Adaptogens – Nature’s Antidote to Modern Life
Adaptogens – nature’s antidote to modern life
Adaptogens have been a hot topic on the wellness scene in recent years. Despite being used in ancient medicine for centuries, scientists have only recently formed iron clad links between these handy herbs and lower stress levels – thank you Mother Nature.
Quite simply a selection of herbs and mushrooms, adaptogens make it easier for our body to cope with stress. The clue is in the name, as these potent plants adapt their function to suit our body’s demands.
Adaptogens maintain a stable balance between the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands, which get heavily involved where stress is concerned. This can have a hugely damaging impact on our bodies over time. In fact a 2018 study of over one million people, found that stress incurred a 36% higher chance of developing 41 autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn's and celiac disease.
By hacking our stress responses, adaptogens allow us to make the most of hormones like adrenaline (imagine a particularly heavy deadlifting session), elongating the time when we feel most powerful and reducing fatigue afterwards. They also lessen depression, tiredness, stimulate the central nervous system and have protective neurological properties.
Ashwagandha: Calms the mind, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation and is the only adaptogen which is proven to improve thyroid function.
Ginseng: Proven to prevent and reverse inflammatory conditions, ginseng had to make it onto the list. Aside from its ability to fight heart disease, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis, this hearty herb can prevent auto-immune disease by suppressing proinflammatory proteins – the destructive molecules brought on by stress.
Rhodiola: When stressed, we’re plagued with cortisol (the primary stress hormone) which can have a devastating effect on our body. Fortunately, Rhodiola reduces the secretion of cortisol and enhances energy and concentration in people suffering from adrenal fatigue.