It seems like most people are looking for a quick energy fix these days. Whether it’s grabbing an energy bar or a specialty drink from the coffee shop, we are all guilty of buying something on-the-go that provides quick fuel. The problem is that the sugar and caffeine in these items do not increase our energy levels for long periods. In fact, they ultimately create sugar and energy crashes later that can lead to more fatigue. The cycle can be endless for many. If we add compounded stress to the equation, we have a recipe for burnout. This burnout can manifest in many ways: fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems, weight gain, hormone imbalance, headaches– just to name a few. How do you break free from this cycle? Let us introduce you to the wonderful category of herbs called adaptogens. Adaptogens help the body adapt to the everyday stressors in our lives. They also assist in repairing adrenal imbalances that could be contributing to your low-energy levels.

Our adrenal glands are two small organs located on top of each kidney that work to regulate our blood pressure, metabolism, blood sugar, cortisol levels, and even our response to stress. Adaptogens nourish the adrenal glands, help regulate the adrenal stress response, and resultantly decrease the physical impact stress has on our body (i.e. reducing inflammation, balancing blood sugar, etc.). Essentially, they help our bodies cope, boost our resilience, and provide energy.

Types of Adaptogens

There are many different types of adaptogens, and each has a specific benefit and intended use. Below, we highlight four of our favorites that soothe, nourish, and/or uplift the adrenals:

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a perennial shrub belonging to the nightshade family that is native to the dry regions of India, northern Africa, and the Middle East. It has been used for over 3,000 years to reduce stress, increase energy levels, and improve concentration. It is also a calming herb that is used to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and decrease inflammation.

Holy Basil

Holy Basil is a potent herb that has been used in India for nearly 5,000 years to improve energy levels, relieve fatigue, and lower blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol. While holy basil is related to the common basil in your spice collection, it is a different species and the two are not substitutes for each other.

Maca

Maca is a Peruvian plant that has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years. It is a cruciferous vegetable related to other vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower. It is high in nutrients like Vitamin C, copper, magnesium, and iron, and has been shown to improve mood, boost libido, and promote mental acuity.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola is the root of an herb that is native to the artic regions of Europe, Asia, and Alaska. It is one of the more stimulating adaptogens and has been shown to reduce fatigue, improve depression, and enhance the immune system.

Are adaptogens the right fit for you?

Adaptogens can certainly provide you with the support you need when you cannot push the pause button on life. They are not, however, a long-term substitute for adequate sleep, proper nutrition, exercise, or positive relationships with family and friends. Looking deeper into all facets of your life and addressing the true underlying causes of your chronic fatigue or feelings of overwhelming stress are the ultimate goal when working alongside a functional/integrative practitioner.

With any medicinal herb, there are some cautions and/or drug interactions. Adaptogens are not recommended during pregnancy. Do not start taking supplements without first speaking with a qualified practitioner about which one is right for you. It is also important to note that not all dietary supplement brands are created equal. The purity and potency of each supplement should always be investigated to ensure it is derived from premium raw ingredients and is free from harmful or unnecessary additives. Book a free consult call with us here to see how we can help guide you: https://pursuewellness.us/services/

For other health and wellness content, check out these other blogs:

Mold Toxicity: What You Need to Know
7 Ways Your Physical Health is Connected to Your Mental Health
Food Sensitivities: Can They Be Causing Your Symptoms?
Why Should You Work with a Functional Dietitian?

Resources

Mirjalili MH, et. al. Steroidal lactones from Withania somnifera, an ancient plant for novel medicine. Molecules. 2009.

Auddy B, et. al. A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. The Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association. Volume 11, No.1, 2008.

Cohen MM. Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. 2014.

Gonzales G. Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands. Evidenced Based Complent Alternat Med. 2012.

Ishaque S. et. al. Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012; 12: 70.

Mao J. et. al. Rhodiola rosea therapy for major depressive disorder: a study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Trials. 2015.