Adaptogens: The Best Way To Manage Stress And Fight Fatigue

chinese herbs
(Photo: iStock)

If you’re looking to balance and restore your body, the answer isn’t at the bottom of a Starbucks cup. Sadly, it’s also not at the bottom of that carton of ice cream you’re digging into – we know, we’ve tried that already.

Sugar and caffeine might be a quick fix, but you’ll soon find they lead to a mid-day crash and burn situation. If chronic stress and fatigue has got you down, consider incorporating adaptogens into your day to day life to increase your capacity to manage these common symptoms.

What They Are
Adaptogens, otherwise known as “nature’s little miracles,” are healing herbs that help your body to adapt to stress and resist fatigue. Although it might sound like a trendy new craze, they’ve actually been used in Chinese and Indian culture for centuries. They get their name from their unique ability to “adapt” their functions according to your body’s specific needs.

Certified Nutrition Health Counselor Sarah Moore says adaptogens are the best thing she does for her clients. "Our bodies are vastly changing and evolving with every stage of life, and our internal wants and needs are varied," Moore
explains. "Using adaptogenic herbs takes the guesswork out of supplements." 

These powerful plants have been known to impart strength, energy, stamina, endurance and improve mental clarity. Adaptogens work by improving the health of your adrenal system, which is the system in charge of managing and balancing your body’s hormonal response to stress. This special group of herbal ingredients enhances your ability to cope with anxiety and fight fatigue throughout your day without the usual jolt or crash you might experience from other methods.

Why We Need Them
Our bodies need adaptogens to normalize any imbalances we might have. With the day to day stressors we all experience from work, kids and everything in between, supporting your adrenal functions and counteracting the adverse effects of stress can greatly benefit your health.

Adaptogens can enable your body’s cells to access more energy the healthy and safe way, as well as help eliminate toxic by products of the metabolic process and help your body utilize oxygen efficiently.

Moore tells us another reason why we need adaptogens is to learn more about our own bodies. "A cool thing about adaptogens is that they teach us about our body. For example, you could take an herb known for energy and not see a boost or spike in energy like someone else does. Therefore, that tells you that you probably weren't energy deficient. Adaptogens will give you a steady flow of what we need without an extreme low or the need for being dependent on it for an up or down."

How To Incorporate Them Into Your Daily Life
The most well known adaptogen is ginseng. Another popular variety is holy basil, which is known as the “elixir of anti-aging.” Ashwagandha, which is an ingredient in Gwyneth Paltrow’s morning smoothie gone viral, is used to help regulate the immune system and ease anxiety. And if you take licorice root, you will increase your energy and endurance. Some types of mushrooms, like the cordycep mushrooms, even have all the nutritional benefits of antioxidant foods.

As with any supplement, consult your physician before taking any new herbs. Adaptogens can be taken individually or in a combination formula, such as Be Well Adaptogens. When purchasing them in a formula, be sure to look for one that has at least three of the above adaptogens on its ingredients list.