People can’t get enough of the word “adaptogen” these days: It’s heard everywhere, from juice bars to lifestyle blogs. However, as the world is starting to take note of the many benefits of adaptogens, it’s also a great time to understand this emerging buzzword and how exactly it can benefit a person.
To learn how an adaptogen can be used in treatment, it’s important to know where it’s rooted. To note, the word adaptogen means “to fit for a purpose and bring to birth.” Indeed, this definition lumps it together with other therapeutic agents, as well as pharmaceutical drugs, but adaptogens are unique in that they are designed to restore the balance of the body through improved physiological response. This means that adaptogens are designed to counteract the effects of stress in the body. (Related: Research Finds Adaptogens Reduce Stress.)
More than stress relief
To say that adaptogens are mainly used to relieve stress, however, is an understatement. The term is deeply rooted in holistic medicine, which believes that everything in the body is intrinsically connected. This means that adaptogens aren’t just designed for treating stress: They’re also designed to address the physical changes brought by stress to the body.
For instance, a person might need to take herbal medicine to treat a specific condition like an acute infection. However, using an adaptogen will boost the immune system as a whole.
In addition, multiple studies have found that adaptogens can improve brain function, prevent depression and fatigue, and boost the overall function of the central nervous system.
A quick guide to the best adaptogens
It’s easy to get lost in choosing the best adaptogen for you, given that there are a lot of herbs available today. However, here are some of the best ones, backed by research:
- Arctic root. The plant, also called roseroot in some regions, is found in cold climates in Asia and Europe. It’s used in traditional medicine in Scandinavia to treat minor illnesses like headaches and flu.
- Astragalus. This potent adaptogen is known to support many bodily functions, ranging from metabolism to blood circulation. It has also been shown to protect the heart, brain, kidneys, and liver from injury, as well as relieve joint problems caused by arthritis.
- Cordyceps. Aside from its interesting way of growing, it has been reported that Chinese athletes have used this mushroom to gain a competitive edge.
- Ginseng. It’s one of the most popular herbs in Traditional Chinese Medicine, having been used as a calming tonic for well over a thousand years. While there are different types of ginseng, studies have focused on American ginseng and its ability to boost immune function, as well as its antioxidant content.
- Gynostemma. This herb has been studied for well over 30 years, and has been found to have the highest concentrations of saponin, a fat- and water-soluble chemical responsible for the adaptogenic effect. Research has also shown that it has anti-aging, anti-stress, anti-inflammatory, and anti-obesity properties, making it one of the most sought-after adaptogens. It also tastes great to boot.
- Schisandra. This adaptogen is known for its ability to improve liver health and regulate blood sugar, making it great for people with hyperglycemia.
Another characteristic of adaptogens that sets them apart from other types of medication is that these herbs will “adapt” to what the body needs. In addition to improving general well-being, these herbs can also benefit sexual drive or libido — without the adverse effects that come from prescription medications.
Learn more about adaptogens by following Herbs.news.
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