June 15, 2023

Everybody encounters stressful situations from time to time. You can be struggling to fulfil job deadlines, resolve relationship issues, or just go  through everyday struggles that drain you. Regardless of the cause, stress can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health. When you're stressed, your body releases hormones that can increase your heart rate and blood pressure, leading to potential health problems. Stress can also affect your mood and behaviour, causing irritability, anxiety, and even depression. Chronic stress can cause issues with both physical and mental health. Fortunately, there are natural treatments that may assist your body in coping with stress and advance general health: we’re talking about adaptogens. These herbal remedies could help you deal with both physical and emotional difficulties. 

Managing Your Body's Stress Response

The stress response in the body is a sophisticated system that aids in coping with perceived dangers. When humans experience stress, the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis becomes engaged and results in the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. The HPA axis depicts a sophisticated neurohormone feedback mechanism that occurs between the pituitary, brain, and adrenal glands. This system of positive and negative feedback controls the physiological processes behind immunity, fertility, and stress responses. The "fight or flight" reaction is set off by these hormones, preparing our body to either resist the attack or run away.

Although our bodies have a natural stress response that is essential to our survival, long-term stress can have a negative impact on our health and increase the risk of conditions like anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Adaptogens can help your body adjust to stress and foster equilibrium in this situation(1).

What are Adaptogens? How do they work?

Adaptogens are organic compounds from plants and mushrooms that assist the body in coping with stress and preserving homeostasis, which is the ability of an organism to retain internal stability in response to external changes. They are different from other organic substances because of their ability to restore balance in the endocrine hormones, modulate the immune and nervous systems, and maintain the body’s equilibrium.

In order to control the release of stress hormones and reduce inflammation, they influence the HPA axis and other stress response pathways when we consume them. The body is balanced by adaptogens, which can also enhance immune performance, energy levels, and mental clarity. Adaptogens can also help to restore hormone levels if there aren't enough of them.

Adaptogens may also interact with the immunological-neuro-endocrine system, which supports the body's ability to control energy expenditure and maintain robust immune responses, according to studies(2).

There are several adaptogenic herbs and pills on the market, each with special qualities of their own. Eleutherococcus Senticosus (Siberian Ginseng), Holy Basil, Panax Ginseng, and Rhodiola Rosea are a few of the most well-known adaptogens. These adaptogens have been used in traditional medicine for generations to support lifespan and good health(3).

Types of Adaptogenic Supplements and Herbs

Adaptogenic herbs and supplements come in a wide variety. Here are a few of the more popular ones:

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera): An adaptogen thought to assist people in managing stress and anxiety, by controlling the body's stress reaction and encouraging serenity and relaxation. The roots are neuroprotective and have anti-inflammatory properties(4)

Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticosus): An adaptogen that has been used for millennia in traditional Chinese medicine to support vigour and longevity. It can reduce stress and strengthen the immune system while also enhancing physical and mental performance(5).

Holy Basil (Tulsi):  A sacred herb in Ayurvedic medicine that can help reduce stress and anxiety because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The capacity of holy basil to support a healthy digestive system and enhance respiratory function is also well documented(6).

Asian ginseng (Panax Ginseng): This adaptogen is frequently used to boost stamina, mental clarity, and physical performance in traditional Chinese medicine. Additionally, it can strengthen the immune system and lessen stress(7).

Rose root (Rhodiola Rosea): The traditional use of this adaptogen has been to reduce stress and enhance both physical and mental function, dating back hundreds of years. It can help elevate mood, lessen exhaustion, and increase energy(3).

Benefits of Adaptogens in Stress Relief

There are several advantages of adaptogens for reducing stress and improving general health. Some of the most noteworthy advantages are:

Reduce stress and anxiety: Adaptogens can help with reducing the production of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which encourages a sense of calm and relaxation. This can help reduce stress and anxiety.

Boost energy: Adaptogens can help you feel more energised and perform better physically, making it simpler to do everyday duties.

Boost mental clarity: Adaptogens can aid in enhancing cognition, attention, and concentration.

Strengthen the immune system: Adaptogens can help strengthen the immune system, lowering the risk of sickness and disease, and enhancing immunological function(8).

Potential Side-Effects of Adaptogens

Although adaptogens are typically safe, some people may experience negative effects. Indigestion, headaches, and sleeplessness are typical adverse effects. It is crucial to begin with a low dosage and raise it gradually as tolerated. Consult your health professional and discontinue taking the adaptogen if you develop any side effects. With the right approach, incorporating supplements into your self-care routine can be an effective way to support your overall health and well-being(3)

Warnings and Drug-Related Interactions

In recent years, adaptogens have become more well-known as a natural means of reducing stress and enhancing general health. These plants and roots are thought to support equilibrium and aid in the body's ability to respond to stress. Yet, it's crucial to remember that adaptogens shouldn't be taken carelessly because they are not a panacea. Before using adaptogens, it is vital to consult your health professional because they may interfere with some drugs. Additionally, they might not be appropriate for those who suffer from autoimmune illnesses, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Women who are expecting or nursing should likewise refrain from using adaptogens (1,2,3)

How to Use Adaptogens in Your Day-to-Day Routine?

You may include adaptogens into your everyday practice in a variety of ways. Here are a few concepts:

Brew adaptogen tea: Thee are tea versions of Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, and Holy Basil.

Use adaptogenic dietary supplements: You may get adaptogenic vitamins as capsules or tinctures. 

Mixing adaptogenic granules into food or smoothies: You may use adaptogenic powders like ashwagandha, and reishi in baked goods, muesli, and smoothies(2).

How Long Should We Take an Adaptogen?

You should take adaptogens for a certain subjective amount of time, depending on your unique demands and health objectives. A few weeks of adaptogen use may be beneficial for some persons, while longer-term use for continued support may be beneficial for others. To choose the best course of action, pay attention to your body and speak with your health professional(1,2,3,4).

To Sum Up

Adaptogens are organic compounds that can aid in your body's ability to cope with stress and keep its equilibrium. They provide a wide range of advantages for reducing stress, boosting immunity, increasing energy, and improving memory. Before using adaptogens, it is important to start with a low dose and speak with your healthcare provider because they may not be right for everyone and can interfere with some drugs. You may feel your best and easily manage physical and mental pressures by including adaptogens into your daily routine along with other healthy lifestyle practices. It's vital to keep in mind that adaptogens are only one component of the puzzle; a balanced diet, regular exercise, and enough sleep are all essential for stress management and wellness promotion(9).



Chandra Biswas

She is specialized in Cell and Molecular biology and is an enthusiastic researcher. She believes in sharing practices which are scientifically researched and proven.

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