Life can be stressful.
It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, and how much money you have—stress, like taxes, is an inevitable part of the human condition. Fortunately, people have been finding ways to beat stress for thousands of years, and one of the most powerful stress-busters they’ve found are herbal remedies known as “adaptogens.”
But choosing the best adaptogens for your needs can sometimes be, well…stressful. Don’t worry. We’ve put together a list of adaptogens so you don’t have to stress out.
The Best Adaptogens to Beat Stress
First, let’s address the proverbial elephant in the room: what are adaptogens?
Simply put, an adaptogen is a kind of herb or medicinal plant that helps the body evolve a gradual tolerance to stress. Think of adaptogens as natural “stress vaccines,” which inoculate the body against the harmful byproducts of stress.
The best part about adaptogens is that they are entirely natural, safe, and generate no harmful side effects, unlike synthetic pharmaceutical compounds.
Chronic stress ends up engaging the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis, which floods your system with damaging stress Hormones. Adaptogens work to ameliorate this response, by regulating stress hormones, modulating stress-related cellular activity, and just generally creating a more balanced response to stress.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at five of the best adaptogens to balance stress and hormones:
Ginseng is one of the most widely known adaptogens. It’s a potent anti-inflammatory, and has important medical benefits that contribute to your overall health.
Ginseng works by regulating the HPA axis, and drastically decreasing the body’s chronic stress levels. This, in turn, reduces the depression and anxiety that follow from HPA axis dysregulation.
And ginseng’s anti-inflammatory effects are significant in their own right: they contribute to reducing the incidence of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and asthma.
- Maca Root
The maca root, hailing from the Andes Mountains of South America, is perhaps one of the best adaptogenic herbs for hormone balance. It levels out the overproduction of hormones, and boosts them when underproduced.
It’s also one of the tastiest adaptogens, which makes it a perfect ingredient for smoothies and baked products!
Now, unlike maca root, ashwagandha is not tasty at all. In fact, its common name is a Sanskrit compound roughly translating to something like “horse stench.”
Which just about tells you everything you need to know.
Ashwagandha is, however, one of the better adrenal adaptogens, and acts to ramp up the functioning of the adrenal glands. It also works to relieve anxiety and balance the hormones. So hold your nose, and bottoms up!
Rhodiola (more particularly the species Rhodiola rosea) is one of the more potent adaptogens for energy.
One of rhodiola’s most important effects is reducing the body’s production of the damaging hormone cortisol during stressful situations. And since cortisol production is linked to harmful metabolic and hypertensive effects, anything that reduces its secretion is a good thing.
It may sound like a cheesy plaque psoriasis medication, but eleuthero is a standout among adaptogens for stress.
Also known as Siberian ginseng, eleuthero’s been used for millennia to combat stress. And it confers many other benefits as well, such as fighting fatigue and boosting mental acuity.
Reduce Your Stress With These Adaptogens
Stress may be a constant in life, but the best adaptogens present a natural and effective counter to its detrimental effects. Adding these remarkable herbs to your fitness routine is a good way to help you bust your chronic stress.
While you’re here, please check out our other posts for advice on how to stay fit and healthy.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.
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