Combat Stress and Adrenal Fatigue with Adaptogens

Combat Stress and Adrenal Fatigue with Adaptogens

There’s an invisible culprit taking its toll on the physical wellbeing and mental health of billions around the world. And it’s not a toxin in our food or water supply. It’s stress. As our world becomes increasingly fast-paced and competitive, stress has become so normal that many people seldom even notice it any more. Stress, of course, is not all bad. It’s part of our intrinsic fight-or-flight mechanism, necessary for basic survival and dealing with difficult situations. But too much stress can result in major burnout, a state commonly referred to as ‘adrenal fatigue.’ Keep reading to learn more about adrenal fatigue, how we can prevent it with adaptogenic herbs, and some of the best adrenal fatigue supplements to help you deal with stress.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Adrenal fatigue is one consequence of living in a state of constant or prolonged stress. It arises from the overuse of our adrenal glands, which in turn makes the body less responsive to adrenaline. This results in common adrenal fatigue symptoms like general tiredness, weakness, depression, alterations in the body’s metabolic functions and sometimes changes in sex drive. Unlike normal fatigue, adrenal fatigue cannot simply be cured by a good night’s sleep. People suffering from this condition find themselves relying on caffeine-laden beverages to keep them functioning throughout the day – a remedy that may result in more harm than good [7].

The good news is that herbs called adaptogens, which have been widely available in nature for millenia, can help us adapt to increasing levels of stress.

 

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
Suffering from adrenal fatigue can make accomplishing even simple tasks difficult

What are Adaptogens?

 

Adaptogens can be thought of as a unique category of healing herbs that help restore the body’s natural state of balance, or homeostasis. They help the body respond better to stressors, help increase mental focus, and even boost the immune system [1, 6]. And, as the name suggests, adaptogenic herbs help a person better adapt to new environments or potentially stressful situations.

Adaptogens are often compared to thermostats because of their regulatory nature. Apart from being the best natural forms of stress mitigation known to man, these herbs have the unique ability to simultaneously energize a person while also keeping them calm.

There are other ways to relieve stress, of course. The most obvious examples would be deep breathing exercises or meditation. But taking herbs for adrenal fatigue is also a fantastic way to relieve many of adrenal fatigue’s unpleasant symptoms, on both a mental and physical level. And you can always integrate meditation into your normal life along with the herbs.

The Best Herbs for Adrenal Fatigue

Let’s take a look at some of the best adrenal fatigue supplements and natural herbs to help you deal with stress. The following herbs also come with plenty of other benefits on top of stress relief.

Ginseng

Ginseng is not only the most well-known adaptogenic herb; it is also by far the most potent of them all. A near-miraculous herbal remedy, ginseng is said to treat numerous physical and mental ailments, some of which include depression, fatigue, inflammation, tumors, nausea and diabetes. What’s more, the highly regarded herbal remedy is full of antioxidants and has been scientifically proven to lower blood sugar levels and regulate blood pressure [1], [3] [6].

General benefits of ginseng include:

· Anemic relief.

· Treatment of shock.

· Lowered levels of bad cholesterol.

· Alleviation of the effects of radiation.

· Treatment of cancer.

· Treatment of depression.

· Treatment of diabetes.

· Treatment of insomnia

· Enhanced hormonal functions.

· Enhanced mental awareness.

· Increased appetite.

· Regulation of menstrual cycle.

· Improved immunity.

· Prolonged life [3]

Currently, there exist two major types of ginseng:

Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

Undoubtedly the most popular adaptogenic herb known to man, Asian ginseng has been a revered form of oriental medicine for five millenniums. This particular species of ginseng is sometimes called Chinese ginseng or Korean ginseng. It is the most widely studied herbal medicine in the world.

Ginseng has the most stimulative properties of all the adaptogens. As such, it is highly recommended for the treatment of depression, although it can also be used to curb exhaustion, enhance cognitive performances, improve sexual function, and boost immunity.

If you’re interested in trying out Asian ginseng, this Korean ginseng is one of the highest rated supplements on Amazon.

David Winston, however, feels that it is easy for one to over-stimulate using Asian ginseng, potentially even worsening symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. That said, there is a much better alternative to Asian ginseng – one that has been unanimously declared the best ginseng species known to man: American ginseng [4], [6].

American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)

Grown exclusively in North America, this species of ginseng was popular among the native Cherokee and Iroquois tribes who considered it a powerful healing tonic. The best American ginseng is grown in Wisconsin and is in great demand all over the world – even in China!

American ginseng holds an edge over all other adaptogens simply because of the rigorous processes it goes through to ensure its purity and high quality. As such, it is a very powerful cognitive performance enhancer. Although its benefits are similar to those of Asian ginseng, American ginseng is also a lot less stimulating, making it a suitable remedy for the treatment of anxiety [4], [6].

