Hello ADAPTOGENS! You have prob heard this word out there in the wide world of health and you may be thinking WTH? ADAPTOGENS a subset specialty group of plants that talk the talk and walk the walk. They help you ADAPT basically. Adapt to life, stress, sickness, imbalance and di-ease.
They contain a special group of herbs, mushrooms and roots that are taken over a long period of time in order to help your body cope with physical and mental stress. The name comes from their supposed ability to “adapt” their function, depending on what the body needs. And while you may have only started hearing about them recently, adaptogens have actually been used for hundreds of years in in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine.
Adaptogens are thought to provide a host of health benefits, and scientists all over the world are studying the herbs’ ability to boost energy levels, balance hormones and soothe inflammation. Different adaptogens can help your body cope with different ailments—here are four of the most popular adaptogens and how to use them.
Looking to chill out? Pronounced ash-wa-gone-duh, this woody shrub has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (aka “the stress hormone”) and reduce anxiety. The most common way to take ashwagandha is in powder form, but it tastes slightly bitter, so you’ll definitely want to mix it up with other ingredients.
This adaptogenic herb (also known as “golden root”) is grown in the arctic areas of Eastern Europe and Asia, and is known for its fatigue-fighting effects and ability to boost mental performance. Taken in capsule or tablet form, one Swedish study found that it increased the ability to concentrate while another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that it improved endurance.
You may already have come across this Peruvian root vegetable—maca powder can be found in most health sections of the grocery store and in any juice bar worth its greens. Its purported list of benefits includes energy boosting, hormone balancing and libido-revving (yep, really). While there is someevidence to back these claims up, what we doknow is that maca’s nutty, butterscotch-esque taste makes it a delicious addition to any smoothie, oatmeal or yogurt.
Looking to knock a couple minutes off your running PB? This funky mushroom (it’s called this because it, um, grows on the backs of caterpillars) could help boost your endurance and stamina by reducing the amount of oxygen the body needs when exercising, nutritionist Lorraine Kearney tells us. There’s also some evidence that this functional mushroom has anti-inflammatory effects. These mushrooms grow in the mountain regions of China, but there’s no need to trek there to try them—you can find cordyceps tablets at vitamin stores.