Adaptogens: Everything You Need to Know About These Stress-Reducing Superfoods
The Low-Down On Adaptogens
We've told you that our Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, but what exactly does that term mean? More importantly, what significance does this have to you and your health? Luckily, we've got answers for you.
As well-known medicine hunter, author, and educator Chris Kilham puts it,
"An adaptogen is a botanical that greatly improves your body's ability to adapt to stress, whether it's a hectic schedule, heart or cold, noise, high altitudes, or any other number of stressors. This elite class of herbs impart strength, energy, stamina, endurance, and improve mental clarity."
In order for an herb to be deemed an adaptogen, it has to meet two specific standards: First, it must be proven safe and completely non-toxic. Second, it must have a broad use in the world of health and medicine; specifically in the management and reduction of anxiety and both physical and mental stress.
Because they boost energy levels and lower stress-triggered anxiety, Adaptogens such as Ashwagandha have been used for centuries in Indian and Chinese Ayurvedic medicine by people whose occupations are high-risk or require fast reflexes.
Stress and anxiety can stem from a hormonal imbalance called adrenal insufficiency. This imbalance may occur due to significantly high stress levels, environmental toxins and pollution, poor diet, lack of sleep, constantly fighting exhaustion, over-exercising, or not exercising enough. Besides feelings of stress and anxiety, adrenal insufficiency may cause chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, headaches, low blood sugar, low libido, mood changes, irritability, digestive issues, appetite changes, and irregular periods in women.
The adrenal system manages the body's hormonal response to both physical and mental stress. When your body senses stress, it releases hormones such as cortisol and aldosterone. Adrenal insufficiency occurs when the adrenal glands do not produce a sufficient amount of these hormones. Adaptogens work to balance this out by improving the health and efficiency of the adrenal system. They also work to help fight fatigue, increase metabolism, enhance immunity, provide better sleep, normalize body imbalances, help cells eliminate toxic waste, and help our bodies to better utilize oxygen.
Adaptogens received their name simply because they work in a way that is unique to each person's body - they "adapt" their function to suite your body's specific needs. This is important because not all stress levels are the same. We all have different factors in our lives which cause us to undergo stress and anxiety - some worse than others. What's even more important is that adaptogens work at a steady pace, so you will never experience uncomfortable jolts or crashes upon taking them. They have also been proven safe for long-term use, as they are not addictive.
Besides Ashwagandha, some other well-known adaptogens include:
- Asian Ginseng
- Rhodiola Rosea
What stresses you out? When do you seem to have the highest levels of anxiety? Adaptogens like Ashwagandha can help you get the relief you need, no matter the answer.