Adaptogens are a category of herbal medicinal and nutritional products promoting adaptability, resilience and survival of living organisms in times of stress.
A study conducted by leading herbal researchers set out to explore the influence of certain herbal adaptogens to determine their effect upon stress and age-related diseases. Some of the herbs studied were quite novel in their overall influence on the areas of study due to synergistic interactions in organisms not obtainable by any single ingredient independently.
So far, we have jumped aboard a train of science where to the uninitiated the topic can get lost in the clouds. Let’s then try and make a little more sense of this fascinating area of study to shed light on what herbs with adaptogenic properties can provide to the human body.
The background to adaptogens goes back some distance to the 1950’s. A Soviet toxicologist who explored the use of certain stimulants with adaptogenic properties experimented with organisms to see if his hypothesis of using these compounds would support increased endurance, stamina and overall performance during times of stress. The underlying objective of doing these experiments was possibly to apply the compound as a means of increasing the endurance of pilots during WW2.
Perhaps not the best example of why adaptogens represent a wonderful area of study; however, the research did uncover highly valuable data on the herbs.
When we can adapt to stress, we perform better and feel better despite what’s stressing us out. And with that, we can also improve our health and well-being. When you’re stressed, your adrenal gland releases the stress hormone cortisol, which then energizes you to tackle an emergency. But too much too often is usually bad for our bodies.
“Cortisol is often the culprit for weight gain, especially around the belly area,” “When you reduce stress with adaptogens, you reduce stress hormones and hence their effect on weight gain.”
Adaptogens have the potential to help indirectly with other health issues, like pain, digestive concerns, insomnia, and more. “Stress sets off a cascade of physical responses that affect immune function, our hormones, our cognitive function system, and our internal clock, called our circadian rhythm,”. “If these stressors persist, this leads to chronic illness.”
You’ve read this far and would like to know what common herbs are in the adaptogen family
• Liquorice Root
Remember that adaptogens aren’t a cure-all or a substitute
Don’t rely on adaptogens for logging pillow time or taking good care of yourself. Use them to cope with intense periods — like holidays, finals, and taxes — and to stay gently energized long term
As with any drug or supplement, adaptogens do have side effects, interactions, and contraindications. So do your research, especially regarding any current health conditions. It’s also recommended you speak to your healthcare provider before beginning a herbal regiment.