What Are Adaptogens?

Hey! There’s a better way to cope with the physical and emotional stressors that come from the increasing demands of everyday life. And what is that, you might ask? ADAPTOGENS!

I'm fascinated with adaptogens and often wonder why everybody doesn't know about these powerful, amazing herbs! Here are some of my favorite adaptogens with an easy-to-understand overview.

What Are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are naturally occurring substances derived from plants, roots, and fungi and must meet strict requirements to proudly wear the badge of “adaptogen.” Adaptogenic herbs grow in some of the most inhospitable areas of the planet which likely gives them their ability to support normal, healthy stress levels.

  • Adaptogens are non-toxic, non-habit forming, and safe in normal therapeutic doses.
  • They produce a nonspecific biological response that promotes the body’s ability to resist physical, emotional, or environmental stress.
  • Adaptogens have a normalizing influence, meaning whatever direction the stressors are throwing the body out of balance, adaptogens help to bring the system back into balance.

Adaptogens have so many different health benefits, depending on the specific adaptogen, but they all have one thing in common....their ability to support the human body’s ability to cope with physical and psychological stressors.

Adaptogens and Stress

Adaptogens work somewhat like a thermostat. When the thermostat senses the room temperature is too high, it brings it down; when the temperature is too low, it brings it up. Adaptogens can either calm you down or promote healthy, normal energy levels at the same time without overstimulating. How are these plants so smart?!

Adaptogens work to modify the body’s reaction to stress and alter the release of stress hormones in the body, particularly from the adrenal glands. They do this by affecting the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis).

Stressor occurs >>> Hypothalamus >>> Pituitary gland >>> Adrenal cortex >>> Stress response

When we experience a stressor, whether physical or mental, our body goes through what’s called General Adaptation Syndrome, which is a three-stage response: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Adaptogens help us stay in the resistance phase longer, via a stimulating effect that holds off the exhaustion. Instead of crashing in the midst of a stressful moment, task, or event, we attain equilibrium and soldier on.


Ashwagandha is native to Africa, India, and the Mediterranean region, and is the most highly prized adaptogen used in India’s old tradition of Ayurvedic Medicine.

  • Promotes a calming effect and relaxation
  • Helps manage the stress hormone cortisol
  • Supports and assists the immune system
  • Protects brain cells and supports memory
  • Enhances endocrine function, especially in the thyroid and adrenal glands
  • Supports normal inflammation and is used for arthritic conditions
TRY: Live Superfoods Ashwagandha Powder


Known in China as “the mushroom of immortality,” reishi has been used for thousands of years in East Asia as a life-changing herbal medicine.
  • Enhances liver function
  • Keep cholesterol in check
  • Supports normal blood pressure levels
  • Helps maintain a normal inflammatory response
  • Build stamina
  • Support the immune system

TRY: Dragon Herbs Duanwood Reishi  


American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is an herb said to offer numerous health benefits.

  • Helps the body’s ability to handle stress
  • Enhances mental function
  • Promotes a sense of well-being
  • Supports healthy blood sugar levels
  • Promotes cellular health

TRY: Dragon Herbs Ginseng Sublime


Rhodiola Rosea, a flowering herb native to cold, rocky regions of the planet like the Arctic, has a long history of use in herbal medicine for health issues, especially related to stress.  

  • Promotes a calming effect and relaxation
  • Helps manage the stress hormone, cortisol
  • Promotes a sense of relaxation and mental alertness without drowsiness
  • Aids in cellular energy metabolism and brain function


Schisandra, pronounced shiz’-an-dra, holds a top spot in traditional Chinese medicine because of its superior benefits. In fact, it has been used for over 2,000 years!

  • Supports memory recall, focus, and concentration
  • Supports normal liver detoxification processes
  • Helps maintain the normal moisture content of the skin and overall skin health
  • Enhances athletic performance via tolerance, stamina, and endurance
  • Supports normal recovery time after strenuous exercise

TRY: Healthy Goods Stress-Adapt Day contains Schisandra berry and other stress-supporting adaptogens.

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