We hear the word “adaptogens” more and more often in the wellness world. They pop up everywhere, from magazines and blogs to healthy snacks and smoothies.
Do you wonder what is all the buzz about? Here is everything you need to know!
What are adaptogens?
We face all kinds of stressors, both mental and physical. Adaptogens are herbs that help your body handle stress like a pro.
Chronic stress can cause real damage to your body and mental health. It can lead to emotional issues, such as anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, fatigue, or other types of worry. Being under stress can also result in physical symptoms, including headaches, high blood pressure, chest pain, poor sleep, weight gain, or other unpleasant symptoms.
Adaptogens have the power to help counteract those harmful effects.(1)
The term “adaptogen” was coined by Soviet scientist Dr Nicolai V. Lazarev in the 1940s to describe a substance that increases stress resistance.
Adaptogens got a lot of attention during World War II as well. Scientists were looking for ways to boost soldiers’ endurance and make pilots more adaptive to stress and handle longer flights.
How do adaptogens work?
We should first understand how stress works, in order to grasp the role of adaptogens.
Nowadays, we live under a great amount of stress. We deal with tight office deadlines, overloaded schedules, spend time stuck in traffic, and wear a lot of different hats throughout the day.
In addition to all that anxiety that comes with the busy lifestyle, stressors as sleep deprivation, sedentary activities, lack of nutritious food, and exposure to air pollution can harm our physical and mental well-being.
Our bodies cannot take the stress out of the organism. Instead, cortisol (the primary stress hormone) is being released long-term. When this occurs, certain systems that control hormone responses stop being efficient and produce either too much cortisol, or enter a depletion stage and they don’t produce enough of this hormone.
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, known as the HPA axis, is the central stress response system and describes the interaction between the hypothalamus, pituitary glands, and adrenal glands. Adaptogens work by regulating the balance between those glands, making us more alert, focused, and energized.(2)
Health benefits of adaptogens
Adaptogens have been studied for years and thanks to their anti-fatigue and mood-boosting properties, they are the perfect natural stimulant for the nervous system.
Here are some of the studied effects of adaptogens:(1)
- Enhance physical performance
- Elevate cognitive performance (learning and memory)
- Reduce inflammation and allergy symptoms
- Boost the immune system
- Fight fatigue and improve endurance
- Lower stress
- Reduce symptoms caused by chronically elevated cortisol levels (such as headaches, obesity, anxiety, depression)
- Balance hormone levels
- Increase energy levels
- Promote good mood
Top 7 most powerful adaptogenic herbs
You probably want to experience the benefits of these ancient herbs yourself but you might be wondering which one is the best for you. Well, here is a brief overview of 7 of the most powerful adaptogenic herbs.
This should help you chose your next natural supplement to bring out the go-getter in you.
This herb is one of the first choices for athletes, active people, and fitness enthusiasts. It is shown to improve aerobic endurance, increase muscle mass, and boosts strength significantly. Ashwagandha can also boost testosterone levels in males and promotes weight loss.(3) (4)
This mushroom can be found in the colder regions of the globe and provides numerous benefits. Chaga is rich in antioxidants and promotes the health of the immune system and gastrointestinal system. Chaga also has antitumor effects and is antimicrobial. (5) (6)
Another mushroom that can be an extremely valuable supplement for everyone who wants to take care of their health and cognitive performance. Lion’s mane might protect against dementia and help repair nerve damage. These mushrooms can also decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety.(7)
This Asian plant is one of the most important plants in traditional Chinese medicine. Researchers have found that astragalus is a powerful immune system booster and it promotes heart health. Furthermore, it might improve stamina, fight fatigue, and enhance physical performance.(8)
Besides its wide use in Indian cooking, this root helps the body maintain appropriate levels of cortisol and is considered adaptogenic. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent. Curcumin is also known for its anti-aging properties and many researchers suggest it could fight cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. (9) (10)
The Baobab tree is also known as the Tree of Life and its fruit and leaves provide numerous health benefits. Baobab powder is the most common form of baobab supplement you can find and is rich in antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium, and vitamin C. Baobab powder promotes healthy digestion and supports the immune system. This powerful adaptogen contains prebiotic fiber which can also contribute to weight loss. (11)
Maca root is considered a superfood and adaptogen. It can balance hormone levels, promote high energy and improve mood. Furthermore, maca might boost libido and support men’s reproductive health.(12)
These are only some of the adaptogens out there that can provide a massive boost to your performance and everyday life. Powdered supplements are the best way to absorb nutrients quickly and efficiently.
This is whyTUSOL created the first collection of smart smoothies that contain powdered plant protein, enzymes, probiotics, and a powerful combination of different adaptogens. This way you can have a nutritious meal under 1 minute that will get you ready for the day, enhance your focus, and help you combat stress.
Top 3 FAQs
1.Do adaptogens have side effects?
Any plant can be allergenic to some people. Adaptogenic herbs might cause gastrointestinal distress to individuals with more sensitive stomachs but these side effects are relatively rare. Always read the label of the supplement you take and never exceed recommended dose limit.
2.How long do adaptogens take to work?
You can experience some of the benefits right away. Your mood might and focus might be enhanced right after drinking an adaptogenic-rich smoothie. However, these powerful herbs take a few weeks to build up and provide long-term benefits.
3.What are some of the best adaptogens combinations?
You can combine adaptogens in many ways and you can also mix adaptogens with other plants or supplements. Here are just a few combinations.
- Turmeric + Ginger: Reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and prevent infections.
- Matcha + Ashwagandha: Alleviate stress, boost physical performance and keep your focus sharp.
- Lion’s mane + Cacao: Boost your cognitive performance, improve memory, enhance your energy levels and stay on the top of your game.
- Maca + Chaga + Lion’s mane: Learn anything fast, keep your gut healthy and enjoy a happy mood more often.
- Maqui berries + Baobab: Slow down the aging process, feel energized and relaxed.
Herbs are nature’s gifts to help us deal with stress and overcome obstacles. Try out different adaptogens combinations and handle anything that comes your way!
- Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity
- Stimulating effect of adaptogens: an overview with particular reference to their efficacy following single dose administration
- Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial
- Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males
- Continuous intake of the Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) aqueous extract suppresses cancer progression and maintains body temperature in mice
- Anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of extracts and compounds from the mushroom Inonotus obliquus
- Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Compounds
- Anti-Aging Implications of Astragalus Membranaceus (Huangqi): A Well-Known Chinese Tonic
- Curcumin, inflammation, and chronic diseases: how are they linked?
- The Mechanisms of Action of Curcumin in Alzheimer's Disease
- The Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Southern Kenya–A Study on Status, Distribution, Use and Importance in Taita–Taveta County
- Effect of Lepidium meyenii (MACA) on sexual desire and its absent relationship with serum testosterone levels in adult healthy men