Whether you live life in the fast lane or operate in a slow cooker – or perhaps equal amounts of each – you likely are exposed to and at times rendered ineffective by waves of stress inducements. Chances are that fatigue (physical and mental) also accompanies your stress. Those are the times when you can certainly use a lift and some relief. Adaptogens are standing by to come to your rescue.
Better yet, adaptogens, per globalhealingcenter.com, are natural substances – neither prescription drugs nor your typical over-the-counter medications that can still leave you with unwanted side effects, if not a certain level of dependence.
Thousands of Years of Adaptogen Use
Adaptogens, as herbs, come from plants, and their ability to provide revitalization or restorative boosts isn’t new news. It’s reflective of the fact that they have been around for thousands of years as a medical component of Ayurvedic herbalism (with roots in India) and traditional Chinese medicine, per betternutrition.com. Note: they have now been in America for years.
Briefly, plant-based adaptogens generally share three characteristics: they are safe for almost everyone, assist in handling stress and are at work to balance our hormones. To say that adaptogens simply balance our hormones and help ease our stress levels, though is a bit of an understatement. They cover a lot of ground.
How Adaptogens Work
Our sympathetic nervous system, also known as the body’s stress system, per mindbodygreen.com, manages hundreds of pathways that have a hand in inflammation. This is why those rigors of everyday life in a sometimes-chaotic world can render us worn out, angry and irritated, eventually giving way to undesirable hormone-related outcomes that range from low sex drive to thyroid problems so on and so forth.
Adaptogens, once they have been consumed and punched in, typically go to work to keep inflammation levels in check. Chronic inflammation is responsible for many of today’s health issues, putting adaptogens in position to provide numerous health benefits across a wide spectrum, performing such functions, per mindbodygreen.com, as:
- Reducing cortisol levels
- Regenerating brain cells
- Preserving heart health
- Lowering cholesterol
- Balancing the immune system
- Protecting against radiation
- Guiding the liver
Our body is not equipped to handle stress 24/7, or, for that matter, anything remotely close to that. Our bodies were originally constructed to deal with stress only in short and few and far-in-between circumstances in what traditionally is described as the “fight or flight” response. Having our adrenal system in a continual active state wreaks havoc on our bodies, throwing them out of balance, principally affecting our digestive system and energy levels, and perhaps even throwing off our mental well-being.
In a sense, adaptogens act like a thermostat, per globalhealingcenter.com, regulating our body’s stress level at a preferred level, through thick and thin. They do this by rebalancing the hormones of our adrenal system, in the process conquering adrenal fatigue.
There Are Many Types of Adaptogens
Here are a few of them:
- Mushrooms – namely maitake, reishi and shiitake (among others).
- Holy basil – known as the “memory booster,” it helps to bolster cognitive function.
- Milk thistle – its active ingredient, silymarin, supports liver health and helps regulate stress hormones, per globalhealingcenter.com.
- Rosemary – Great for cooking; even better for its support of heart, digestive and liver health.
- Aloe vera – supports immune system and adrenal health.
- Ginseng eleuthero – an energy enhancer as well as an adaptogenic.
- Cordyceps – a type of fungus that colonizes on . . . drum roll, please . . . caterpillars. Useful for a variety of conditions, to include infertility, sexual dysfunction, dizziness, fatigue and hampered athletic performance, per betternutrition.com.
- Amla – also known as Indiana gooseberry, among other names. Said to be beneficial for hanging onto youthfulness as well as a good memory.