Have you ever had a stressed out friend looking at you all puzzled and asking, ‘Umm…so, what are adaptogenic herbs?’
Well I have, let me explain…
The other day I had two of my friends over for a Sunday brunch.
While we enjoyed a nourishing Ayurvedic breakfast, neither of them could stop talking about how things were so busy at work.
How so and so colleague was being nasty, and how they were feeling stressed and rundown all the time.
As I sat there listening and sipping my Tulsi tea, I realised it is not just my girlfriends who feel so stressed and anxious.
I have a feeling that you (yes, I’m talking to you) have been there too.
Wearing allll the hats.
Managing things at home.
Killing it at work.
Trying to start your own business on the side.
With all these responsibilities it’s inevitable you’re feeling drained and worn out worried, right?
If you’re looking to treat your stress naturally, I’m not surprised you’re wondering what are adaptogenic herbs.
Well let me tell you, they’re your best friend, and in this article you’re about to learn why.
Don’t think stress is such an issue?
Before I show you what adaptogenic herbs are, let’s re-look at stress and how damaging it can be on us physically.
STRESS IS KILLING US
Stress is no longer that tense feeling your get before a math exam or a first date – it goes far beyond that.
No! stress has taken a toll on us in this tech-driven world and it has become a deadly disease. It really is killing us and that’s not just me exaggerating. Scientists have proved that chronic stress leads to obesity, depression & heart disease.
But don’t just take my word for it.
- Extreme stress leads to heart disease, which alone has caused more than 600,000 deaths.
- A 2017 survey by the American Psychological Association shows that 48% of the millennials worry about the effects of social media on their physical and mental health.
At the root of stress related diseases lie a number of issues.
Tension at your workplace, lack of personal safety, too much social media (yes, that’s true) and even the changing political climate around the world.
Yet if we want to get rid of work-related stress, can we all quit our jobs, delete our Instagram accounts and go sip coconuts on the beach? Nope, you and I have to show up at work, whether we like it or not.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE STRESS?
The American Psychological Association says that 42% of Americans don’t know what to do to manage stress.
Drinking, smoking, binge-eating, being a couch-potato, shopping and not acknowledging that you’re stressed are the most common ways in which the world deals with stress. And look how that’s working out!
Surely enough, none of these ways help. They only make things worse, creating a whole (new) range of personal, health and financial issues.
HANDLING STRESS THE NATURAL & HOLISTIC WAY
Want to know how to manage stress naturally? This is the simple formula I shared with my girlfriends:
- Use adaptogenic herbs (keep reading to discover which ones)
- Massage yourself
- Meditate (even those 2 minutes help!)
- Eat healthy
- Do a weekly digital detox
- Use essentials oils and
- Get your 8 hours of beauty sleep
Sounds like a lot? You have to take the first step somewhere and that’s why you need to know….
WHAT ARE ADAPTOGENIC HERBS?
Adaptogens are natural substances that help your body respond to stress and make you resilient.
Ever seen how a thermostat works? If the room temperature gets too high, the thermostat senses it and lowers the heat. If the room becomes too cold, the thermostat pumps up the heat.
Adaptogenic herbs are pretty similar to the thermostat in your apartment.
If you’re hyperventilating, they calm you down. If you’re feeling low and fatigued, they pick you up and leave you bouncing with energy. And the best part is they don’t overstimulate your system.
10 HEALTH BENEFITS OF ADAPTOGENIC HERBS
Now that you know what adaptogenic herbs are, let’s find out why they’re good for you:
1. Help your body adapt to stress
The #1 reason why adaptogenic herbs are amazing is because they help your feel better you’re down and out, low on energy and worried.
Losing sleep coz you’re stressed out? Some adaptogenic herbs can help you sleep better.
2. Reduce the production of cortisol
Higher cortisol levels make you prone to weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and loss of bone density. Using adaptogenic herbs such as Ashwagandha and Tulsi reduces cortisol in your body – keeping inches off the waist line.
3. Reduce fatigue
One of the most powerful health benefits of adaptogenic herbs is their ability to kick fatigue in the butt.
4. Improve your adrenal health
Suffering from adrenal fatigue? If your adrenals are overworked you can learn how to use adaptogenic herbs to heal faster and regain your energy.
5. Help to balance your body and mind
Ancient medicinal systems such as Ayurveda believe that true health is possible when the body and mind is in balance. Adaptogenic herbs stabilise any imbalance in your body by creating homeostasis.
6. No ENERGETIC crashes
Another plus point about adaptogens is that they don’t give you energy highs and crashes like sugar and coffee do. They gradually lift and balance you from the inside.
7. SAFE FOR LONG-TERM USE
Are you skeptical about the safety of adaptogenic herbs, and whether they’re healthy for long term use?
Then don’t worry because they are non-toxic, and can be used over a long period of time without any side effects (unlike many of medicines available today which have a long list of adverse effects attached to them).
8. Help you cope with anxiety
Feel anxious way too often? Adaptogens are super helpful to manage anxiety naturally because they are rich in antioxidants and anti-stress compounds. Adaptogenic herbs like Ginseng & Rhodiola can improve your mood & mental performance.
