Adaptogens to the rescue
The word ‘Adaptogen’ identifies a very special classification of botanicals. Anything awarded this prestigious title deserves a lot of attention as these plants are essentially tackling the negative effects of modern living on the body. Adaptogens will continue to gain recognition as more people incorporate these plants into their lives. Why? Because they are combatting today’s biggest health challenge: stress and its impact.
It is reported that two-thirds of all doctor office visits are for stress-related concerns. More and more research keeps appearing linking serious illness with various stressors as a root cause. We are asking more of our bodies than ever before and adaptogens (some of which have been revered for thousands of years) have made their way into the spotlight as part of the ‘modern-day longevity regimen’.
Adaptogens are defined by their ability to protect the body from various stressors both INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL.
Examples of external stressors on the body
- Lack of sufficient sleep
- Interrupted sleep
- Poor diet
- Sugar-heavy diets
- Over-worked digestive system
- Environmental toxins
- Food and water chemicals
- Noise pollution
- Extreme temperatures
- Excessive alcohol
Examples of internal stressors on the body
- Loneliness and depression
- Hormonal surges or imbalances
- Adrenal fatigue
- Illness of any kind
So you see, things we are all subject to in varying degrees. One common function of an adaptogen is supporting the immune system, one of the first systems to be taxed by excessive stress. Adaptogens also hold the ability to bring the body into a state of harmony with its environment or ‘adapt’ as the word suggests. One could say the old paradigm focuses on nutritional value and vitamins, while the new paradigm honoured the role of the nervous system with the use of adaptogens to maximize physical and mental homeostasis. This dynamic classification of plants brings the body back into balance while bringing stamina, vitality, mental clarity and optimum health.
Examples of the most studied and respected adaptogens include:
- Medicinal mushrooms (Chaga, Reishi)
- Maral root
- Pau D’Arco
- Cat’s Claw
- Hawthorn berries
- Angelica tree
- European cranberry
- Mountain ash
To summarize: Adaptogens check these (very important and impressive) three boxes:
- They are safe and non-toxic, even for long-term use,
- They increase the body’s non-specific resistance to both internal and external stressors
- They bring any dysfunctional body system back into balance, restoring homeostasis.