Adaptogens: Organic Stress Relief

By Amanda Roland

We all experience the burdens of everyday life. Stress, anxiety, burn-out, fatigue — they are all very real and no one is immune to their effects. However, some of these side effects of life can be managed thanks to the help of adaptogens.

Adaptogens are herbs, roots and other organic materials that can help your body handle physical and mental stress. According to a Swedish Herbal Institute Research & Development study, compounds in these adaptogens can work to “induce increased attention and endurance in situations of decreased performance caused by fatigue and/or sensation of weakness” and “reduce stress-induced impairments and disorders related to the function of stress (neuro-endocrine and immune) systems.”

There is a long list of adaptogens that you can try and a quick Google search can open your eyes to the wide world of adaptogens. Here are a few easy-to-find adaptogens that you can get online or at your local health food store.

ASIAN GINSENG

Asian ginseng is a root that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, according to the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The root is commonly taken as an extract, but you can also ingest it by steaming the root or brewing it in hot water. It is considered one of the strongest adaptogens and when taken orally, Asian ginseng has been known to increase resistance to stress and increase general well-being. This supplement should be taken in the morning to avoid insomnia, a common side effect, and it is only recommended for short-term use.

GOJI BERRIES

These tiny berries can pack a punch. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that consistent consumption of goji berry juice “increases subjective feelings of general well-being, and improves neurologic/psychologic performance and gastrointestinal functions.” You can eat goji berries raw, drink pressed goji berry juice or find goji berry supplements (powders, capsules and extracts).


TURMERIC (CURCUMIN)

Curcumin is the chemical in turmeric that provides all the benefits. According to a food study published in the US National Library of Medicine, the curcumin in turmeric can be helpful in managing anxiety, along withother ailments such as inflammation, arthritis and muscle soreness. To take turmeric for health benefits, you can eat the root itself by grating it into other foods. Or you can buy turmeric powder or capsules to take as a supplement. Talk to your doctor for information on dosage.

HOLY BASIL

Holy basil is a leafy plant that is native to South America, according to Healthline, an online health resource. All parts of the plant contribute to its adaptogenic properties, and you can reap its benefits by taking holy basil in capsule form or making tea from the leaves. A study published in the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge found that taking holy basil can help decrease feelings of anxiety, stress and depression.

*Consult your doctor before adding any adaptogens to your diet.

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