What are Adaptogens and Why Should You Take Them?

Stress is an issue that many of us face in modern-day society. Whether it is caused by finances, work, relationships, or the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is for certain – stress has a negative impact on our health. 

Thankfully, there are things that can be done to reduce the amount of stress you feel, and alter how those stressors affect your body, such as taking supplements that contain adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms. Read on to find out more about what adaptogens are and the health benefits they provide!

What Are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are a class of herbs and mushrooms that have a variety of health benefits, including counteracting the effects of stress on the body. They have a history of being used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and can be found in tea, tincture, or supplement form. Adaptogens are also sometimes sold as powders that can be added to food.  

Dr. Israel Brekhman, an internationally renowned research scientist who specialized in adaptogens, determined that plant substances can be classified as adaptogens if they meet the following criteria:

  • The herb helps the body deal with stress. 
  • The herb is non-toxic and, with the correct dosing, causes no negative side effects.
  • Stimulating effects are produced from single and prolonged use of the herb. 
  • Ingesting the herb normalizes the body’s functioning. 

What Do Adaptogens Do?

Adaptogens are capable of helping your body adjust to biological, chemical, and physical stress. It is believed that these herbal pharmaceuticals can stabilize physiological processes and help the body return to a balanced state known as “homeostasis.” 

Other purported health benefits of adaptogens include improved immune function, decreased fatigue, and enhanced mental performance. 

6 Types of Adaptogens and Their Benefits 

There are at least 70 types of herbal plants that are considered to be adaptogens, but some are more well-researched than others. At Revivele, we are well versed in the health and wellness world, and we have experienced the benefits of adaptogens firsthand. Here is a list of some of our favourite adaptogens:

1. Tulsi (Holy Basil)

Tulsi is one of the most revered medicinal herbs in the world, and it is considered by some to be the “Mother Medicine of Nature.” In traditional medicine, tulsi has been used to treat ailments ranging from colds to insect bites. As an adaptogen, it is used to lower metabolic stressors in the body by reducing blood glucose and lipid levels, as well as improving blood pressure. Tulsi can also have an impact on cognition and memory, as well as reducing anxiety.

2. Rhodiola

Rhodiola is a plant that grows in the cold, mountainous parts of Asia and Europe. It is also known as “golden root” and contains more than 140 active ingredients. This adaptogen is used to help reduce symptoms of depression and other mood disorders as well as improve the symptoms of fatigue

3. Ashwagandha 

This evergreen shrub is considered to be one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems that originated in India. For thousands of years, people have used Ashwagandha to improve concentration and memory, boost energy, and relieve stress. It is also believed that Ashwagandha may be beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and certain cancers, though more research is needed to draw any conclusions. 

4. Functional Mushrooms

Functional mushrooms are specific varieties of fungi that have health-boosting properties. Some functional mushrooms, like reishi and cordyceps, are often referred to as adaptogenic mushrooms because of the role they play in the body’s natural adaptation to external stressors. 

The reishi mushroom can boost your immune system and, like most adaptogens, reduce stress and induce a feeling of calmness. The cordyceps mushroom has anti-aging properties and may improve athletic performance

5. Ginseng

For centuries, different varieties of ginseng root have been used to help with a range of medical conditions. This short, slow-growing plant has 11 different varieties in total. Both American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius, L.) and Asian ginseng (P. Ginseng) are believed to help increase energy, lower blood sugar, and promote relaxation. New research also suggests that ginseng may have an impact on people with Alzheimer’s, potentially improving brain function and behavior. 

6. Licorice Root

Licorice root is one of the world’s oldest herbal remedies. It comes from the licorice plant and its primary active compound is glycyrrhizin, which is responsible for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Some purported health benefits of licorice root include alleviating symptoms of heartburn and easing upper respiratory conditions.  

Adaptogens are incredible herbs that have the potential to help improve your health and well-being, hence why they have thousands of years of historical use! If you would like to give adaptogens a try, stay tuned for an announcement about an exciting line of supplements that contain several adaptogens and other essential ingredients that have been carefully chosen to optimize women’s health.