8 Adaptogens for Kicking Persistent Wellness Issues


With the rise in vegetarian diets and the shift to natural nutrition, science is uncovering more and more about how beneficial plants are for us. The biggest scientific trend in plant-based nutrition right now is adaptogens: compounds that counteract the effects of stress on the body and restore homeostasis.

Adaptogens aren’t a new concept by any means (they were studied during WWII). Their rise in popularity today has everything to do with the stressful lifestyles we all face. More people are looking for ways to counterbalance stress, inflammation, anxiety and other negatives brought on by modern life. They’re finding answers in adaptogens. More important, they’re also using adaptogens to boost wellness and get over the hump of persistent wellness issues that they’ve otherwise just learned to live with.

Here’s a look at eight of the most powerful and popular adaptogens, and the wellness issues they’re effective at combatting. Give them a gander if you find yourself suffering from any of these common wellness ailments.

Adaptogens for chronic stress and fatigue

The chief purpose of adaptogens is to rebalance the body, which means they’re most useful for counteracting stress. Three of the oldest and most-studied adaptogens are prime for those facing significant stress and the fatigue and malaise that comes with it:

  • Rhodiola: With 140 active ingredients in its roots, rhodiola is a powerful adaptogen. It’s proven to shield against the effects of stress and fatigue, and can even reduce symptoms of depression. Its benefits come from a boost in brain function, which can help you think clearer, avoid brain fog and process quicker.
  • Ashwagandha: This adaptogen is known for its energizing properties, which can give you a quick boost on those days when you’re feeling dragged down by stress. It also lowers cortisol levels, which helps to fend off inflammation. Like rhodiola, it can decrease symptoms of depression and malaise.
  • Ginseng: One of the oldest known adaptogens, ginseng is also one of the most widely studied for its stress relief and energizing capabilities. Its potent antioxidant properties can reduce inflammation, improve cognition and even boost your immune system, giving you everything your body needs to fight back against chronic stress and fatigue.

Adaptogens for immunity

One of the biggest tolls the modern lifestyle takes on us is the degradation of our immune system. When you’re stressed, it’s so much easier to catch a cold or feel under the weather. It’s why people are turning to these adaptogens to give them back their immune strength:

  • Chaga: Usually ingested in the form of chaga tea or as part of an adaptogen supplement, chaga is a mushroom that’s well-known for its immune-boosting properties. It offers powerful antiviral properties and its immune-boosting properties are well-studied. There are even animal trials that suggest this adaptogen could fight cancerous cells!
  • Maca: Maca is an acquired taste for many, but it’s worth it for the amazing immunity that comes with regular maca consumption. It offers a ton of vitamin C, not to mention a whole host of other vitamins and minerals. Maca is one of the most prolific adaptogens, and it’s still being studied to learn more about how it helps rebalance the body’s immune system.

Adaptogens for digestive and gut health

The gut and the brain are connected, and it’s important to nurture both. Unfortunately, stress coupled with poor diet are a killer combination for many people. For those battling stress and the unhealthy eating tendencies that come with it, check out these adaptogens:

  • Lion’s mane: Another mushroom on this list of adaptogens, lion’s mane is known for helping the mind and the gut. In the gut specifically, it can help protect against inflammation and ulcers, even fending off diseases like ulcerative colitis. It’s also purported to help balance insulin levels, which is great for diabetics!
  • Reishi: This mushroom (commonly made as tea) tea is widely available. It’s another blood sugar balancer and can quell a variety of digestive disruptions caused by inflammation. Consider substituting this adaptogen for your morning coffee—don’t worry, you’ll still get a nice kick of energy!
  • Licorice root: Often used to help quell the effects of leaky gut syndrome, licorice root is soothing on the stomach and can reduce inflammation in a big way. It’s also very effective at combatting acid reflux and indigestion. Dealing with a peptic ulcer? Don’t be surprised if your doctor tells you to take some licorice root! This adaptogen does it all for the gut.

Start supplementing with adaptogens

If you’re starting to feel the effects of a fast-paced, no-breaks life, it might be time to consider introducing adaptogens to your diet. From stomach troubles to brain fog, these plant-based supplements are helping people find balance in a world constantly trying to knock them off balance. Best of all, they’re easy to source and incorporate with your diet or daily supplement routine!

Evan DeMarco

Evan DeMarco is a leading sports medicine and nutrition expert, published author, public speaker and frequent guest on television, radio, and digital platforms.

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