What Are Adaptogens? The Ayurvedic Secrets to Less Stress

Holistic health is evolving, and we're all for it! Moving away from thinking of health as  simply illness prevention but total health and wellbeing and having a greater connection between the mind, body and spirit are all things we can get behind. Something exciting leading the charge are Adaptogens. Adapt-a-what?! We hear you fam, so we're giving you the cheat sheet to Adaptogens 101. What are they, how do they work and how you could benefit from incorporating them into your life.

what are adaptogens

Adaptogens can be defined as a nontoxic plant source that is used to help increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress, support your adrenal system, and promote or restore normal physiological functioning. Adaptogens have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayruvedic (Indian) healing and continue to be used today. One of the most notable plants which you may be familiar with are medicinal mushrooms which are powerful adaptogens we're huge fans of. Medicinal Mushrooms including Chaga, Lion’s Mane, Reishi and Cordyceps are common types that support the body in their own way to adapt and cope with stress. These mushrooms all promote immune system health and are great to integrate into your daily routine for overall health and wellbeing. Our delicious ‘Shroom Brew’ Super Latte features Chaga, Reishi & Lion’s Mane extracts.

Of course, there are over hundreds of different adaptogens that all function and benefit the body in different ways, depending on what you are after. A number of clinical trials have been done which demonstrate that adaptogens are able to exhibit neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, ant depressive, anxiolytic, nootropic and central nervous system stimulating activity (Panossian & Wikman, 2010). Without getting too technical, adaptogens function by buffering the stress response in the body to help reach homeostasis (balance). They can help reduce recovery time between stressful events and decrease the body’s sensitivity to outside disruption.

Below, we’ve given examples of 3 popular adaptogens and their function in the body.

Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum)
Ashwagandha is well known herb for stress. It helps improve the response to stress and help the body to adapt by normalising physiological processes in times of increased stress. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha may help reduce cortisol levels and help balance high blood sugar levels.

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Siberian Ginseng is commonly used for increasing energy and enhancing performance for athletes by increasing oxygenation of the cells. It also exhibits immune health benefits by increasing lymphocytes (components in the body that defend against viral infections) and helps stimulate the activity of white blood cells.

Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)
Commonly used for anxiety, sleep and digestive problems, Lemon Balm has a mild lemon aroma which is very soothing. Lemon Balm increases GABA levels in the body (a neurotransmitter that is involved in regulating communication between brain cells) to improve sleep, help reduce anxiety and increase calmness and mood.

Ready to stress less and adapt more? You can try taking single adaptogens or a blend such as our Shroom Brew Super Latte. Above all though, if you decide to include adaptogens as part of your routine we wanna know! 

xx Knowrish Well

Panossian, A, Wikman, G, ‘Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity’, 2010, Pharmaceuticals, 3, 188-224

Bohn B, Nebe CT, Birr C, ‘Flow-cytometric studies with Eleutherococcus senticosus extract as an immunomodulatory agent’, 1987, Arzneimittelforschung, 37(10):1193–6

Amit et al, ‘Antistress activity of Ashwagandha- a review’, 2014, International Ayurvedic Medical Journal, 2, 3

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