You may have heard a lot about adaptogens out in the world today or you might be asking yourself, what exactly is an adaptogen anyway? Adaptogens are basically substances that help the body adapt to stressors (mental, emotional, dietary, environmental…) and help to reduce the impact or damage that those stressors have on our body. How well we adapt has a direct impact on our life, vitality, and health.
Adaptogens help supports the body in its ability to successfully cope with stress. Stress is a normal part of life and of being human. We are built to handle bouts of stress quite well. Unfortunately, in our modern culture, we have prolonged or ongoing stress – be it through work-load, environmental stressors, hectic and busy lifestyles, emotional stressor or world stressors – which takes a toll on us and it’s ability to rebound.
Our bodies are natural adapters – when it’s hot, our body will cool so it doesn’t overheat. When it’s cold, we fire up our inner furnace so we warm up. So much of this happens naturally without us actually being aware of it. When we start to notice things falling out of balance (we’re hot when everyone else seems to be cold, or it’s the middle of the summer and we’re still carting a sweater around and wearing socks to bed), our bodies need extra care. The more out of balance we are, the less we’re able to adapt well.
Adaptability or resiliency requires energy (or QI as we’d call it in Chinese Medicine). The more stress we have, the more energy we need to cope or adapt to it.
Sometimes we really need to look deeply at the pace and intensity in which we are living our life. But sometimes, by taking extra care and giving the body the attention and care it needs during stressful times, we can provide that extra support that is needed to thrive.
Chinese Medicine has been around for thousands of years and has many great foods and herbs that are known to help support the body and mind in stressful times.
When we’re able to replenish the energy (QI) in our system and help regulate our ability to adapt, we’re more apt to feel great and live a healthy and vibrant life. Sound good?
The following are a list of herbs that are best used as dietary supplements to help support the body when under stress and/or build up resiliency at other times so that when stress hits (as it inevitably does), your body is more equipped to handle it and bounce back.
These are never meant to be used the way one would a drug, to overcome stress, but more as part of an overall ‘plan’ to help maintain balance. Moderate exercise, Yoga, meditation, a healthy nutrient rich diet and adaptogenic herbs are all part of balanced wellness plan aimed at prevention rather than reactive medicine
“Trying to treat disease when you are already sick is like starting to dig a well when you’re already thirsty” Chinese Proverb
1. Astragalus Root (Huang Qi)
One of the most powerful adaptogens and body regulators, this is a wonderful Qi tonic and immune system boosting herb.
Found in Chinese Herbal stores or many health food stores, this is a great addition to bone broths or broth-based soups. Also can be made into teas or taken in tincture form.