One of my absolute favourite herbal actions in herbal medicine is Adaptogens. Stress is an increasing concern for many people, with the effects of daily life continually taking their toll. Stress effects not only our mental health, but physical and emotional health, and works on a biochemical reaction. (I will talk more about stress in another post).
I find a real beauty in the way Adaptogens work. They are classified as ‘non-specific’, meaning they work on allaspects of a person. Their function is to increase our resistance to stress, meaning our bodies can cope with stress better. Stress can come from physical, mental, environmental and biological causes. The effects of stress on the body can be incredibly damaging. I cannot emphasise enough how much stress can wreak havoc on the body. But with the help of Adaptogens, life may be a little easier.
Consider Adaptogens as a tonic for the whole body. A tonic for vitality and health. They help bring the body back into balance, as they work on every level of the body (at a cellular level) and can be used as a long term treatment plan as they are generally considered non-toxic. They are considered adaptogens as they adapt to your body’s specific needs. They have been used for thousands of years to help strengthen the body’s response to stress, and increase our ability to cope with stress and anxiety. Whatever stress you are facing, Adaptogens may just be the answer. I always say to clients, I can’t fix what is causing them stress, but we can help the way the body copes with stress.
Here are my favourite Adaptogens, and their main actions:
Withania: without a doubt, my favourite herb. Withania brings me so much happiness. It is the herb that really saved me when my stress was at its worst. It has helped many of my clients get back to better health on many levels. It helps to strengthen the immune system, increase energy and endurance, reduce anxiety and assist with depression, reduce oxidative stress, reduces stress and lowers cortisol, and works on adrenal fatigue.
Astragalus: a beautiful herb that can help increase the strength of the immune system and modulate the immune response, as well as being anti-viral. It can reduce inflammation in the body, reduce cortisol and stress, improve cardiovascular health, regulate diabetes and reduces oxidative stress.
Siberian Ginseng: Siberian Ginseng helps the body by increasing energy, endurance and stamina, as well as being a beautiful herb for the immune system, which can help reduce severity of colds and flu. It can help reduce fatigue and the stress response. It has also been used to help treat insomnia.
Liquorice: I absolutely love liquorice. It is such a versatile herb that has been used for thousands of years to help treat many ailments. It has been used to help with depression and reduce stress, while helping adrenal and chronic fatigue. It also helps strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, is anti-allergenic and can help with PMS and digestion.
Schisandra: Schisandra berries are not like other berries. They aren’t like other superfood berries that can be added to your daily smoothie, or have a handful with your afternoon tea. They are a small little berry that are used for their medicinal benefits. They have been used for centuries to help treat inflammation, reduce stress, enhancing physical performance, reduce mental and physical fatigue as well as increasing energy. They have also been used for their anti-aging benefits and to improve memory and concentration.
Rhodiola: Rhodiola has a beautiful, soft, rose like flavour and has been used to help reduce stress and treat depression and anxiety, improve energy and endurance, while reducing fatigue. It helps strengthen the nervous system, immunity and memory.
Herbal medicine is such a powerful healing tool, and something that I hope everyone can begin the see the benefits of. If stress is taking its toll on your life, maybe you can look into the benefits of adaptogens and herbal medicine in general.