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10 Best Adaptogenic Herbs to Add to Your Routine

If you’re looking to ditch quick energy fixes for natural remedies that support your energy and overall health, you may find the help you need in adaptogens. 

For thousands of years, adaptogens have been used to treat a range of ailments in the practice of Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Today, scientific evidence is mounting in support of what has been well-understood in Eastern cultures for a long time: adaptogens can provide natural support that can promote balance, ease stress, and cultivate better health.

 

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are a class of non-toxic herbs and mushrooms that help our bodies to regulate and manage stress. Adaptogen supplements can be incorporated into our daily wellness routines to mitigate the harmful impacts of everyday stressors on our lives.

Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine, adaptogens have long been used to treat ailments and disease. Traditionally, these herbs are believed to prevent or reverse disease, replenish the body, and promote balance by normalizing our bodily functions and helping our internal systems to maintain homeostasis.

Today, adaptogenic herbs are becoming a staple in the practice of holistic and natural medicine, and there is a growing body of scientific research that backs the efficacy of these herbs in regulating the body’s natural response to environmental and physical stressors.

 

How Do Adaptogens Work?

Adaptogens are a class of non-toxic herbs and mushrooms that help our bodies to regulate and manage stress. Adaptogen supplements can be incorporated into our daily wellness routines to mitigate the harmful impacts of everyday stressors on our lives.

These systems help humans to protect themselves from immediate danger. When we are frightened or stressed, our adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenaline, which support our fight-or-flight functions.

In emergent situations, cortisol heightens levels of blood sugar in our bodies, controls our use of fat to burn energy, and curbs non-essential functions in a fight or flight scenario. Adrenalin boosts our heart rate, increases energy supplies, and elevates blood pressure - all essential functions to help us respond to threats.

Unfortunately for us, everyday stressors (like an upsetting news report, stressful workday, or an argument with a family member) can continuously trigger these bodily responses, throwing our bodies into chronic overdrive.

Because of this, humans are now commonly experiencing low to high levels of stress at all times, meaning that our cortisol levels are continuously above a “balanced” level.

This can lead to chronic issues such as:

  •     - Weight gain
  •     - Diabetes
  •     - Digestive issues
  •     - Headaches
  •     - Trouble sleeping
  •     - Memory and concentration problems
  •     - High blood pressure
  •     - Muscle tension
  •     - Anxiety
  •     - Depression
  •     - …And many others.

Because they contain chemicals that support our adrenal glands, adaptogenic herbs are known to help calm and nourish these glands, helping to counteract the effects of chronic stress.

Collectively, adaptogenic herbs are able to help balance blood sugar, restore immune system function, reduce blood sugar, and much more. While all adaptogenic herbs are believed to help mitigate the negative effects of chronic stress, each adaptogen has its own host of benefits and superpowers to help our bodies regulate and function at their best.

A lot of information is out there regarding adaptogens and why they are so beneficial to your health, but it’s difficult to know where to begin if you are hoping to add adaptogenic herbs to your routine.

At The Hao Life, we have researched and compiled a list of our top ten adaptogens to help you get started on your journey. But FYI - we think they’re all pretty special.

 

The 10 Best Adaptogenic Herbs to Add to Your Routine

 

Ginseng

Ginseng is one of the better-known, and most highly prized, adaptogens available for use and consumption today. It’s easy to tell why - ginseng has high concentrations of active compounds that help to support our everyday health.

Ginseng has a variety of uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is believed to balance Qi, or energy, to fuel the body and counter weariness.

Benefits of ginseng include increased physical performance, memory enhancement, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions, and ginseng may help to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers.

 

Ashwagandha

Often referred to as Indian Ginseng, Ashwagandha is growing in popularity for its ability to moderate feelings of stress and anxiety.

Studies additionally support the ability of ashwagandha to help protect the body against oxidative stress, promote energy, enhance memory, and reduce inflammation.

Ashwagandha is a nightshade plant, and while most adaptogens are stimulating, ashwagandha has a calming, soothing effect on the body. This herb soothes anxiety and helps to promote rest.

For those looking for a way to promote natural calmness while enjoying the anti-inflammatory effects of adaptogens, ashwagandha is a great supplement to add to your routine.

