Weekend Wellness | All About Adaptogens

Superfoods? Superherbs? Supershrooms?! What?

Lately, I’ve noticed the term adaptogens on wellness products, so I thought it would be great to learn more about them and why they’re important to add to your routine. Adaptogens are naturally occurring, non-toxic plants that can help protect your body from mental, physical and emotional stress. An adaptogen will adapt its healing properties to whatever your body needs at a given time, which is so helpful for all the stress we’re under.

What Are Adaptogens?

The idea of adaptogens may seem new because it feels like a buzzword in the beauty/wellness world, but they’ve been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Adaptogens are plants that adapt to grow in very stressful conditions like extreme cold and heat, which is what makes them so powerful. In the same way, adaptogens can help your body to adapt to outside stress.

Adaptogens work with your body to regulate your adrenal system and cortisol levels, which helps your body respond to stress, fight fatigue, improve focus, boost energy and reduce anxiety.

Basically, adaptogens help increase your body’s resistance to stress by acting as a stress regulator. Ongoing stress is really detrimental to your health (can we talk about my kitchen reno stress levels?!), but adaptogens can help keep your cortisol levels in balance.

The Benefits of Adaptogens

  • Completely safe to consume with no side effects
  • Non-habit forming
  • Work to normalize body function and bring your body into balance
  • Increase the body’s ability to cope with internal and external stresses

Most Popular Adaptogens

  • Ashwagandha
    • Ashwagandha is one of the most popular herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine and now I feel like it’s everywhere. It’s the “chill” we all need: it may harmonize mind, body, and spirit by calming, taming anxiety, and restore centeredness.
  • Rhodiola Rosea
    • Rhodiola is known as the “brain root,” has been used in Chinese herbal medicine to replenish energy and give you that little extra “kick” to wake you up.
  • Reishi Mushroom
    • This supershroom is often called the “King of Herbal Medicines” for its immune system boosting power and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Chaga Mushroom
    • This antioxidant-rich mushroom is said to support cellular health, aid in digestion, and may reduce blood sugar levels.
  • Holy Basil (Tulsi)
    • Also known as the “Elixir of Life,” this calming herb may uplift mood, support digestion, promote balanced energy, and makes your skin beautiful too.
  • Maca
    • Maca root is used medicinally to improve libido, fertility, and symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
  • Panax Ginseng
    • Perhaps the most well-known adaptogen, ginseng is said to improve focus and general well-being.
  • Eleuthero
    • This rejuvenating root is known for restoring and reenergizing your insides. Yes, please.
  • Astragalus
    • Astragalus is the fatigue-fighting root and is said to protect the immune system.
  • Licorice
    • This is not that gross licorice candy. This root may help balance your stress releasing hormones by supporting your adrenal system, and it can also provide relief from sores and wounds.

Easy Ways to Add Adaptogens to Your Routine

Adaptogens come in lots of different forms, including pills that resemble vitamins; tinctures; powders to put into coffee or other beverages; and tea.

Just remember that adaptogens, like superfoods, aren’t the “magic cure” or “the thing” that will to make you healthy or feel instantly better. Adaptogens don’t treat specific conditions. Instead, they help to boost overall well-being. Getting healthy starts with simple habits like eating more whole foods and moving more. Also, different people react differently to adaptogens based on your own body chemistry. Please talk to your doctor before adding supplements.

Have you used adaptogens in your wellness routine? Which adaptogen is your favorite? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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