Adaptogens are plants that grow in challenging environments and respond to stress by increasing their resistance and, consequently, their longevity. In herbal medicine, adaptogens are believed to balance human stress responses and can positively influence hormone levels and well-being.
We all know how draining work or school can be - especially when you're at the beginning of your career or studying full-time. A hectic schedule leaves little space for rest and recovery, throwing our bodies out of balance and making us more prone to illness.
Luckily, plenty of adaptogenic herbs help us battle these everyday struggles. Discover more about the top adaptogens for energy by reading on!
What is an adaptogen, and how does it work?
The term 'adaptogen' was coined by the Russian scientist Dr. Nikolai Koulakov in the 1950s. An adaptogen is a substance that can help the body cope with stress and regulate the body's normal physiological functions.
The effects of adaptogens are often described as non-specific, meaning they don't target specific areas of the body with their impact. Instead, they're believed to normalize bodily functions, promote general wellness and positively affect how our bodies cope with everyday stressors.
A key aspect of adaptogens is their ability to bring the body back to a balanced state after an extreme stressor or an ongoing, minor stressor (such as daily work-related stress).
Where can you find Adaptogens?
Most adaptogens are a part of Asian folk medicine and are traditionally used in teas, infusions, and powders. As herbalism has grown in popularity in the west, more and more adaptogenic herbs have made their way into our kitchens.
Most adaptogens increase in harsh environments, like the high mountains in Asia, so they can be difficult to source. The good news is that many growers and herbalists have started cultivating adaptogens to make access to these robust plants more convenient.
Cordyceps, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Ginseng, and Kudzu, are all commonly available adaptogens. There are also many lesser-known adaptogenic herbs that you can include in your diet to promote well-being well-being well-being well-being.
Cordyceps is a fungus that grows on certain wild insects' larvae. Traditionally, it was believed to increase stamina and help the lungs and kidneys, but modern research has shown that it can have a much more comprehensive range of health benefits.
Cordyceps has been shown to reduce fatigue by increasing oxygen availability in the blood. It works by inhibiting an enzyme called ATPase, which transports energy within the cells to produce ATP, the body's energy source.
Typically, you can only find Cordyceps as a supplement. It's tough to find in its natural form as it's grown on caterpillar larvae in the wild.
Ashwagandha is referred to as 'the Indian Ginseng.' It has a rich history in Ayurvedic medicine and has been used for its anti-inflammatory, anti-toxic, and anti-stress properties.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen that supports the endocrine system. It's believed to increase energy, endurance, and libido. Ashwagandha is considered to lower cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone.
It also decreases the stories of other stress hormones like adrenaline, which can lead to long-term exhaustion if left unchecked. Ashwagandha is best consumed in powder form or as a part of tea. It's also possible to find Ashwagandha capsules.
Rhodiola Rosea is often called the 'golden root. Traditionally, it's been used to improve mood and mental abilities, but it can also promote energy and reduce feelings of fatigue.
Rhodiola Rosea is believed to reduce stress by regulating the HPA axis. The HPA axis is a system of hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, that governs our stress response. Rhodiola Rosea is best consumed as a supplement, as the root must be dried to increase its potency.
Ginseng is one of the most commonly known adaptogens. It's a root that promotes energy and stress resistance by stimulating the central nervous system. Ginseng is also believed to increase stamina and endurance.
Ginseng is believed to lower cortisol levels and promote the secretion of growth hormone, which is responsible for repairing cells and tissues in the body. Ginseng is also available as a supplement in capsules or tea.
Kudzu is a vine that grows in the southern United States. It's traditionally used to treat anxiety disorders and lower blood sugar but can also promote energy and improve sleep.
Kudzu is believed to boost power by inhibiting the breakdown of catecholamines. The adrenal glands generate catecholamines, hormones controlling energy and stress. Kudzu is best consumed in powder or tea form.
Coffee - Good or bad?
Let's talk about the actual energy source. Coffee is trendy and has a long history of being used as an energy source. Coffee is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to boost energy levels, but it also has caffeine, a known stimulant that can temporarily increase power.
Caffeine and other stimulants can help you get through a long day, but they're less effective in regulating energy levels throughout the day. Caffeine also dehydrates the body and can lead to headaches and a general feeling of malaise.
All in all, adaptogens are a great way to promote general health and well-being. They can help you cope with stress and recover from extreme stressors like illness or injury. They can also help you normalize your energy levels throughout the day, so you can tackle your daily tasks without feeling mentally or physically exhausted.
If you're tired or worn out, try these herbs and consider incorporating them into your diet. They help you feel more energized and ready to take on whatever challenges you face.