Our poor bodies are also regularly exposed to physical and toxic stress too – from household chemicals and pesticides in our foods to pollutants in the air and refined sugar.
No matter how healthy our diet is or how many supplements we pop, none of us are immune to the pressures of modern life, whether it be work deadlines, the daily commute or just simply never having enough hours in the day.
Thankfully, there are some incredible rejuvenating herbs that can help. It’s time to get acquainted with adaptogens.
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So what are adaptogen herbs?
According to the experts at Pukka Herbs, the clue is their name. “They literally help the body to adapt, adjust and recalibrate itself depending on our emotional and physical surroundings,” they explain. “So, for example, they can help calm in times of stress. They can bring peace to a racing mind in the middle of the night. They can give clarity when everything around is in turmoil. They can give energy when we are tired.”
The term adaptogen was introduced into scientific literature by Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev in 1957 to refer to ‘substances that increase the state of non-specific resistance’ in stress. Broadly, an adaptogen must have the four ‘Ns’…
1. Nourishing: bring nutritive strength
2. Normalising: raise what is low and lower what is high (eg energy, stress)
3. Non-specific: act on multiple parts of the body at the same time
4. Non-toxic: be completely safe when used over extended periods of time.
So, how do adaptogen herbs work?
“Adaptogens relieve stress by modulating the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands,” say Pukka’s experts. “As biological response modifiers (BRMs), adaptogens restore the body’s innate immune function and help the body adapt to different stressors. This gives them preventative and protective, as well as curative activity in compromised immunity.
By replenishing our deeper immunity and regulating our response to stress, they can increase energy, reduce stress, improve blood sugar levels, improve cholesterol levels and regulate hormones.
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Dr David Jack has shared a list of the herbs believed to demonstrate significant adaptogenic activity, which you can start adding to your wellness regime…
Known as the ‘strength of the stallion’ in India, this is used in Ayurvedic medicine to strengthen the immune system, treat fatigue, reduce anxiety and combat stress
Guards against disease and supports the liver. Great for the immune system and digestion
Invigorates sexual function, boosts energy, enhances immunity and vitality. Known as Siberian ginseng.
Increases mental alertness and builds resistance to stress. Enhances libido.
Enhances the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress
A member of the pumpkin family, this plant shows benefits for the heart, the immune system and brain function.
A red berry which helps with anxiety and insomnia. Supports energy levels
Immune system stimulation and regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure are just some of the benefits of this plant, which also improves heart function and circulation.
This is a super fruit containing all of the omegas and a large number of antioxidans and minerals. Grown in the Himalayan Mountains, it is often used to improve skin health, and is linked to healing psoriasis and slowing ageing. Used to improve gastrointestinal disorders and colon health.
Made from the leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree, local tribes have sipped yerba mate for its rejuvenative effects. Its leaves contain 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 amino acids and abundant antioxidants. Yerba mate is in Integrative Beauty’s oral supplements BeauTea and SkinShake.
Will you be adding some to your wellness routine?