Whether you’re reading up on the latest health trends or are looking up ingredients in your new protein shake, you’ll probably find adaptogens! And you may be wondering if they work, and more specifically, if they can work for you.
If we take the time to look, we often can find gifts around the earth — gifts that can help us live full and rich lives without chemical disruptions! We love finding the natural solutions to our everyday problems and adaptogens have proven that they can —
- Support your body’s natural systems and
- Make your body work and feel better
From hormone issues to weight loss, these herbals can help you bring balance and overall wellness to your life. Whether you’re a busy mom or are working your way through college, you can swap your too-many-cups-of-espresso for these stress-reducing herbals!
Read on to find what can work for you and how to use them as part of your wellness routine.
What Are Adaptogens and Why You Should Consider Them
Do you ever wish you could go back to a simpler time?
Often in our first-world culture, we live fast-paced lives fueled by caffeine and start to struggle sleeping or truly finding rest. Chronic or sustained stress can cause or add to your health issues, like depression and anxiety, hypertension, and heart issues.
We know that besides how awful stress makes us feel, stress can negatively impact our health long-term. Instead of keeping yourself on edge with insomnia and anxiety — what if you could experience a calming and energy without caffeine. What if there was another way?
Adaptogens are part of an herbal tradition of using plants as medicine throughout the centuries. The plants that provide these fantastic properties often grow in harsh conditions. As they grow, their biochemistry adapts, and they pass on their nutrients to help our bodies deal with stress. It’s becoming a popular alternative to some medications. And adaptogens offer a natural solution to help your body regulate emotions, hormones, and stress levels.
Ok, so tell me more — Some of the Most Common FAQs about Adaptogens
Where did the term come from?
“Adaptogen” means that it reduces damage from stress and brings you to a homeostatic balance.
While scientists first started to research them during World War II (N.V. Lazarev formed the term in 1947), traditional Chinese medicine and Indian and Scandinavian cultures have used them for centuries!
How Do They Work?
Adaptogens impact the endocrine system to reduce cortisol, the natural substance that fuels stress. As part of this broad physical response, each herbal can target specific needs. You will find that some herbal medicines help—
- Boost the immune system
- Help you focus and improve cognitive function (nootropic)
- Minimize anxiety and depression (anxiolytic)
- Support the liver
- Balance blood sugars
- Enhance exercise performance
- Countering fatigue (anti-fatigue)
- Stimulating energy without the crash
- Adapt to stress
- Improve your ability to detox from toxins
- Recover from illnesses
- Improves mood
How can you you ingest them?
There are so many products on the market from food-based to capsules! You have plenty of delicious options, from a dose of herbs in your food to tinctures, teas, and smoothies.
We prefer ingesting them as a tea to have easy access to intentional blends while gaining the few minutes of relaxation spent with a cuppa!
Are Adaptogens effective?
Some may question their use and impact, BUT adaptogen are time-tested, and evidence-based medicine has researched them.
Incorporating intentional blends of adaptogens can give you more energy, sustained clarity of mind, and overall vitality, as part of your healthy lifestyle! If you’re looking to reduce stress, you should —
- Try to eliminate anxiety-causing situations,
- Enjoy nature and get enough sunlight,
- Eat whole foods and limit caffeine,
- Use breath exercises,
- Workout regularly, and
- Experiment with and find the best adaptogens for you!
How long should you take adaptogens?
Adaptogens are not a one-time fix. They must be ingested for a few weeks before you begin to feel the benefits. And like most supplements, if you stop taking them, you will notice that your unwanted symptoms may return.
What is the most potent adaptogen?
In our western culture, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, and Ginseng are among the most popular and powerful adaptogens. They can help you reduce long-term stress, balance hormones, and level the fight-or-flight stress response.
Can adaptogens be harmful? Are they addictive?
According to the NCBI, adaptogens are not like stimulants such as ephedrine or phentermine and do not present addiction or abuse potential. While adaptogens shouldn’t cause many side effects or health issues, be sure to balance using them with other healthy habits.
You don’t want to mask the fatigue of a severe illness or nutrient deficiency or enable yourself for burnout. We don’t recommend —
- Ingesting them in high levels
- Using them while taking some pharmaceuticals
- Taking them when you are pregnant or nursing unless clearly specified*
If you are concerned about your health, please discuss your current symptoms and medical history with a holistic naturopath or your healthcare professional before consuming. Adaptogens should be appropriately used with a holistic view of health, to maintain physical wellness.
Adaptogens and What They Can Do For You
Now, let’s dig into the most common adaptogens and how you can use them in your overall health!
When you live in a constant state of emotional, physical, or chemical stress, you may experience symptoms like:
- Weight gain
- Adrenal fatigue
- Sleep issues
- Thyroid disfunction
- Digestive upset
- Heart Palpitations
- Erratic Menstrual Symptoms
- Low Energy and Fatigue
- Chronic Stress
- Early Signs of Aging
- Other Hormonal Issues
And nobody wants to deal with that!
Our living conditions, emotional issues, physical injury, exposure to toxins, and more can impact our stress levels. We can’t limit all the toxic load we experience from GMOs, screen time, chemicals in our home products, clean supplies, and clothes. But we can control how well our body detoxes and supporting our systems for optimal health.
Don’t let your body linger in the “maladaptive” or continual state of stress that can reduce life expectancy! We’re going to break down which adaptogens you can use for specific issues you may be facing.You can take control today by implementing natural holistic routines or seeing a certified naturopath or integrative physician.
