabolism within individual cells, it has been studied extensively for its ability to help the body withstand stress. Western herbalists say that it restores and strengthens the body’s immune response, promotes longevity, and supports the function of normal cells. Research also indicates that it promotes a sense of well-being and may protect against some kinds of cancer.
Take Asian ginseng as an extract, tincture or tea. You can also use the dried, powdered root, usually taken in gelatin capsules.
Astragalus, also called Huang Q in Chinese Medicine, comes from a type of bean or legume. Astragalus is especially good for boosting your immune system. It has antioxidant effects that inhibit free radical production in the body that damage cells. Free radicals or oxidation is linked to unhealthy aging. Whenever you feel a cold coming on, or are just run down, a dose of astragalus could nip illness in the bud. Astragalus is said to stimulate the spleen, liver, lungs, circulatory, and urinary system. It's also been used to treat inflammation type conditions such as arthritis and asthma. It is also good for lowering blood sugar and blood pressure.
Astragalus root can be taken in an extract, tea or decoction, powdered root, tincture or even as a topical ointment to treat mild burns.
Ashwagandha is best known for its restorative benefits. In Sanskrit Ashwagandha means “the smell of a horse,” because it is said to impart the vigor and strength of a stallion. Like Asian ginseng, ashwagandha is used to help increase vitality, energy, endurance and stamina, promote longevity and strengthen the immune system. It can also be useful for controlling high blood pressure, easing insomnia, symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, and alleviating impotence associated with anxiety or exhaustion. Ashwagandha also enhances endocrine function, especially the thyroid and adrenals.
Ashwagandha can be taken in an extract, tea or decoction, powdered root or tincture.
Rhodiola rosea acts like a hormone thermostat, especially as it pertains to cortisol, one of our main stress hormones. Stress and exhaustion can raise or lower your cortisol levels, putting your circadian cycles out of sync. Rhodiola helps get your cortisol back in rhythm. Rhodiola also has demonstrated an ability to support cellular energy metabolism. It positively affects brain function, depression, and heart health too.
Take Rhodiola Rosea as an extract or as ground powder or chopped root.
You can't control what life may throw at you, but you can soften the impact of how your body responds to life's curveballs with adaptogens. Introduce them to your body's innate healer for a happier relationship with health!
All dosage recommendations are for healthy adults Consult your physician for individual use and dosage.
The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychological condition. Adaptogenic herbs are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, people with mood disorders or hormone-related conditions.