Adaptogens are natural medicinal plants and represent a group of substances that are capable of increasing the body's defenses, helping it to resist stressors including chemical, biological and physical. The herbs have been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurveda healing but have been gaining popularity over the last five years in the ever-growing wellness sector. They grow under extreme weather and climatic conditions in places with strong solar radiation or large temperature fluctuations; their ability to adapt is related to their positive and versatile effects.
How Do Adaptogens Work?
Each one claims to do something different but generally, adaptogens have a regulating effect on the sympathoadrenal system and HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis - a complex set of direct influences and feedback interactions among three components: the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands. Both the sympathoadrenal system and HPA are involved in the bodies response to stress and by interacting with them i.e tweaking hormone production and our physiological responses, adaptogens help achieve an overall normalizing biological effect. In addition, adaptogens also contain cell-protecting antioxidants.
What Are the Best Adaptogens?
Thanks to their versatility, a wide range of adaptogens can be used to help treat various ailments and diseases: from high or low blood pressure, a weak or overreacting immune system and hormonal fluctuations, to imbalances in metabolism or the cardiovascular system. Some common adaptogens include:
Ashwagandha: Helps reduce stress and anxiety.
Astragalus: Helps fight fatigue.
Rhodiola Rosea: Helps stave off physical and mental fatigue.
Turmeric: Helps boost brain function and reduces depression.
Siberian Ginseng: Helps boost the immune system, increase energy and reduce fatigue.
Schisandra Fruit Powder: Helps reduce anxiety and stress.
Jiaogulan: Helps strengthen the immune system.
Dr. Barbara Sturm’s oral supplement, ANTI-POLLUTION FOOD, is formulated around a series of five adaptogens including Ashwagandha, Siberian Ginseng and Schisandra Fruit Powder to provide defence against the oxidative and irritant damage caused by pollutants and increase resistance to skin stressors. When taken daily, it also helps boost the skin's barrier function and provides deep hydration at a molecular level, promoting plumped and youthful skin.
How Do I Use Adaptogens?
Adaptogens come in many different forms, including teas, supplements and powders that you can add to your coffee, breakfast cereal or smoothie. Whichever you choose, ensure you research the brand reputability and ingredient quality, read the dosage instructions first and allow at least three months or so for it to take an effect. Adaptogens are well tolerated and free of side effects but you should always speak to your doctor before embarking on any new supplement program.