What Are Adaptogens and How They Can Help
Considering how clogged the market is with nutritional supplements, knowing what can be beneficial for which health concern can seem more difficult than just being sick. However, once you break down what each supplement is, understanding what will work best for you is a simple task. With this article, let’s take the concept of adaptogens.
You may have seen the word “adaptogen” at your local health food store. But that doesn’t tell you much about what an adaptogen is. So, here’s a simple breakdown of what an adaptogen is, and what it can do for you, especially in relation to stress management.
Okay, You’re Two Paragraphs in, What is an Adaptogen?
An adaptogen is a typically-herbal substance which aids with homeostasis, to help a person adapt to different stressors by combatting certain physiological issues. They can often aid in recovery periods from minor illnesses and can be used for stress relief.
What separates out an adaptogen is its ability to work towards multiple issues at once. While they shouldn’t be seen as magic bullets, adaptogens will often have health benefits that are applicable depending on the situation; one can aid with strengthening the immune system, the cardiovascular system, and even one’s mood.
Some commonly-known adaptogens include a few names you might know already: ginseng, ashwagandha, and eleuthero.
A perfect example of an adaptogen is an herb you may have heard of, Rhodiola. This herb, which grows in wild arctic climates, can be used to add a bitter flavor to salads, can be cooked in a similar manner to spinach, and can even be infused into vodka, but it does have some use as a nutritional supplement.
Used in traditional Chinese and Russian medicine, Rhodiola has been used as a stress reliever for centuries, aiding Scandinavians in dealing with the cold, often sunless climates which they endure. Studies suggest that Rhodiola can aid in fighting fatigue, depression, and even diabetes and cancer. Some studies even suggest that Rhodiola gives a slight boost to endurance in exercise.
Sounds Nice; How Can I get Myself some Adaptogens?
With proper research, one can find numerous products with adaptogenic compounds contained within them. The aforementioned Rhodiola, for example, may be recommended to aid with depression and stress relief. While no adaptogen can serve as a miracle cure, an adaptogen, when incorporated into a regimen with a healthy diet and exercise choices, can aid one in reaching homeostasis.
The best course, of course, is to get the herb whenever possible. Having the herb itself gives the consumer many options to ingest it.
Since the world does not consist of one climate, however, obtaining enough Rhodiola (grown in arctic climates) or ashwagandha (grown in arid, rocky climates in India) for dietary purposes may be more difficult than simply getting the herb itself.
This is where some enterprising nutrition businesses come in. Many companies, in an effort to get access to uncommon herbs to the general public, will often sell proprietary blends, sometimes in a nutritional bar form or even as a daily chew (This website, for example, sells an adaptogenic mood chew that contains Rhodiola for a reasonable price). Whenever the herb isn’t an option, such options make consuming adaptogens easy and even tasty.
Naturally, precautions should be taken prior to starting an adaptogen regimen. Adaptogens are often not recommended for women who are breastfeeding or pregnant. And, as with any complementary medicine, adaptogens are not a replacement for a healthcare professional’s advice but should be taken in tandem with healthy choices.
But, if taken with some degree of caution, adaptogens can go a long way in helping you handle stress, fight illness, and adapt to stress easier.