What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are herbs and mushrooms that help the body adapt to stress and change in the environment. They offer heavy-duty support for the body’s natural resistance to “adverse influences” – stress and fatigue in particular.
Why you should care
The unique benefit of these magic plants is that they work with YOUR needs specifically, adapting their function to how they see fit for you.
They do this by working with your adrenal glands to calm and nourish them in order to support adrenal functioning, which can include blood sugar and immune system regulation and hormone and blood pressure balance.
If you’re stressed, they go to action helping your body calm down internally. One of their biggest attributes is their ability to help a body maintain healthy cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal gland that is essential to maintaining homeostasis (balance) in the body. It is sometimes called the “stress hormone” because it regulates many of the changes the body undergoes when it encounters stressful situations. If you’re cortisol levels are out of whack you may be in a constant state of stress, which is not only a terrible feeling but wreaks havoc on the body. These herbs can help balance those levels.
Not sleeping can be attributed to stress, specifically cortisol levels being out of balance.
As mentioned, your adrenal glands secrete cortisol. In times of stress, they secrete more cortisol (triggering your flight-or-fight response) and this is important BUT it’s just as important that your cortisol levels return to normal after stressful events. If your stress responses are activated too often, your body may not have a chance to return to its regular state, which can cause your sleep/wake cycles to fluctuate and may have negative health effects, including keeping you up at night. By maintaining healthy cortisol levels, your body is able support a healthy sleep cycle.
Adaptogens to start you off:
Ashwaghanda is a superstar adaptogen, used in Ayurvedic practices for numerous things, but most notably for lowering cortisol and reducing stress. Ashwagandha has been proven effective in supporting adrenal function, helping people overcome adrenal fatigue and chronic stress. Recent studies have revealed its efficacy at protecting the brain from degeneration (due to its powerful antioxidant composition) as well as its effectiveness at treating depression and improving mood.
The astragulus root is considered one of the most powerful immune-boosting plants in the world. Astragulus lowers cortisol (aka the stress hormone), while fighting disease, reducing inflammation and protecting cells against cell death and other harmful elements, such as free radicals and oxidation (hello, anti-aging).
Lion’s Mane is an all-natural brain-booster and cognitive enhancer. It has been shown to support memory, focus, and concentration and increases energy without the jitters of other stimulants, like caffeine.
Mucuna pruriens is shown to have potent balancing and restorative effects on the entire nervous system. Mucuna contains naturally occurring L-dopa, an essential precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which regulates mood, cognition and sleep.
Reishi calms the mind and helps decrease stress. We recommend reishi consumption under periods of stress or at night to relax and unwind. Noted for its ability to stimulate sleep cycles, reishi could help you manage stress and get a good night’s sleep. It’s also recognized for its strong anti-inflammatory properties, ability to increase longevity, immune function and mental clarity.