Adaptogens are a unique class of herbs and mushrooms that can help our bodies respond to stress in a more balanced way. Unlike stimulants that override our natural stress response, adaptogens work by gently modulating hormonal levels and systems in the body to convert the energies of stress into more productive and positive pathways. Extensive research has shown they can renew our capacity to handle stress and anxiety, while boosting energy, focus, and overall vitality.
In this article, we’ll explore 12 of the best scientifically-validated adaptogens that can help transform the energies of stress and anxiety into strength, clarity, and resilience. These natural substances have been used for centuries in ancient healing traditions and are now backed by solid modern research.
By incorporating these adaptogens into your daily routine, you may be able to rewrite your relationship with stress and thrive in the face of modern demands and challenges. Read on to learn more about how adaptogens can biohack your stress response and unlock your highest potential for health and performance.
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens refer to a unique class of non-toxic herbs and mushrooms that help the body adapt to stress, whether physical, mental or emotional. They work by regulating the body’s physiological response to stressful situations, bringing us back into homeostasis and balance.
Unlike stimulants such as caffeine that override the body’s natural stress response, adaptogens allow our hormones and neurotransmitters to function as nature intended. They help modulate key systems and pathways involved in the stress response, including the HPA axis, sympathetic nervous system, immune system, metabolic pathways, and energy production processes.
How Adaptogens Counteract The Effects Of Stress Include:
- Regulating Hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Chronic stress leads to dysregulated cortisol rhythms and high adrenaline. Adaptogens normalize these hormone levels.
- Supporting Adrenal Gland Function. The adrenals can become overtaxed when we are under constant stress. Adaptogens nourish the adrenals and prevent adrenal fatigue.
- Modulating Inflammatory Pathways. Stress and anxiety promote inflammation, and adaptogens help regulate inflammatory cytokines.
- Increasing Mental Stamina, focus and alertness. Adaptogens have been shown to improve concentration and cognition.
- Enhancing Endurance and reducing fatigue. They counteract the depletion of chronic stress.
- Promoting Restful Sleep. Adaptogens calm the nervous system, enabling deeper sleep.
- Increasing Resistance to damage from oxidative stress. They serve as antioxidants.
Overall, adaptogens act as tonics that build resistance to the damaging effects of stress, allowing us to thrive and reach our full potential. They help our bodies convert stress into energy and equilibrium.
These 12 plants & fungi are the most studied and most commonly identified as primary adaptogens. They have been used and revered traditionally by cultures for many centuries:
Ashwagandha – A staple in Ayurvedic medicine and has been revered in India for over 3,000 years as a rejuvenative tonic. Ashwagandha helps regulate cortisol levels, ease anxiety and depression, boost brain function and may have anti-cancer properties. Click Here To Check Out Micro Ingredients Ashwagandha Powder To Add To Your Drinks/Smoothies
Rhodiola – This golden-rooted plant known as Arctic root or golden root grows in cold mountainous regions like Siberia. Rhodiola increases resistance to stress and fatigue, enhances mental and physical performance, and may help treat depression and anxiety. Click Here To Check Out Micro Ingredients Rhodiola Powder To Add To Your Drinks And Smoothies
Ginseng – Highly prized in Chinese medicine, ginseng has been used for millennia to boost energy, stimulate the immune system, and moderate the body’s stress response. It contains anti-inflammatory compounds called ginsenosides. Korean red ginseng is heat-treated to boost potency. Fabulous added in moderation to vegetable stocks in its whole, dried root form. Click Here To Check Out Micro Ingredients Ginseng Root Powder Or In A Soft Gel Form
Una de Gato – Also known as cat’s claw, is a woody Amazonian vine used traditionally in South America. It gets its name from the small thorns resembling cat claws. Una de gato contains antioxidants that reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and protect cells from damage. As an adaptogen, it is believed to balance the immune system and reduce stress. Una de gato has been used to treat arthritis, bursitis, and intestinal disorders.
