10 Adaptogen Herbs That Will Reduce Stress

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With the amount of stress, we all feel today having a toolbox full of stress-busting techniques and tactics to help you maintain an even keel is necessary.

Even when you do everything right – nutrition, meditation, breathwork, exercise and so on, stress can still creep up on you and even lead to anxiety or a panic attack.

When you are needing some extra support, it’s nice to have another ally to call on. We’ve got a full range of friends that you can add to your daily routine or when you feel like you really need some extra help.

Enter plants – yes plants have the power to bring your mind, body, and spirit back into balance. There are a class of plants or herbs called adaptogens that you can add to your toolbox to ensure you keep your nerves in check.

Adaptogen herbs are truly magic. They are not new by any means, in fact, they’ve been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda for centuries. They work with your body to bring you back into balance. They’re called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to your body’s specific needs.

They literally help your body adapt and adjust to stressors whether that be physical, emotional, or environmental stress. They can calm you down when you’re feeling anxiety or they can give you energy when you’re feeling fatigued.

Adaptogens relieve stress by modulating the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. They’re truly magicians!

In our world today, in which much of our disease is brought on by stress, adaptogen herbs can help us become more resilient and support our nervous system.

This chronic stress that a majority of the population deals with causes us to turn on our sympathetic nervous system state or our flight or fight mode. In this state, we are on high alert and stressed, consequently becoming inflamed. We are not meant to be in this mode for long as it is a part of our system for when we really need it, like when being chased by a bear (not too many bears are chasing us these days).

Adaptogen herbs can help you get back into your parasympathetic nervous system state, which is your rest, digest and restore state aka “it’s all good, we’re chilling” mode, which we all should be in a majority of the time.

If you find yourself snapping easily or becoming agitated often, it’s likely you’re stressed. This may seem obvious, but often people don’t realize where it’s coming from. Herbs can be a great tool in the toolbox along with meditation, relaxation, and a little me time.

These herbs strengthen the body’s response to stress and help fight fatigue without bursts of energy or crashes like most energy-boosting supplements on the market. Best of all — they’re all-natural and some of the safest remedies you could take!

You can take these herbs in powder form and add to lattes or smoothies, in capsule form or tincture. Here’s a list of a few of the most popular adaptogens out there:

CBD (Cannabidiol)

CBD works with the part of your nervous system called the endocannabinoid system. Its entire job is to bring you back into homeostasis aka balance. When you supplement with CBD you replenish this system so that it works properly for you.

This is why CBD is so effective for anxiety and stress management. It helps maintain a stable internal environment despite outside stressors.

Ashwagandha

Has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda and has become one of the most popular adaptogens on the West with good reason! It has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and it is probably best known for reducing overall stress without making you feel drowsy. It increases vitality, energy, endurance, and stamina, promotes longevity, and strengthens the immune system. Ashwagandha has also been shown to help with thyroid function as well.

Rhodiola

Want a pep in your step? Rhodiola is your herb. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine in Russia and Scandinavian countries as a tonic for fatigue, stress, improved concentration and overall boost in strength and vitality. It also helps balance the cortisol levels in your body.

According to Dr. Frank Lipman “cortisol, which is secreted in sync with your circadian rhythms is usually, if not always, out of whack when you’re stressed out and exhausted. This means the cortisol level is either too high when it should be low or not high enough when we need more…and Rhodiola literally helps balance the cortisol levels in your body, raising or lowering it as needed.”

Cordyceps

a mushroom that has been used for centuries in Chinese Medicine. It promotes stress resistance; supports immune function, adrenal function, and improves aerobic activity

Moringa

Moringa leaves have been used to treat high blood pressure, improve digestion, regulate blood sugar and reduce inflammation. It is considered a thyroid and liver tonic. Long term use can increase energy, improve sleep and help fight off illnesses.

Reishi

a mushroom used in Chinese medicine that works as an “immune modulator,” reishi can help restore hormonal imbalance, bring the body back into homeostasis and regulate the activity of the immune system. It can protect against inflammation, insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng)

has been shown to boost mental and physical performance while boosting the immune system. Gives you sustained energy over a long period of time without jitters. It can ease anxiety, enhance endurance (has been used by athletes), and support healthy cholesterol levels.

Schisandra

known as the beauty tonic as it protects the skin from environmental stress and toxin accumulation. It also lowers inflammation and stress, supports adrenal function, improves liver function and digestive health. It has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and it considered one of the best medicinal berries because it contains all 5 tastes, sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent.

known as the beauty tonic as it protects the skin from environmental stress and toxin accumulation. It also lowers inflammation and stress, supports adrenal function, improves liver function and digestive health. It has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and it considered one of the best medicinal berries because it contains all 5 tastes, sweet, sour, salty, bitter and pungent.

These are just to name a few. There is a whole world of adaptogens out there to try, but check in with your primary doctor if you want to give them a shot, especially if you are pregnant or on any other medication. Some herbs are great in cycles instead of taken consistently over time and vice versa.

Aviva Romm, an herbalist, and integrative physician, says are “Herbs are food 2.0.” She explains that herbs are the extension of food because they’re plants but they have a more concentrated chemical constituent profile. They have a big bang for their buck!

Plants are truly healing and are something everyone should try, whether that is just adding more cilantro and parsley to meals for detoxification or using adaptogen herbs to calm your nervous system. Play around with some herbal magic and see what works best for you!

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