Adaptogens For Stress & Fatigue - With ADDA
In today's burgeoning wellness culture, new fads seem to be a dime a dozen. For the engaged and health-conscious individual, it is often challenging to sift through these various trends to find meaningful and effective solutions to different wellness struggles. This is particularly true of those attempting to address stress in their lives, as they find themselves overwhelmed with different options. However, one fascinating new trend in the Western world has begun to gain traction thanks to its purported array of benefits: adaptogens.
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What are adaptogens, anyway? And where did they come from?
To get right at the heart of the issue, adaptogens are substances that "enhance the state of non-specific resistance" to chronic stress. To translate, adaptogens are different herbs and plants associated with positive benefits that protect the user against fatigue and or stress. While the modern science behind adaptogens is limited, there is a great deal of history regarding adaptogenic remedies in both Indian ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. For centuries, herbs like ginseng and ashwagandha have been utilized to help treat stress and fatigue in affected parties. Furthermore, cultures across Scandinavia and Russia have implemented adaptogens as health solutions to similar problems for many years. Their new positioning in the U.S. market is aligned with the rapid growth of wellness culture and the application of preventative health measures over the traditional American model of medicine. That said, some lesser-known scientific studies of the 20th century indicate the use of adaptogens in different forms, to positive results. As a more accessible remedy for the stressed-out, health-seeking consumer, adaptogens are a great option to add to herbs for energy.
Which adaptogens are most effective against stress?
There is a multitude of adaptogens that exist across different spectrums of medicine, and not all of these herbs are created equal. When it comes to the treatment of stress, however, there are adaptogenic options abound, which can make it difficult to select the proper option. We will focus on just a few of the more prevalent and increasingly accessible adaptogens: turmeric, ashwagandha, maca, and Rhodiola.
Is turmeric an adaptogen? Yes! A popular root spice known for its vibrant, orange color, turmeric is well-respected across many cultures for its anti-inflammatory properties. While frequently utilized for improving on the manifestations of physical inflammation such as muscle soreness, it also provides benefits for improved cognitive function, attention, and reduced stress and anxiety. For increased bioavailability and effectiveness, turmeric is best taken with black pepper.
As a staple of the ayurvedic tradition, ashwagandha is an important herb that provides a variety of applications to various health complaints. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that can help with chronic stress. Used as a stimulant, diuretic, and anti-inflammatory among others, ashwagandha is effective as an anti-stress agent, as well as increasing neurogenerative activity and overall energy. While powder and capsule forms are both available, capsules are more likely to provide the proper daily dosage for those who are uncertain.
Is Maca root an adaptogen? This Peruvian root plant that has been used persistently in Andean culture for many years. Primarily used for reproductive functions, maca also has numerous other anecdotal effects such as improved memory. In regards to stress, scientific evidence suggests that this adaptogenic herb may be effective not only as an energizer but as a reduction tool for both depression and anxiety. The common form is powdered maca, though it can also be found in capsules if desired.
Another widely pervasive herb, Rhodiola shows great potential as a multifaceted remedy as an adaptogen. Different scientific evidence suggests its capability to treat common stress, as well as mild to moderate depression and anxiety. Furthermore, it is suggested that it may be able to improve focus, mood, and overarching cognitive function. More commonly found in capsule form, Rhodiola can also be utilized in powder form.
While Western science and medicine have yet to catch up on the positive benefits of adaptogens, anecdotal evidence and history show that these remedies have an immense role to play in preventative health, particularly in regards to stress, anxiety, and overall mental function. Adaptogens are easily added into a wellness routine that will help optimize your individual health and stem the stress of daily life. As stated in one article, "adaptogens may be regarded as […] anti-fatigue drugs that: (i) induce increased attention and endurance in situations of decreased performance caused by fatigue and/or sensation of weakness (ii) reduce stress-induced impairments and disorders related to the function of stress (neuro-endocrine and immune) systems."