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All About Adaptogens

All About Adaptogens

adaptogen powders in bowl

 

At TerraVita, we pride ourselves in using all-natural ingredients from the earth to help improve the life and wellness of our customers. One of the most recurring problems we have to face in modern society is stress. It comes in all forms and can exercise a heavy toll on the body and the mind. 

Luckily, Mother Nature is generous. She has made many ingredients available to help us protect ourselves against the effects of stress — those natural ingredients found in nature are called adaptogens. Nowadays, most of them exist in the form of powders that can be added to food or drink (in smoothies is a popular option). They can be consumed one at a time or blended together, depending on the effects you need.

So, what are adaptogens and what are their benefits?

What Are Adaptogens and How Do They Work?

Adaptogens are not a single ingredient, but rather a group of plants and herbs with similar benefits. Although each one of them has specific properties, their main interest is not the ability to treat a particular ailment, but rather their potential to promote stress resistance within the body. Some studies state that they may have a beneficial effect similar to exercise on the body.

When our body is put under stress, our nervous system reacts by releasing hormones into our body to help us cope with that stressor (adrenaline is a common hormone in such cases). if exposed to long-term, repeated, and uncontrolled stressful situations, the overload of stress hormones has a toxic effect on the body and mind, leading to symptoms such as weakened immune system or severe anxiety. Negative stressors can be chemical (alcohol, tobacco, drugs), environmental (extreme temperatures, for example), biological (injury or illness), physical (chronic loss of sleep, for example), mental (emotional stress, perceived threats, etc...), or simply day-to-day events, such as running late or driving in heavy traffic. 

However, the body can react positively to some types of beneficial short-term stressors, such as exercise. These positive stressors might even help to build resistance against negative stressors and regulate the levels of stress hormones in the body (for example, the levels of cortisol are lower during and after exercising).

Adaptogens seem to have a similar effect on the body, helping it to develop a resistance to the toxic effects of negative stressors. When submitted to stress, the body goes through three phases: alarm phase (the nervous system immediate response), phase of resistance (the body is resisting the stressor, giving a feeling of energy and clarity), and the phase of exhaustion (where fatigue takes over). Adaptogens seem to benefit the body by stretching out the phase of resistance.

Some of the best know adaptogens include ginseng, ashwagandha root, cordyceps, astragalus, liquorice root, goji berry, reishi, magnolia berry, lion's mane, maca root, turmeric, rhodiola, hawthorn, sea buckthorn, and holy basil. Although they all come with their own set of incredible benefits, they all have the reputation to support the body against the toxicity of negative stress. Many of them have been used for centuries in traditional medicines around the world.

What Are The Benefits of Adaptogens?

Adaptogens have a wide variety of individual benefits. Most of them help the body fight against stress or the symptoms of stress in one way or another, thus promoting mental and physical health, boosting the immune system, and increasing general wellbeing. When mixed properly, adaptogenic plants and herbs can even work in synergy, multiplying the potency of those benefits.

The following list contains some of the best-known effects of the most popular adaptogenic plants and herbs, but that list is non-exhaustive. The effects of adaptogens are very varied and numerous. Each one of them deserves some personal research to uncover all the benefits they can bring to health and wellness.

Anti-fatigue 

Chronic fatigue can be the result of repeated exposure to stressful situations. Ginseng, Rhodiola, and reishi may fight fatigue and Siberian ginseng could relieve exhaustion.

Antidepressive 

Stress can cause inflammation and hormonal imbalance in the body, leading to depression and anxiety. Siberian ginseng may help to decrease depression symptoms, Rhodiola is a traditional treatment against anxiety and depression, and turmeric could reduce depression due to a powerful anti-inflammatory property.

Improves Organ Function

Stress can lead to a number of internal disorders that lead to fragile health and a general feeling of discomfort.

Magnolia berry could reduce blood pressure, ginseng may help to regulate blood sugar, and astragalus might help to increase white blood cell count, lowering blood sugar and supporting kidney function. Cordyceps have the reputation to lower blood sugar and blood pressure and help to balance hormones, and another mushroom, reishi, might lower blood sugar and boost "good" cholesterol. 

Liquorice, mainly known as a candy flavouring, could stimulate the adrenal gland which helps regulate stress, and holy basil, close to the herb used in pesto, could reduce cholesterol and improves metabolic syndrome.

Improves Brain Function

According to some studies, ginseng may boost brain function, short-term memory, and is neuroprotective. Ashwagandha could also be neuroprotective. Rhodiola might support the cognitive function (notably memory and learning function), magnolia berry can be helpful with some neurological and mental disorders, and goji berry often sold in dried form like raisins, might improve focus. Maca root also has the reputation of improving overall brain health.

Increases Energy

Ginseng is believed to boost physical performance and sexual vitality (it's often used as an aphrodisiac), Rhodiola and maca root might increase energy, liquorice could have a positive impact on endurance, cordyceps and magnolia berry may boost athletic performance, and ashwagandha could act as a general tonic.

Helps to Regulate Sleep

Sleep is a regenerating time for the brain. Difficult or uneven sleep can have some severe impact on brain function, wellbeing, immune system, and general health. Magnolia berry can help to improve sleep, while ashwagandha, goji berry, and reishi could help to regulate sleep pattern

Natural Mood Boost

Mood disorders can be confusing and frustrating as it's a reaction independent from the actual experience.

Ashwagandha is known to be anti-anxiety and to boost the mood, maca root could also improve the mood, and holy basil may lower anxiety and promote relaxation

Why TerraVita Uses Adaptogens in Our Products?

At TerraVita, we are passionate about all-natural ingredients. That's why we integrate these many treasures of nature into our various products. Browse through the categories to discover the capsules or the extracts that will fit your needs the best. We have something for everybody!

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