What do these herbals accomplish?
The 2010 study, conducted by the Swedish Herbal Institute Research & Development determined that “The most convincing evidence of the efficacy of adaptogens were found in studies related to its neuroprotective effects, effects on cognitive functions and mental performance.”
As we said earlier, to get the most out of these herbals, you need to use intentionally paired blends. We’re going to look at what the individual adaptogens can do and review our preferred combinations for women’s health issues.
22 of the Best Adaptogens for Women
- Red Raspberry Leaf — From vitamins and minerals to carotenoids and tannins, this leaf can help promote a healthy pregnancy, alleviates morning sickness, prevent miscarriage, help labor go smoothly, and increase milk supply! It can also help ease cramps and relax stress throughout the body, impacting women at every stage of their lives. Talk about a super power herb!
- Ashwagandha — Translated as “the strength of ten horses,” it’s a natural inflammatory reducer. This earthy-flavored root stabilizes your mood, regulates estrogen and progesterone, and protects the brain from oxidative stress. It can help improve endurance and recovery in athletic performance. Or give you that boost when you're up late with your kids finishing a project.
- Ginseng — Belonging to the genus Panax, this “all-healing” herb helps curb your appetite, improve the immune system, and boost your energy levels. Use it to aid in weight loss and help you stay well during the winter months.
- Astragalus Root — Helps to protect cells from aging and reduces stress.
- Vitex Berries — Regulates hormones for women’s health, impacting healthy menstruation and fertility.
- Holy Basil — This herbal has anti-depressive properties that can relieve emotional stress and protects organs against chemical stress.
- Maca — Helps improve your libido, overall mood, and fertility.
- Rhodiola Rosea — A yellow-tinted flower that boosts energy, metabolism, and concentration while easing depression.
- Tumeric — A widely-used herbal in cooking reduces inflammation in over 100 pathways and helps improve anxiety. Delicious in many recipes!
- Cordyceps Mushrooms — Can help balance hormones, boost your immune system, and help you feel more energy.
- Reishi Mushrooms — Can improve your immune system and limits dermal oxidation, which causes aging!
- Chaga Mushrooms — One of the most potent sources of antioxidants and can reduce inflammation while boosting immunity.
- Nettle Leaf — Gets rid of unwanted stress, irritation, and tension and alleviates eczema and acne, arthritis, gout, and allergies.
- Strawberry Leaf — Helps to alleviate menstrual cramps and balance female hormones.
- Licorice Root — Powerfully regulates cortisol levels, improves fertility, and helps to minimize effects of PCOS, irregular periods, and menopause. We love this herbal and include it in many of our teas!
- Valerian — Reduces physical and mental stress and relieves insomnia and anxiety.
- Moringa — This “Miracle Leaf” provides a great source of vitamins and minerals and helps regulate your digestion, blood sugar, blood pressure and boosts milk supply in breastfeeding moms.
- Suma Root — High in antioxidants, this adaptogen can increase sex hormones, improve fertility, and calm digestion.
- Ginger Root — Detoxes the body, aids digestion, and alleviates pain.
- Oatstraw — Calms the nervous system and reduces anxiety.
- Lemon Balm — This fragrant leaf helps mood, lowers stress, and provides mental clarity.
- Skullcap — Provides rest, lessens anxiety, and reduces high cholesterol, among other inflammatory issues.
- Passionflower — Relieves anxiety, stress, and insomnia.
Adaptogenic Pairings for Everyday Wellness
Adaptogenic herbs for hormone balance in women —
Vitex, Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Cordyceps, Licorice Root, Rhodiola Rosea, Holy Basil, Turmeric, Red Raspberry Leaf, Nettle Leaf, Oatstraw, Ginger Root, Suma Root
Adaptogens for lowering stress and cortisol —
Ginseng, Holy Basil, Ashwagandha, Astragalus Root, Licorice Root, Rhodiola, Cordyceps, Valerian, Passionflower, Lemon Balm, and Skullcap
Adaptogens for weight loss —
Holy Basil, Ashwagandha, Ginseng, Maca, Rhodiola Rosea, Moringa
Adaptogenic Tea and its Benefits
Femallay has developed a comprehensive line of loose leaf wellness teas that take the guesswork out of pairing adaptogens and herbals. We love to help women support their bodies’ health naturally.
These teas are —
- Delicious, because they are dried in their natural state,
- Pure, because they are all 100% organic,
- And potent because they are not crushed like other teas!
Here are some of our favorites and why!
Perfectly Balanced Loose Leaf Tea — This soft and citrusy blend combines florals and mint to help your body relieve stress, calm digestion, and lowers inflammation throughout the body.
Healthy Gut Chai — A delicious and slightly spicy blend that helps your stomach stay well. Can add milk and raw honey for a satisfying and healthy latte.
Sweet Dreams Loose Leaf Tea — Enjoy chamomile and lavender with passionflower, red raspberry, and valerian to sip and savor as you wind down for bed.
From our Hibiscus Rose Detox to Smooth Cycle, Nursing Mother, Sage Woman, and Mother Blossom, there is an adaptogenic tea blend for every stage of life! Be sure to try our delicious combinations as you’re experimenting with what adaptogenic products work for you!
*We recommend that you check with a trained holistic nutritionist or your healthcare provider before starting adaptogens if you are on medications. These supplements don’t have to be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Also, if you are growing your family, be sure that the herbals you take are recommended for pregnancy and nursing. All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are solely of the author. For medical advice, please consult your healthcare provider.