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).
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.