Cordyceps – This rare medicinal mushroom found on the Tibetan Plateau has extraordinary adaptogenic capacities. Cordyceps increases oxygen uptake, boosts endurance, helps normalize blood sugar, and safeguards kidney health. It has a subtle umami flavor. Place a few dried pieces into your next batch of broth for an added golden hue. Click Here To Check Out Micro Ingredients Cordyceps Powder To Add Broths And Brownies
Tulsi (Holy Basil) – Originating in India, tulsi is a foundational herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It has a complex flavor profile combining sweet, mint, and pepper notes. Tulsi is an antioxidant powerhouse that stabilizes blood glucose, regulates cortisol rhythms, and enhances mental clarity and concentration. Click Here To Check Out Starwest Botanicals Organic Tulsi Tea Bags
Maca – Grown in the harsh climate of the Peruvian Andes, maca root helps regulate hormones, improve mood and memory, increases libido, and boosts energy. It has been shown to enhance fertility in both men and women. Click Here To Check Out Micro Ingredients Maca Powder To Add To Your Drinks & Smoothies
Schisandra – The petite red berries of this woody vine are one of the most powerful adaptogens. Schisandra improves cognition, increases endurance, and protects the liver. It has all five tastes – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and pungent. Combine dried schishandra berries with dried spearmint for a vibrant herbal tea. Click Here To Check Out Starwest Botanicals Organic Schisandra Berries Powder To Add To Salad Dressings, Oatmeal Or Tea
Eleuthero – Also called Siberian ginseng, eleuthero is a shrub that grows in northeastern Asia. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to prevent colds and flu and improve stamina. Eleuthero increases energy, enhances workout performance, and helps the body handle stress. Click Here To Check Out Starwest Botanicals Eleuthero Root To Steep Into Teas
Licorice Root – Glycyrrhiza glabra is a sweet, woody root that has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Licorice root stimulates the adrenal glands and helps prevent adrenal fatigue. It also has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and immune-boosting properties. Click Here To Check Out Starwest Botanicals Organic Licorice Root To Steep Into Teas
Shilajit – Shilajit is a tar-like substance composed of centuries-old decomposed plant matter and fulvic acid. It seeps from between rocks in mountainous regions of Asia. Shilajit contains over 80 minerals and has rejuvenating, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that enhance energy. Click Here To Check Out Shilajit From Omica Organics Use Discount code: VFDF7M To Get 10% Off Your Purchase!
Chaga Mushrooms: Contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that stimulate immunity and help the body adapt to stress. It also shows anti-cancer, antiviral, and liver protecting benefits. Chaga can be incorporated into teas, tinctures, and extracts to harness its adaptogenic properties. With its deep umami flavor, chaga powder can also be added to soups, broths, and sauces to provide an immune-boosting punch. Also makes a great addition to dark chocolate brownies. Click Here To Check Out Micro Ingredients Chaga Mushroom Powder To Add To All Your Favorite Recipes
Radiate 21 Contains 3 Different Adaptogens (Ashwagandha, Una De Gato, & Suma) Along With 18 Other Natural Herbs To Create A Synergistic Formula That You Will Benefit From In Many Ways, IE Boost Your Lymphatic Health, Repair Your Gut Lining, & Protect Against Free Radicals.
Incorporating adaptogens into your daily routine can provide a wide range of benefits for both mind and body. These remarkable herbs and fungi have been relied on for centuries to combat fatigue, improve resilience to stress, enhance mental acuity, and promote overall wellbeing.
While additional research is still needed, the existing scientific evidence combined with extensive traditional use suggests adaptogens live up to their name. They help our bodies adapt to and counteract the toll of physical, mental, and environmental stressors.
By regulating hormones, bolstering the immune system, increasing stamina and endurance, and keeping our physiological systems in balance, adaptogens allow us to thrive in the face of modern life’s demands. They provide a safe, natural way to transform our stress response from debilitating to productive.
While effects may vary based on the individual and dosage, adding a few adaptogenic herbs or mushrooms to your daily routine can help unlock your highest potential. Treat adaptogens as powerful allies that enable you to respond to stress with equanimity, clarity and strength.