Stress being a major part of our lives today, from long hours at work, traffic, financial worries, and health issues, it is imperative to make sure we get enough adaptogens into your diet. While we may not be able to avoid stress entirely, the key to minimizing its impact on your health is to learn how to manage and relieve your stress naturally. That’s why more and more people are turning to adaptogens for stress relief and adrenal balance.
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that provide stress-relief in the most natural way, whether physical, chemical or biological. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions. Some, like holy basil, can be eaten as part of a meal, and some are consumed as supplements or brewed into teas.
Benefits of adaptogens
Adaptogens’ normalizing influence involves bringing balance to the body’s inbuilt system called the HPA-Axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal), which is our natural system responsible for producing hormones in response to stress. By supporting adrenal functions, adaptogens help counteract the negative effects of stress and help to bring the body back to balance. Benefits of taking adaptogens may include, amongst others:
- Normalizing body balance and the production of hormones
- Normalizing reproductive hormones
- Supporting immune system
- Improving mood, mental and athletic performance
- Enhancing energy
- Enhancing cognitive functions
- Providing greater capacity for liver detoxification
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Less fatigue and infections
- Increased alertness
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ones.
This herb is not only a powerful antioxidant and also contributes relief to stress. The roots of the herb, when ground and ingested, can improve mental wellbeing, while also stimulating the senses and inducing sound sleep at night. If you’re pregnant though, consult your doctor before using ashwagandha.
Chronic stress contributes to inflammation and can trigger many illnesses due to an imbalanced immune response and hormone dysfunction. Ginseng is superior in its ability to significantly reduce chronic stress effectively decreasing depression, anxiety.
Studies have demonstrated the potential of ginseng to prevent and reverse a number of inflammatory conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. Ginseng also has neuroprotective effects, which can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. It even has the power to prevent autoimmune disease by suppressing proinflammatory cytokines generated by chronic stress. (1)
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3. Tulsi (holy basil)
Tulsi is one of the most popular herbs for physical wellbeing. It stabilizes blood sugar, improves digestive health and is great for building immunity against colds and coughs. It also has mental benefits. If you are prone to anxiety, just munch on a few fresh tulsi leaves each day, for a calming effect.
(Also read –> Holy Basil Tea and It’s Amazing Health Benefits)
Indian gooseberry or amla, which is cost-effective and easily accessible, has been used in Indian medicine for decades. Amla is one of the most vitamin C rich fruits, boosting immunity and health. It is also known to enhance cognitive function and is prescribed to remedy any imbalances in the brain.
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This adaptogen helps the body maintain healthy levels of body weight, blood glucose, cholesterol, corticosterone, memory, and reduced glutathione during the acute and chronic experience of stressors. Turmeric’s adaptogenic actions are based on the ability of turmeric to support the body’s innate antioxidant function while helping the body to maintain healthy levels of corticosterone. (2)
Bacopa monnieri or brahmi has been used by Ayurvedic medical practitioners for centuries for a variety of purposes, including improving memory, reducing anxiety, and treating epilepsy. In fact, research shows that it may boost brain function and is believed to sharpen the brain by protecting cells and increasing chemicals associated with learning and memory. It’s used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and ADHD, along with fighting stress and improving memory. (3)