Adaptogenic herbs are becoming more mainstream as more people are turning to natural remedies to help gain better control of their health complaints. This includes stress, and getting chronic stress under control is a key part of living a healthier lifestyle.
Uncontrolled chronic stress is a recipe for inflammation, and inflammation is at the root of nearly all diseases seen today. (1)
Let’s take a closer look at what adaptogens are as well as the top five adaptogenic herbs used for stress.
Adaptogens are a class of herbs that literally help your body cope and adapt to a period of chronic stress you may be going through. They can help promote homeostasis and support your body with exactly what is needs. For example, when certain hormone levels are low, adaptogens can help increase them to where they need to be. If certain hormones levels are too high, adaptogens can help regulate them and bring them back down.
These herbs have been used in both Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and continue to be used today.
Here are five adaptogenic herbs that have been found to be extremely beneficial for the body when dealing with chronic stress.
#1 Ashwagandha: This powerful adaptogen is one of the most well-known as it is commonly taken to help support the body during periods of stress. Not only has Ashwagandha been shown to help with symptoms of stress, but it has also been linked to reduced inflammation and even lower blood pressure. (2) If you are under a period of chronic stress, Ashwagandha may be able to help by also supporting the adrenals and reduce the fatigue that often comes along with stress and anxiety. The easiest way to take this adaptogen is in capsule form, although there are even some companies that offer Ashwagandha in powder form to blend into a smoothie or mix into a cup of tea.
#2 Maca: Maca is another fairly well-known adaptogenic herb that is also deemed as a powerful superfood. This adaptogen is grown in the Andes Mountains, and for many years has been used to boost libido, support fertility, support the adrenals, and boost overall mood. This is an adaptogenic herb that many people actually don’t mind the flavor of, so it is easy to add to your diet in powder form. Maca almost has a mild butterscotch flavor, so it tastes delicious blended into smoothies, added to tea, or even added to homemade raw energy bites with dates, nuts, and seeds. However, if you find it easier to take maca as part of your supplement routine, you can also find this adaptogen in capsule form.
#3 Cordyceps: Cordyceps, a medicinal mushroom that has long been used to help boost the immune system. Although it’s a mushroom, Cordyceps hold adaptogenic properties like supporting the body during periods of stress as well as boosting endurance and strength. (3) This is a common adaptogen used by athletes to help reduce lower inflammation and stress on the body caused by intense exercise. Cordyceps are also great for combatting fatigue, so if you are under a large amount of stress and just feeling rundown, cordyceps may be able to help give your body a boost.
#4 Ginseng: Ginseng is one of the most popular and expensive herbs, but it is so worth the price tag. Ginseng is most commonly used to support the body when under stress as well as promote energy. However, it also acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory adaptogen which is super important for overall health. This herb is thought to help the body respond to stress by regulating the HPA axis which can also help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. (4)
#5 Holy Basil: Holy basil, other known as Tulsi is a wonderful adaptogen for calming the mind and restoring balance when under stress or dealing with anxiety. This adaptogen has been found to help the body cope with various types of stress including physical, mental, as well as stress put on the body due to infection. (5) You can take holy basil in supplement form, or sip on a mug of holy basil tea to bring some calm into your day.
Adaptogenic herbs are generally well-tolerated, but it’s important to always discuss adding new supplements to your supplement routine with your doctor.
Once you get the green light to start taking adaptogenic herbs, see which ones make you feel your best! The power of plant-based and herbal medicine is pretty amazing, and you may be surprised at just how powerful adaptogenic herbs are when it comes to supporting the body during stressful periods where you need a little boost to combat fatigue and get back to feeling like yourself again.
Rebecca Jacobs N.C is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, specializing in digestive and women’s health. She doesn’t believe in dieting but rather making lifestyle changes, and believes that healthy eating must be delicious. Rebecca is also a recipe developer and creates healthier alternatives to traditionally unhealthy foods.