9. Rejuvenate and detox your cells
A healthy body needs happy cells! Adaptogens support cell function by helping cells access energy and eliminating toxins collected by them during metabolism.
10. Make your body use oxygen more effectively
Apart from all the health benefits that adaptogenic herbs have to offer, they also take care of oxygen transportation which builds your endurance and stamina.
They are what you need to reduce all that stress. And we all know that stress kills, and personally, I don’t want to die young.
ADAPTOGENIC HERBS AND WOMEN
Now you may be wondering, hey wait a minute, where have these adaptogenic herbs been all my life?
The fact is they’re as ancient as humanity is.
Perhaps even more. Long before civilisation evolved and at the time when people lived in tribes, it was women who knew how to forage herbs in the wild.
Being the mad scientists of those days, women experimented with each herb to understand its true healing properties and the best ways to use them.
As a woman who’s connected to the earth, I feel like using adaptogenic herbs is the most natural way for me fight stress (rather than popping a Xanax – been there done that!)
Adaptogenic herbs been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to lift one’s energy and effectively deal with stress.
Believe me, this is not me trying to teach you history. This info is backed up by tons of scientific studies that have proved that adaptogens do have great benefits.
HOW TO USE ADAPTOGENIC HERBS: MY TOP 5
When I found myself wondering what are adaptogenic herbs, I went out of my way to get the inside scope, then, to try as many as I could until i found those which worked for me.
After lots of different experiments, I discover 5 adaptogenic herbs that I swear by and I use them daily. My favorite adaptogenic herbs are actually also Ayurvedic super herbs – Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Jatamansi, Neem and Tulsi.
Curious how they can help?
Let me run you through them quickly.
Also known as Withania Somnifera in Latin and Indian Ginseng, Ashwagandha literally means the strength of a stallion in Sanskrit. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that improves your vitality by filling you with the life force that we all thrive on.
You can use Ashwagandha both internally and externally. You can have it as a tea, tablet, powder and also create home remedies with it. If you want to make your skin firm and lustrous, apply Ashwagandha-infused powder and oil to your skin.
Brahmi or Bacopa Monnieri is an aquatic plant which is possibly the best adaptogenic herb for your brain. It has been used in Ayurveda for its calming, balancing and concentration-improving properties.
If your brain feels foggy and you have trouble focusing, start your day with a cup of Brahmi tea. If you don’t like how the tea tastes, try taking Brahmi tablets, and seriously, nothing compares to a Brahmi oil head massage before you go to bed. This relieves all your stress and helps you sleep like a baby.
This root of a flowering plant – Nardostachys Jatamansi or Spikenard has been used since ages for calming the body and mind. A study shows that the antioxidants in Jatamansi create an anti-stress effect.
Jatamansi can be taken internally in the form of tablets and powder. You can also directly inhale its essential oil from the palm of your hand after rubbing it on.This will make your feel relaxed. The powdered herb is also an important ingredient used in Ayurvedic skincare and haircare.
Neem is a winner when it comes to being a multipurpose adaptogenic herb. Nicknamed the village pharmacy in India, Neem can treat anything from skin inflammation to anxiety.
A study has shown that Neem has equal or even higher anti-anxiety effect than Valium.
To tap into the overall wellness that Neem provides, you can have Neem capsules twice a day after your meals. Not a big fan of capsules? Then try a cup of Neem tea. Another great way to calm down is a Neem oil head massage.
Tulsi holds the title of the Queen of Herbs in Ayurveda and it totally deserves that. Many scientific studies have shown that Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb with healing properties.
This stress relieving and energizing plant makes your immune system stronger and boosts your stamina so you can keep going. Loaded with antioxidants, it slows down aging and puts you in a good mood.
The best way to have Tulsi is to brew a tea with dried or fresh Tulsi leaves. Tulsi tablets are also popular and Tulsi juice/paste is used in many Ayurvedic home remedies.
PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE WHEN USING ADAPTOGENIC HERBS
Though adaptogenic herbs are safe, you should keep in mind that each person has a unique dosha (an individual’s mind-body constitution) and medical history. This means that not all adaptogenic herbs are suitable and completely safe for everybody.
The thumb rule is that pregnant and nursing women should never take adaptogenic herbs because it can be fatal for them and their baby.
Also, if you’re already on prescribed meds, talk to your general physician or consult an Ayurvedic doctor before using any.
Though, in all honesty if you’re found yourself wondering what are adaptogenic herbs, you probably need to get a few of them into your health care regime.
Ready to beat all that stress the Ayurvedic way?
A couple of years ago I had a burnout and it happened because I worked way too much (and didn’t give a damn about self-care). You know what came to my rescue? The very same herbs I’ve been talking to you about.
So the next time someone asks you, ‘hey, what are adaptogenic herbs?’, I hope you’re able to teach them a thing or two about this kickass way to deal with stress and slow down stress-related aging.
If you found the answer to your question: What are adaptogenic herbs? Discovered a few herbs to try, and are excited and enjoying there many benefits. I’d love if you shared this post with others (we love Pinterest).