Adaptogens are just one of the many herbal remedies commonly used to support the health or regulation of the body. But what exactly are adaptogens? Let’s dive into all things adaptogens, including their active ingredients, how they work, and what they’re commonly used for.
What Are Adaptogens?
Simply put, adaptogens are used in Ayurvedic medicine practices and are non-toxic plants that may support the body’s resistance against certain stressors, whether they be physical, chemical or biological.1Adaptogens can be found in a variety of herbs (more on that later), but their primary function is to help your body “adapt” to its current environment, hence the name.2 For instance, aloe vera is considered an adaptogen because it helps your body adapt to stressors it may be experiencing in a particular environment, like sunburns.
This kind of herbal medicine has been around for hundreds of years and has roots (no pun intended) in Ayurveda healing, which originated in India with the intention of support a person’s whole being, including mind, body, and spirit.3
This means that adaptogens can provide a wide variety of health benefits including supporting energy, mood, metabolism, focus, and then some. While some adaptogens are crushed or ground to be mixed into food or drinks, some (referred to as “adaptogenic herbs”) take a different form.4
Some Adaptogens And What They’re Commonly Used For
It’s worth mentioning that not all adaptogens are created equal. Each one has a different effect on the body depending on what kind of results you’re seeking.5
Here’s a comprehensive list of the various adaptogens that can be found in nature and what they’re used for, according to clinical research and scientific evidence:6
- American ginseng: This adaptogen is said to support feelings of calmness and immune health.7
- Ashwagandha: Support healthy stress levels, thus supporting the health of your central nervous system, adrenal gland, and more.8
- Astragalus: Supports your body in its combat against fatigue.9
- Cordyceps: Supports stamina.10
- Goji berry: You’ve likely heard of this adaptogen before. In addition to supporting energy, goji berries are known to aid in focus, sense of well-being, and sleep quality.11
- Eleuthero root: Supports focus.12
- Jiaogulan: Supports healthy stress levels.13
- Licorice root: Another adaptogen known to support stress levels.14
- Rhodiola rosea: Support mental clarity.15>
- Turmeric: Support mental clarity and a positive mood.16
Are Adaptogens Right For You?
As with any kind of medicine or herbal remedy, that all depends on your body and its needs. A surefire way to find out if an adaptogen is right for you is to consult with a healthcare professional.
However, there are also several cosmetic, beverage, and dental products that contain adaptogens (like holy basil) that allow you to sample the adaptogen and incorporate it into your daily routine to see if it’s right for you.17
Additionally, listening to your body when it’s stressed can make a world of difference in the realm of adaptogens.
How Can You Take Adaptogens?
As previously mentioned, adaptogens can be taken via supplement form; however, there are plenty of ways that one can incorporate their chosen adaptogen. For instance, in addition to herbal supplements, adaptogens can be found in teas, soups, powders for smoothies, cosmetic products, and more.18
All Things Adaptogens
It’s important to understand that adaptogens aren’t a cure-all, nor should they be used as a substitute for some medicines or prescription drugs. Rather, adaptogens should be utilized during the more stressful times in your life (like when you’re on deadline at work, during stressful holidays, etc.) so that they can help balance your body and the external stressors that affect you. They should also be used with a doctor’s approval.
Adaptogens are all about supporting a more balanced state of well-being. Understanding what your body needs is crucial when it comes to choosing the herbs that are best for you. However, once you’ve found what you need, you’ll likely notice their potentially therapeutic effects over time.