 

Adrenal Fatigue Supplements
Ginseng: By far one of the best adaptogens for adrenal fatigue

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen from India. It’s considered one of the best adaptogens for adrenal fatigue and just the overall improvement of one’s quality of life.

Ashwagandha has been in use in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. It’s known for its powerful immune-boosting properties, helping the body build up a resistance to disease while lowering one’s levels of cortisol [1].

Studies have even shown that this particular adaptogen reduces stress levels by up to 44 percent and cuts down cortisol levels by 28 percent. It has also been found to be very useful in the treatment of insomnia and depression, as well as increasing mental focus and overall productivity [4], [6].

Ashwagandha is also commonly available in capsule form.

Holy Basil

Nicknamed “the Vitalizer,” holy basil has had as rich a history in India as ginseng has had in East Asia. For over 5,000 years, holy or sacred basil was considered an energy booster and a fatigue reliever. Its nickname was coined mainly due to the fact that the adaptogen is full of antioxidants which are known to revitalize the body in numerous ways. Furthermore, the herb is a great anti-inflammatory.

Other than regulating blood sugar and blood pressure, holy basil lowers triglyceride levels, improves liver health, enhances mood, and mildly alleviates depression. The herb is also popular with people struggling with nicotine addiction since it helps curb the withdrawal symptoms [1], [2] [6].

Holy basil is becoming increasingly popular these days, and you can buy it in capsule or liquid form. Or, you can try using the leaf in dried or powdered form.

Rhodiola Rosea

Otherwise known by the nickname “golden root,” rhodiola rosea is known as “the calming adaptogen.” an attribute that is linked to the presence of a phytochemical known as ‘salisdroside.’ Other than providing relief from anxiety, this component is also known to combat the effects of aging.

Research into the adaptogen has shown that it is just as useful when it comes to suppressing cortisol levels in the body. It contributes greatly to helping the body achieve homeostasis, boosts immunity, improves the quality of sleep, enhances physical stamina, and helps the body to build up a resistance against common infections.

Rhodiola is essential in the treatment of fibromyalgia (a chronic condition characterized by musculoskeletal aches and pains) and chronic fatigue. Research has also shown that it increases appetite and fights altitude sickness, which is why it is popular among Sherpas living around Mt. Everest [1], [2], [5].

Rhodiola rosea is also becoming one of the fastest growing adrenal fatigue supplements.

Other Popular Adaptogenic Herbs are:

  • Shatavari – this adaptogen is dubbed the “queen of women’s adaptogens” for one specific reason: it induces hormonal balance and regulates the emotional symptoms experienced before and after menstruation and during menopause. The tonic is also considered a fertility tonic that alleviates low libido and vaginal dryness [2].
  • Eluthero – This is a performance and focus-enhancing adaptogen that not only reduces adrenal fatigue but also enhances mental concentration. Being anabolic, it can be used to build and retain muscle mass [2].
  • Licorice root – A great energy and immunity-booster that prevents cortisol from wreaking havoc within our bodies. However, licorice root can drastically lower the blood pressure of an individual when taken with some medications [1], [5].
  • Astragalus – Popular in traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus is especially revered for the anti-aging benefits brought about by its main component, TAT2 [5].

Potential Side Effects of Adaptogenic Herbs

As great as adaptogens are, you should consult your physician about taking any adaptogenic herb in the following instances:

  • If you’re a pregnant woman or a breastfeeding mother;
  • If you’re currently on other blood pressure medication, prescribed or otherwise;
  • If you’re allergic to any plant in the nightshade family (tomatoes, potatoes) since the ashwagandha herb is in the same family.

Bottom Line

Adaptogens are by far the best suppressant of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is known to be the root of many health problems, such as excessive weight gain and chronic adrenal fatigue. Adaptogens can be consumed in a number of ways, including as spices in food or in beverages. And of course, in supplement form.

Hopefully you have a better idea of some of the best adrenal fatigue supplements and adaptogenic herbs for stress. Keep in mind that the benefits of these herbs likely won’t be felt immediately, but with regular use over time. Depending on your specific symptoms and lifestyle, certain supplements or herbs may work better for you than others.

 

Sources

1. https://draxe.com/7-adaptogen-herbs-to-lower-cortisol/

2. https://avivaromm.com/adaptogens-beating-stress/

3. https://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-ginseng-asian.html

4. https://reset.me/story/adaptogenic-herbs-ancient-balancing-tonics-for-stress-and-anxiety/

5. https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/what-are-adaptogens/

6. https://bebrainfit.com.adaptogenic-herbs-cortisol-stress/

7. https://adrenalfatigue.org/what-is-adrenal-fatigue/

 

Combat Stress and Adrenal Fatigue with Adaptogens
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