Herbs to Bust
Fazmina Imamudeen chews over the importance of adaptogens
These days, it seems as if every new food product in the market – from artisanal coffee to fancy alcoholic beverages – makes some claim or another about being ‘adaptogenic.’ So what exactly are adaptogens? And more importantly, are they healthy for humans? If so, how should we consume them?
Do the names goji berry, turmeric, ashwagandha and ginseng ring a bell? Although these have been around for a long time, they have only recently experienced a surge in popularity due to their association with the healthy lifestyle trend.
Adaptogenic herbs are natural compounds that aid the body in responding to stress by controlling key hormone levels.
Consequences of chronic stress can be mitigated with the help of adaptogens, which include (but aren’t limited to) a reduction in anxiety, an increase in energy, the correction of imbalances and support of adrenal functions. If you’re seeking a natural supplement to help you get a good night’s sleep, handle stress better and have more energy, adaptogens may provide the answer to your needs.
A concept known as ‘general adaption syndrome’ (GAS) explains the three stage response of alarm, resistance and exhaustion, which is considered the driving force behind stress.
Adaptogens allow us to maintain our status in the second stage for a longer period of time. In addition to this, they assist in smoothing out periods of weariness and making those times less intense overall. In essence, these assist in maintaining our equilibrium for a longer period.
The effects of stress can be felt across a wide variety of bodily functions. It may not only cause us to feel weary but also prevent us from sleeping well or disrupt our natural sleep patterns.
We all know how cruel stress can be. It can alter our hormones, cognitive functions and appetite, and the way the digestive system works. And because all of our bodily systems have a tendency to influence one another, stress can wreak havoc with our general health.
Adaptogens help keep stress under control because they can modulate the effects of this influence. As such, it can be compared to the ability of a thermostat to control the temperature of a room.
SOME WELL-KNOWN ADAPTOGENS
Goji berries – Traditional Chinese medicine has long relied on these pleasantly sweet berries to aid with longevity… and with good reason. They’re perfect for adding to your morning muesli or a midday pick-me-up.
Liquorice root – You may find this root in the form of tea. But you should use this adaptogenic plant with caution because of the possibility of an overdose.
Turmeric – A beneficial and tasty food, which also improves cognitive function and mood. Grate some of this root, and mix it into your stews and soups if you want to spice them up. Have a cup of this golden milk… since health is wealth.
Ashwagandha – This ayurvedic herb is used for its stress busting, mood enhancing, energy providing and inflammation suppressing properties. Additionally, it can help the thyroid and slow progression of tumours.
WAIT, DO I NEED ADAPTOGENS?
Find out if adaptogens are right for you by answering these questions.
Have you been getting enough rest recently?
Are anxiety and stress common experiences for you?
And are you feeling tired all the time?
Does your sex drive keep you physically and emotionally unsatisfied?
You seem to be eating quite a bit, right?
How often do you feel like your mind is hazy?
Do any of these questions make you want to enhance your wellbeing? If they describe you, you should definitely consider trying adaptogens!