ADAPTOGENS

‘A substance that increases the body’s resistance to physical, environmental, emotional, or biological stressors and promotes normal physiological function’ – Bone, 2003

A common denominator in a lot of imbalances/illnesses/diseases is stress. We stress over day-to-day issues, as well as the health concern we may be battling ourselves. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I’m told to ‘reduce my stress’, I end up stressing over reducing my stress (?!?!?).

So what is stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to an kind of demand or threat. It is a state of threatened homeostasis caused by intrinsic or extrinsic factors and is counteracted by a repertoire of physiological and behavioural responses aiming to re-establish the optimal equilibrium.

Key components of the stress system are the hypothalamic-pituitary-system (HPA) axis and the autonomic nervous system (ANS, which interact with the central nervous system (CNS).

Introducing Adaptogens!

Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions. Adaptogens were recently defined as herbal preparations that increased attention and endurance in fatigue, and reduced stress-induced impairments and disorders. This definition was based on evidence obtained from clinical trials.

Adaptogens exhibit neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, antidepressive, anxiolytic, nootropic and CNS stimulating activity. The stress-protective activity of adaptogens was associated with regulation of homeostasis via several mechanisms of action, which was linked with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the regulation of key mediators of stress response.

In other words, adaptogens normalised your physiology – Stressed àCalm, Hot àCool.

Favourites and how to incorporate

A few of my favourite adaptogens are:

  • Ashwaganda Withania somnifera
  • Rhodiola Rhodiola rosea
  • Schisandra Schisandra chinensis
  • Astragalus Astragalus membranaceus

Add ½-1tsp of the powdered plant mixture to hot beverage. This can be done at any time of the day, when feeling stressed, headaches, or at night to help sleep and wake up refreshed.

I have experienced noticeable results from including Ashwaganda into my daily routine. I have ½ a tsp in the afternoon and if I need help winding down, I will have some before bed.

You can find different types of adaptogens at your local health store.

It is important to note that supplements are just that –supplements. They are there to supplement a deficiency and assist you in that moment. To experience optimal effects, you must aim for your lifestyle to align with your goal.

These are a few lifestyle habits to incorporate that are shown to provide calmness and reduce the severity of stress.

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Device free time
  • Reading

Adaptogens not only provide therapeutic effects in stress-induced circumstances, they can improve quality of life due to the multiple pathological effects. If you are looking for a holistic way to manage stress and adapt to circumstances, I encourage you to give an adaptogen supplement a try.

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