Adaptogens – The Low-down on Your New Best Friend.
We’ve all got that one friend who knows exactly what we need, when we need it. Who senses where you’re at adjusts their mood to meet you there. Adaptogens are kind of like those friends. They have a remarkable ability to detect what your body needs and respond accordingly.
Adaptogens help to regulate the endocrine, nervous system, immune, digestive, and cardiovascular function to assist the body in restoring balance and adapt to stress whether that be physical, emotional, chemical, or environmental.
The use of adaptogenic herbs and medicinal mushrooms dates back thousands of years to ancient China and India but were first researched scientifically in 1946 by Dr. Nikolai Lazarev and later described by Dr. Israel I. Brekhman as having the following qualifications:
- Adaptogens are non-toxic in normal therapeutic doses, showing no significant side effects or contraindications.
- Adaptogens produce a non-specific response in the body bringing about a general state of resistance to physical, emotional, chemical, and environmental stress. This can be thought of as building a reserve of adaptive energy that can be called on to keep the body balanced when exposed to multiple stressors.
- Adaptogens have a normalising effect on the body, helping the body restore stressed physiological conditions to a state of balance. For instance, if the immune system is depressed, adaptogens enhance the immune response, or on the other hand, if the immune system is overactive (in the case of allergies) adaptogens can help re-regulate the immune response, lowering overactivity. This bidirectional effect is very unique and has led some researchers to suggest that adaptogens have a natural ‘intelligence,’ meaning they respond to what is needed in the body.
Many medicinal mushrooms are prized adaptogens. While best taken over a sustained period for an accumulative benefit, they also have an in-the-moment effect. So, if you feel like life is coming at you at the speed of light, need to wind down before bed, or prime yourself for peak athletic performance, adaptogens can be called upon as your wing-woman.
While all adaptogens respond differently depending on the individual some of the benefits you may experience when introducing adaptogens into your diet are:
- Strength, stamina, and performance boost.
- Peaceful sleep.
- Sense of calm in reaction to stressful situations.
- Improved focus, memory, and clarity.
- A boost to libido and desire.
- Strengthening of the immune system.
- Glowing, radiant skin.
- Replenished energy levels.
- Sense of elevated consciousness.
Adaptogens are indeed amazing and can go a long way to elevate your health and wellbeing but they work best with a self-care game that’s on point. Wherever you can be sure to nourish yourself with wholefoods and a balanced diet, connect with your loved ones and those around you, spend time in nature, hydrate and get some sleep.