If you’ve been taking our supplements for any length of time, then you’re no stranger to ingesting adaptogens. Given their long-standing therapeutic efficacy, we intentionally included adaptogens in each of our proprietary herbal blends.
Adaptogens are healing plants that promote homeostasis, or balance, in the body. While this half of the definition is widely known, it’s actually the second, lesser-known half that gives adaptogens their remarkable power. Similar to the “whole plant synergy” we enthusiastically discuss with cannabinoids, adaptogens are single agents that trigger complex, domino-like processes in the body.
In other words, supplementing with an adaptogen does much more than slap a band-aid onto an isolated complaint. Instead, it helps your body respond to any influence or stressor in a way that normalizes (and improves) your physiological functions.
How do they work?
It’s no secret: stress kills. In fact, it’s one of the leading contributors to the six major causes of mortality and morbidity in the United States. The therapeutic potential of adaptogens is primarily linked to their ability to decrease the load of chronic, physiological stress on the body.
Adaptogens accomplish this by buffering the release of cortisol and epinephrine, supporting the HPA axis, reducing proinflammatory markers and neuroinflammation, and healing oxidative damage.
The results, across the board, are benefits for stress-induced symptoms like burnout, adrenal fatigue, memory, cognition, physical recovery, insomnia, anxiety, and even depression.
One group of researchers put it this way: “an adaptogen should: A) decrease stress-induced damage, B) be safe and produce a beneficial effect even if the number of administrations is more than required, C) be devoid of any negative effects such as withdrawal syndromes and D) not influence the normal body functions more than necessary.”
So, adaptogens help your body adapt to stressors and re-establish calm in the chaos of life. The delicate balance of your internal ecosystem is restored, and notably, without the risk of any harmful side effects. As a result, your body’s physiological markers of chronic stress are reduced and you’re left feeling happier, healthier, and more resilient.
Three Powerful Adaptogens for Stress Relief
Any conversation about adaptogens would be left incomplete without discussing Ashwagandha. It’s one of the most recognized, researched, and reputable adaptogens, and for good reason. In traditional medicine, ashwagandha has been relied on for conditions like “arthritis, asthma, goiter, and ulcers, as well as anxiety, insomnia, and neurological disorders” – and indeed, many others.
Ashwagandha has been given the nickname “the royal herb” because of its myriad effects on the body. For example, it exerts its effects on the neurological system, immune system, energy-production system, endocrine system, and reproductive system.
In one double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial with 64 subjects, full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract was administered to the experimental group over the course of sixty days. By the end of the study, the researchers found that ashwagandha significantly reduced feelings of perceived stress and serum cortisol levels.
“These two sets of effects collectively suggest that high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract mitigates not only the focal aspects of stress but also some of the precursors, consequences, and associated symptoms of stress. […] This suggests, therefore, that high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract possesses the ability to improve the overall well-being of a person.”
You can find Ashwagandha in Zen and Serenity, our two recovery formulations.
According to the Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC), a subset of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Rhodiola Rosea is the main adaptogen indicated for treating and managing stress. While all adaptogens buffer stress and its far-reaching effects, like burnout and fatigue, Rhodeola Rosea is one that provides an added benefit. It also boosts energy by supporting mitochondrial health!
In clinical studies, supplementing with Rhodiola Rosea demonstrates “a significant, consistent and steady improvement in stress symptoms, fatigue, quality of life, mood, concentration, disability, functional impairment and overall therapeutic effect.” While it’s majorly true: most quick fixes are illusory and unfulfilling; Rhodiola Rosea may be the exceptional solution. The benefits in one study were seen as soon as three days after starting treatment, and they were maintained throughout the entire 28-day study.
When it comes to stress-induced anxiety, which most of us (unfortunately) intimately familiar with, supplementing with Rhodiola Rosea also demonstrates positive effects on mild anxiety and its accompanying emotions. Just this one benefit alone should be enough to convince you to regard adaptogens as an essential tool in your wellness toolbox.
You can find Rhodeola Rosea in Rise, our focus and performance supplement.
DGL Licorice Root
Bet you haven’t associated licorice with adaptogens, right? As it turns out, Licorice Root is far more beneficial for our health than we could have ever imagined. Despite its association with childhood candies and treats, Licorice Root has been used as a potent anti-inflammatory for thousands of years in Chinese medicine.
As is the case with Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea, most of the ancient benefits associated with Licorice Root are now backed by research and years of gathering scientific data. DGL Licorice Root, specifically, is one of the main adaptogens used to improve the body’s stress response. According to the medical journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, supplementation with Licorice Root relieves the physiological load of chronic stress and enhances the body’s natural ability to efficiently regulate cortisol.
One of the most remarkable features of Licorice Root is its inherent plant wisdom. Yes, you read that right! In Chinese medicine, this adaptogen was used as a “guide drug.” It was (and still is) commonly combined with other herbs to enhance their effects and reduce their toxicity. In essence, Licorice Root guides the other herbs to areas in the body that are in need of the most support.
You can find DGL Licorice Root in Aura, our gut and immune-support supplement.
As always, you should thoroughly discuss your supplements with your healthcare team before beginning a new routine. Given their potency and wide-reaching effects, this is especially true when considering adaptogens; some adaptogenic herbs may interact with prescription medications.