Adaptogens Can Help You Fight Stress Naturally
The human body is naturally wired for a “fight or flight” response. This natural stress response is an ancient survival mechanism. When it comes to stressful challenges, whether it's a leaping leopard or just annoying traffic, our bodies prime for fight or flight.
Sometimes our self-preserving fight or flight instinct is helpful. But in a busy world of small hassles, the body may be continually reacting as if under threat. The spikes of stress hormones can start to be exhausting and impact your health and mood. In fact, ongoing stress can end up affecting all systems of the body. Stress can even impact our gut bacteria and the absorption of nutrients! It has been estimated that 60–80% of visits to the doctor may be stress-related in some way.
To be considered a true adaptogen, an herb must meet three criteria. It must be considered non-toxic at normal doses. It should support the whole body's ability to respond to stress. And it should have a re-balancing effect, helping the body return to equilibrium. Let's dig into that a bit more.
As the name implies, adaptogens help our bodies adapt and bounce back from various states, like being stressed or being tired. Research shows that adaptogens work through your HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) to stabilize and regulate production of stress hormones, such as those fight-or-flight spikes of cortisol. This helps your body find a place of balance. If you are fatigued, an adaptogen can help support your energy levels. If you are feeling stressed, it can help you wind down. Adding high-quality adaptogens to your daily regimen, then, can help your body adjust to the effects of stress.
Adaptogenic Herbs List (Options For A Customized Latte Recipe)
Adaptogens are commonly thought of as helping us adapt to and maintain a higher level of stress. Traditionally, to qualify as an adaptogen, a plant must:
- Reduce stress induced damage
- Exhibit stimulating effects and increase performance in states of fatigue and generalized stress without subsequent withdrawal syndrome
- Have a normalising effect on function without disturbing bodily processes
The following adaptogens list includes some of our favorite herbs and mushrooms. These nutritional powerhouses are amazingly adaptogenic, meaning they can help you resist the effects of occasional stress and help restore well-being in your body.
- Adaptogenic Mushrooms (Reishi, Lion's mane, Chaga, Cordyceps, Turkey tail, Maitake, Tremella, Meshima, Poria cocos...)
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
- Ginseng Root (Panax ginseng)
- Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng)
- Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
- Schisandra berry (Schisandra chinensis)
- Astragalus (Astragalus Mongholicus)
- Maca (Lepidium meyenii)