Adaptogens are a specific group of herbs, roots, mushrooms and other natural plant-based ingredients. Research suggests that adaptogens help your body return back to a calm place of balance (i.e., homeostasis) after you’ve experienced periods of intense or prolonged stress. Some of the earliest clinical references to adaptogens for stress first began to appear in scientific literature in the mid-1900s. Today, people use adaptogens daily to counter the harmful effects of modern stress, boost their immunity, reduce their disease risks, and feel healthier and happier.

What Are Adaptogens For Stress?

Ginseng is a popular type of adaptogen.

Your body can experience three types of stress: 

  • Physical stress 
  • Chemical stress 
  • Biological stress

While the exact term “adaptogen” or “adaptogens for stress” is relatively new, the use of herbs, roots and other medicinal plants traces back thousands of years to ancient Chinese and Indian medical practices. 

Adaptogens can be used as a:

  • Topical medicine, such as an ointment or a lotion
  • Dietary supplement in tinctures, pills, tablets and more
  • Food, such as herbal teas or specific ingredients added to a soup or salad

How Do Adaptogens For Stress Work?

When you experience stress, your adrenal glands get fired up and begin flooding your body with various chemicals and hormones.

“The adrenals are two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys and produce several hormones, among them, cortisol,” explains Harvard Medical School. “When under stress, we produce and release short bursts of cortisol into the bloodstream.”

The current medical theory is that our modern lives expose us to high levels of stress 24/7/365. After weeks, months or even years of chronic stress, that stress begins to take its toll. Our adrenal glands experience fatigue and our central nervous system no longer runs efficiently. 

“The adrenal fatigue theory suggests that prolonged exposure to stress could drain the adrenals leading to a low cortisol state,” reports Harvard. “The adrenal depletion would cause brain fog, low energy, depressive mood, salt and sweet cravings, lightheadedness, and other vague symptoms.”

The idea behind adaptogens for stress, as proposed by various studies and clinical trials, is that the adaptogenic ingredients interact with your nervous system and adrenal glands. Scientists believe that adaptogens help your adrenal glands and nervous system to respond to stress in a more balanced and healthy way, theoretically improving your adrenal health (and thus your overall health).

What Are the Best Adaptogens For Stress?

Some types of mushrooms may work as adaptogens. Remember: Never pick or eat mushrooms in the wild that haven’t been properly identified by an expert.

You may want to consider using adaptogens for stress if you:

  • Feel symptoms of adrenal fatigue, such as chronic fuzzy thinking or a general sense of fatigue no matter how much rest or sleep you get.
  • Experience occasional moments of very high stress.
  • Experience prolonged moments of chronic stress.

Researchers note that adaptogens may help to:

  • Provide neuroprotective benefits, protecting your brain and neurons from the damage caused by stress. 
  • Reduce fatigue and naturally boost your energy without the need for stimulants like caffeine.
  • Improve your mood and reduce the risks of depression and anxiety.
  • Enhance your immune system, especially if chronic stress has been sabotaging your immunity

There are dozens of forms of adaptogens that you can try, but the best adaptogens for stress depends on your specific goals and experiences.

If you’re struggling with long-term stress, try ashwagandha or Asian ginseng.

If you occasionally suffer from short periods of very high stress, such as a stressful work meeting, consider Siberian ginseng, schisandra (a type of medicinal berry from Northern China) or the medicinal Arctic flower called rhodiola.

Finally, if you’re suffering from a weak immune system, try adaptogens for stress that also enhance your immune system. Prominent examples include ginseng and reishi (a medicinal mushroom, not to be confused with hallucinogenic mushrooms). Before starting with any new supplement, always consult your healthcare professional, particularly if there could be interactions with medications you’re taking. Taking a thymic protein immune booster like BioPro-Plus 500 is another essential way to help support your immune health, particularly in times of stress. To learn more about BioPro-Plus, click here:  How BioPro-Plus Works.

Interested in the Effects of Stress? Keep Reading More:

How Stress Affects Your Immune System

 

The Role of the Immune System in Contributing to the Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome