Adaptogens Are 2020’s Newest Wellness Trend. Here’s Why You Need Them
Never heard of adaptogens? Neither had I until this week. They're one of alternative medicine's best-kept secrets, but just like trending wellness practises like gua sha, they've started to trickle into our feeds and have caught our attention. With names like ashwagandha and sea buckthorn, we just had to dig a little bit deeper into the fascinating world of adaptogens to discover what they do and why we need them. It turns out that the use of adaptogens as a treatment for holistic wellness goes back centuries and is commonplace in Chinese and Ayurvedic traditional medicine. Intrigued? Read on.
What are they?
The word adaptogen might sound like a magical wellness potion, but put simply, they're herbs. They can also be roots and mushrooms, and they're generally available in powder form so that you can easily add them to your morning smoothie or cup of tea. They're named very literally after their ability to help the body adapt and adjust to stressful situations. Adaptogens can help to lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to help reduce the unpleasant side effects that people who suffer from constant anxiety can experience, including acne, appetite fluctuations, changes in mood, and disrupted sleep. Of course, regular exercise and actively deciphering your stressors is important to alleviate stress long term, but when the pressures of modern life are getting you down, these natural herbs can be used to form part of your wellness plan.
How do they work?
If it's all sounding a bit vague, there has actually been professional research into adaptogens and their benefits such as this study that proves that adaptogens have an anti-fatigue effect to improve mental exhaustion and boost your ability to remain attentive. These herbs regulate the release of stress hormones in the body which provides a fast way to improve your mood in trying circumstances. Another study that was undertaken specifically on the benefits of the herb Rhodiola showed that it significantly decreased cortisol levels, and provided patients suffering from chronic fatigue with a vast improvement in focus and energy levels. As well as acting as a mood-booster, adaptogens are also known to help with the following issues:
- Improve blood sugar levels
- Regulate hormone imbalances
- Improve cholesterol ratios
- Improve digestion
Initially, the thought of adding a stress-relieving herb to our tea sounded too good to be true. But, with solid research into their benefits of enhancing mood and regulating responses to stress, we're definitely interested in giving this all-natural remedy a go to supplement our overall wellbeing regime. Like any new addition to your diet or lifestyle, it's important to consult your GP to devise the best plan your you specifically and how adaptogens might fall into that plan.