My Favorite Adaptogens for Stress & Fatigue
Plant medicines and healing herbs are the future of healing. The funny thing is that they’ve been around for centuries and we’re only just beginning to embrace their powers in the Western world. Adaptogens, in particular, are a favorite branch of our friend Nick Polizzi from The Sacred Science, that he took the opportunity to sit down and explore with us in Episode 4 of Transcendence Season 2.
These non-toxic plants help the body resist stressors of all kinds; they recognize our stress and bring us back to normal. You don’t have to swallow a potent liquid or steep it in a pot of tea - some of these plants can be worked into your daily dinners. Adaptogens help to train your body’s stress response and how you manage the effects. You could almost call it a workout for your adrenals.
There are many adaptogenic herbs that have been used with great success throughout the history of herbal-based medicine. We highly recommend seeking a professional opinion from a trusted health care provider to find the best ones to suit you, but these are a few options that will introduce you to their wonderful benefits.
There are many types of ginseng available but the Asian variety is the superhero you’re looking for here! It is thought to help the body deal with stress, improve cellular metabolism, enhance immunity, reduce free radical damage, and promote healthy aging.
How To Use: Oral tablets/capsules and topical creams are available online and can be prescribed by your practitioner.
Before Use: This herb is not recommended for anyone with diabetes, a history of breast cancer, autoimmune conditions, or pregnant/breastfeeding women. It may occasionally cause heart palpitations, insomnia, or increased blood pressure. It also interacts with many medications, so be sure to check suitability for this first. It is also advisable to take periodic, cyclical breaks from taking this herbal supplement.
This herb has been used for millennia by ancient Ayurvedic practitioners to enhance hormone function, particularly in the adrenal glands. Ashwagandha is also thought to enhance stamina, immunity, energy, vitality, and endurance. It may be further helpful for treating insomnia, anxiety, and chronic fatigue... making it a great herb to consider if you’re feeling exhausted in both mind and body!
How To Use: Use as a base for a hot drink, blend into your daily smoothie, and tablets and capsules are available from health stores or your health practitioner.
Before Use: This adaptogen isn’t recommended if you’re taking sedative medications, pregnant, sensitive to nightshade vegetables, or suffering from severe gastric irritation.
Technically a berry rather than a herb, Schisandra offers a wide range of potential health benefits and is believed to reduce fatigue. This berry essentially counteracts stress by lowering our levels of stress hormones.
How To Use: Brew berries or crude into a hot tea, add powdered extract to your fruit smoothies, or make a juice if you can get your hands on fresh berries!
Before Use: Schisandra is not recommended during pregnancy or for anybody with epilepsy, reflux, gastric ulcers, or high intracranial pressure.
Traditionally used in Chinese Medicine, Eleuthero is particularly helpful for relieving the physical symptoms of stress. It can soothe muscle spasms and painful joints; those typical aches and pains of a stressed body! Eleuthero has also been prescribed for chronic fatigue, and may further support memory and mood.
How To Use: Take this healing plant as a tincture, tablet, or tea for ultimate absorption.
Before Use: While Eleuthero is generally considered safe, it can sometimes cause heart palpitations and insomnia. It’s also best to monitor your blood pressure if you have hypertension and are taking Eleuthero. This herb is not recommended for use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
This adaptogenic herb is believed to be particularly good at ‘adapting’ your levels of cortisol to healthier levels. It may also support energy production, healthy brain function, good mood, and cardiovascular health. Although evidence is not conclusive, Rhodiola may also offer some neuroprotective action against toxins, and increase our levels of serotonin (the ‘feel-good hormone’).
How To Use: Rhodiola Rosea is best taken in a tablet or capsule form, prescribed by your natural health practitioner, as doses can vary between individuals.
Before Use: Rhodiola Rosea is not recommended for anybody with manic depression, bipolar disease, or pregnancy/breastfeeding. It may also cause insomnia if taken at high doses and is best taken on an empty stomach, not before bedtime as it has slight stimulant effects.
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