Adaptogens, Natural Remedies for Managing Stress
Adaptogens are natural remedies for stress that couldn’t be better suited to modern times. Helping the body restore balance and adapt to stress, adaptogens move us closer to a state of equilibrium to help harmonise mind, body and spirit.
Our modern lives bring with them a range of daily stressors that can come at us from all angles, perhaps more so than generations past; many dub ours the ‘burnout generation’, with constant streams of digital demands and a pervasive ‘always on’ culture.
The types of stress we can experience can be classified into some of the following categories:
- Physical Stressors – Intense physical activity, health challenges.
- Chemical and Ingestible Stressors – Toxins, pesticides and heavy metals that wind up in our food, GMO foods, highly processed foods, consuming toxic substances like drugs and tobacco.
- Environmental Stressors – Toxins in our air, water and soil, exposure to mould, bacteria and viruses, EMF, light pollution, noise pollution.
- Psychological Stressors – Mental and emotional challenges resulting from a range of situations like disagreements with loved ones, workload overwhelm, lack of purpose and spiritual fulfilment, or major life trauma.
When you lay it all out it feels like a lot! But with all of these layers of stress have come a greater collective awareness of the importance of self-care. Taking the state of our health into our own hands. If we’re able to notice the changing landscapes that exist inside our body and what’s really going on with ourselves, we’re able to use tools such as adaptogens to respond to our inner needs, build a reserve of adaptive energy and bring us closer to a place of balance so we can ultimately be primed to feel our best, to do and be our best. This idea is one of our core reasons for being and why we launched Inner Atlas to the world.
How do Adaptogens Work?
Adaptogens have the ability to regulate the endocrine, nervous system, immune, digestive, and cardiovascular function assisting the body in restoring balance and adapting to stress whether that be physical, emotional, chemical, or environmental. For instance, if the immune system is depressed, specific adaptogens (like Reishi mushroom) can 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.
Specific adaptogens can also have a significant effect on the regulation of the nervous and endocrine system and within that the HPA axis which governs a complex set of interactions between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal glands, regulating the amount of stress hormones released into our body.
While the core benefit of adaptogens lies in helping the body resist stress, the flow-on effect from this can result in increased energy levels, a boost to endurance and stamina, skin repair, immune support and improved cognitive function which all work together to promote an optimised state of health and longevity.
Medicinal Mushrooms as Adaptogens
Many medicinal mushrooms are adaptogens and this is one of the reasons we love them so much! As adaptogens, medicinal mushrooms respond differently depending on the person using them and further to this each individual mushroom has its own unique benefits.
Studies have suggested that Lion’s Mane mushroom extract may help reverse stress-related changes to neurotransmitters which include dopamine and serotonin while also reducing levels of the inflammatory markers interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), which increase in response to stress.
Reishi mushroom is well known for its ability to support the function of the nervous system and adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for the release of cortisol, a hormone that helps the body respond to stress
Some of the main adaptogenic benefits of medicinal mushrooms that you might experience in day-to-day life include:
Strength, stamina, and performance boost – Cordyceps
Sense of calm in reaction to stressful situations – Reishi
Peaceful sleep – Reishi
A boost to libido and desire – Cordyceps
Replenished energy levels – Cordyceps
Greater endurance and stamina - Chaga
Foundations of Good Health
Adaptogens and medicinal mushrooms are indeed incredible, but they work best alongside a healthy lifestyle, one where we’re paying attention to the foundations of good health like getting enough sleep, staying hydrated and eating as close to nature as possible, rather than pushing our bodies to the limit and looking to them and other tonic herbs as a Band-Aid or quick fix.
Inner Atlas Medicinal Mushrooms are:
- Semi-wild crafted, grown on hardwood in natural environmental conditions with the exception of Chaga (sustainably wild-harvested) and Cordyceps Militaris (grown indoors).
- Certified USDA & EU Organic.
- Grown Di Tao – sourced from the pristine and remote traditional growing regions.
- Fruiting body only – 100% real mushrooms with no added fillers or mycelium.
- Lab-tested for purity.
- Highly potent, containing greater than 30% beta-D-glucans (the active compounds).
Image: Artist Bruce Riley
 Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium Erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855563/
 A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6240259/
 Antifatigue and Antistress Effect of the Hot-Water Fraction from Mycelia of Cordyceps Sinensis