 

Holy Basil

Holy Basil has long been used in natural medicine. Studies of holy basil adaptogens show that it can help improve energy and relieve fatigue, protect the liver, lower cholesterol, fight infection,reduce blood sugar, and even assist in providing relief from mild depression.

The multifaceted benefits of holy basil derive from active compounds that are shown to lower stress parameters and levels of stress hormones in the body.

 

Shatavari

Shatavari, also known as Asparagus Racemosus, is believed to help promote sleep, regulate hormones, and balance our emotions. This adaptogenic herb can promote insulin secretion, reduce gastric acidity, lower cholesterol, and has an antioxidant effect on the body.

A 2009 study on shatavari showed this adaptogen to have an antidepressant effect on rats, which indicates that this herb may help fight underlying causes of depression.

Shatavari may also have anti-aging benefits: this herb was shown to reduce collagen breakdown, which is the protein that helps promote the skin’s elasticity.

 

Eleuthero

Eleuthero, sometimes referred to as Siberian Ginseng, is among one of the most well-researched adaptogenic herbs today. This adaptogen has been shown to help increase mental performance, improve concentration, and help increase energy and stamina.
Eleuthero supplements have also been shown to promote immunity and detoxification, reduce stress and fatigue, and have anabolic effects that can help to prevent muscle breakdown and build muscle.

 

Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms are powerful adaptogens that nourish Heart Qi, or energy, to support sleep and strengthen Lung Qi, aiding the respiratory system and overall longevity.*

Benefits of reishi mushrooms include improved sleep, immunity support, reduced anxiety and depression. Reishi mushrooms additionally contain antioxidants, which help the body to fight free radicals and prevent cellular damage.

 

Turmeric

Turmeric, a common cooking spice in Indian foods, has gained popularity and recognition for its anti-inflammatory benefits and medicinal properties.

Turmeric may also be able to help lower the risk of heart disease, prevent cancer, and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

The main active compound in turmeric is curcumin, a strong antioxidant known to combat inflammation. This compound has low bioavailability, meaning that it is not easily absorbed into the bloodstream. To improve absorption, turmeric supplements often contain black pepper, which can help to enhance absorption.

 

Cordycep Mushrooms

The benefits of Cordyceps Mushrooms derive from a complex makeup of nutrients that support  immunity, energy, and resilience. 

Cordyceps contain a bioactive compound called cordycepin; this compound has been found to have tumor-fighting mechanisms, antioxidant properties, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Cordyceps may help to increase oxygen uptake in the body, support athletic endurance and recovery, and reduce inflammation, among other benefits.

 

Schisandra Berry

The Schisandra Berry is an adaptogen native to northern China, and has traditionally been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat stomach disorders, liver conditions, and to fight fatigue.

The Schisandra Berry is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to improve liver function and can help manage gastrointestinal issues.

 

Licorice Root

Chinese Licorice Root has long been used in ancient cultures to help support digestion, improve gut health, and ease gastrointestinal discomfort.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s a digestive essential used to protect, strengthen, and ease discomfort by boosting the Qi, or energy, in the Spleen.

Glycyrrhizin is the primary active compound in licorice root, which has been shown to help reduce body fat, aid in healing stomach ulcers, and fight infections in the body.

 

How to Take Adaptogenic Herbs

The many benefits of adaptogenic herbs make them a great addition to any wellness routine. By helping our internal systems maintain homeostasis and reducing the impacts of chronic stress, adaptogens are a natural, non-toxic way to help keep balanced and to support immunity.

Taking adaptogenic herbs is relatively simple. Adaptogenic herbs can be used in cooking and added to your meals, taken as supplements, steeped in tea, or consumed as tinctures, to name a few common means of taking adaptogens.

Consistency is key in adding adaptogens to your health regimen. Most adaptogens take a minimum of three weeks to begin having a noticeable effect on the body; it takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to reduce inflammation and balance the body, and like any good thing - it takes time.

Are you looking to add adaptogens to your daily routine? You can find many of these top adaptogens in our herbal superblends, combined with other supercharged ingredients to give you the best results from your natural wellness journey!

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