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Should you be taking an adaptogen?

Feeling the pressure? We hear you loud and clear–life is full of stressful triggers. If you want to boost your body’s ability to manage anxiety, consider adding an adaptogen to your routine. It’s a “natural” way to give yourself a bit of an edge whilst dealing with every day’s stream of worries and woes. What’s more, some types of adaptogens can be good for your overall health. Want to know more? We’re breaking down the basics with some easy-to-digest do’s and don’ts.

adaptogens and herbs
marilyn barbone/ Shutterstock

What are adaptogens?

As indicated by their very apropos name, adaptogens are herbal supplements that can help the body and mind adapt to outside stress by regulating hormones.

When life gets hairy, our bodies physically react with a release of cortisol, the stress hormone. Adaptogens, however, can tame this sudden surge, helping you sustain your energy level and cope more readily. In this same vein, they can also stave off the fatigue that often follows that fight-or-flight response. In other words, they can give you the strength, capacity, and wherewithal to work through stress, and face the music.

What’s more, research has shown that some adaptogens can fight exhaustion, improve mental acuity, reduce symptoms of depression, and alleviate anxiety.

What health benefits do they offer?

Different adaptogens can help you better cope with stress and anxiety, lead to enhanced quality sleep, reduce exhaustion level, and sharpen your brain’s functionality. Stress has a variety of negative consequences for your health, from rapid weight gain or loss to high blood pressure.

While adaptogens are most commonly used for their mental health benefits, some variations have physical benefits as well. For example, Chaga, a type of mushroom, can enhance the radiance of your complexion. Other types are known to lower blood sugar, boost immunity, and help with digestive problems.

What are the caveats of taking adaptogens?

Incorporating adaptogens into your routine is not as simple as taking a vitamin once a day. There are some important factors to keep in mind as you explore the world of adaptogens.

  • Consider the time of day: If you are taking an adaptogen to awaken your mind and feel sharper, take it earlier in the day. If the supplement has a meditative, calming effect take it in the evening hours.
  • Don’t overdo it: Follow the specific dosing instructions, and don’t experiment too much. Yes, these are herbal supplements, but you can have too much of a good thing. If, after a few weeks, you find that your adaptogen isn’t really doing its thing, try a different variety.
  • The definitive proof is inconclusive: While there is early evidence that adaptogens can be beneficial to your mental and physical health, long-term studies of efficacy and safety are not conclusive.
  • They are not cure-alls: These supplements will not eliminate stress, eradicate anxiety, or cure depression. This is simply one of the many treatments you can use to manage your mental health. Consider using these in tandem with therapy, medication, and regular diet and exercise.
  • Talk to your doctor: Before starting any new supplement or health-care routine, you should speak to a healthcare professional. Whether you are taking an adaptogen to fight fatigue, stave off stress, or aid digestion, it’s best practice to consult a doctor first.
  • Beware of side effects: Just because these are plant-based substances, doesn’t mean that they can’t carry potential side effects. Furthermore, some adaptogens may interfere with medications you are taking, so do your research before buying or trying.
herbal supplements
PhotobyTawat/ Shutterstock

What adaptogens should I take? 

Not all adaptogens are created equal, and there are a variety of options that offer unique benefits. Do your due diligence to find the de-stressing adaptogen that is right for you.

  • Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) – Goji berry has a soothing effect and can foster a sense of peace. Additionally, it can alleviate stress, enhance sleep, and improve memory and mental clarity.
  • Tulsi or Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) – These herbs assuage physical and emotional stress and can have depression-relieving effects. It’s also a good option to combat “brain fog.”
  • Turmeric – This supplement is great for brain health, and can help your overall mental performance.
  • Ginseng and Maca – Both of these adaptogens are great for fighting off fatigue, keeping you naturally alert and awake.
  • Try a blend – Opt for an adaptogen blend that meets your needs. You can add this “balancing” option to your morning smoothie.

Want to feel happier, healthier, calmer, and more content? Consider trying an adaptogen. But, as with all supplements, take it slow, do your research, and talk to your doctor.

BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.

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Lauren Barth
Lauren Barth is a freelance writer and digital editor with over a decade of experience creating lifestyle, parenting, travel…
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