Are you taking your vitamins, eating your greens, going to bed early, keeping hydrated yet still feeling sluggish, suffering from bouts of insomnia or struggling with skin breakouts?
Then it is time to turn to Mother Nature to utilize one of the most powerful super herbs and mushrooms in her arsenal to bring your body back in balance: adaptogens.
Adaptogens have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, however, it was introduced to the West during the Second World War, when the Russians were seeking treatment for fatigue experienced by their pilots.
Adaptogens are super herbs that work hard to regulate a harmonious environment within the body. As the name suggests, adaptogens help the body adapt, adjust and recalibrate itself depending on our emotional and physical state. They bring clarity when experiencing brain fog, peace in times of anxiety, a boost of energy when feeling lethargic, and quality sleep for bouts of insomnia, for example.
When the body is in a state of stress, the hormone cortisol is released from the adrenal glands, throwing the body out of its optimum homeostatic environment. As biological response modifiers, adaptogens hack the body’s immune function and help the body adapt to different stressors.
Adaptogens have the capacity to increase energy, optimise organ function, improve blood sugar levels, reduce cortisol levels, improve skin tone, lower cholesterol and regulate hormonal levels.
Not sure which one to take? If you are new to adaptogens, then It's recommended you start by taking the most widely researched ones:
Ashwagandha is Sanskrit for “smell of the horse,” which refers to both the herb’s scent and its potential ability to increase strength. Ashwagandha has been called the king of Ayurvedic herbs due to its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. It may also enhance strength performance and improve glucose metabolism and improves sexual function in women, although this is not to be taken by women with elevated levels of testosterone.
Another popular, widely used adaptogen is the reishi mushroom. The reishi mushroom has been used as an immune system enhancer in Asian cultures for years and is currently being researched for its potential role in shrinking tumours, which scientists are mystified by. It has also been said that the mushrooms may have antihistamine effects and can improve the body’s oxygen supply, which is key to those suffering from chronic and allergic asthma.
Not just for golden lattes and seasoning your curries, turmeric is renowned for its ability to calm and soothe. Turmeric has high levels of a chemical called curcumin, which has been proven to be a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredient. Curcumin boosts levels of the brain hormone, BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and may help fight against degenerative brain diseases.