What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are herbal pharmaceuticals. They work to counteract the effects of stress in the body. Stress causes very real physical changes in the body, including harming the neurological, endocrine, and immune systems. Adaptogens have stimulant properties that help counteract those harmful effects.


Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that help the body resist stressors of all kinds whether physical, chemical or biological. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions. Some, like reishi, are consumed as supplements.

Although the word “adaptogen” was first coined in the 1950s, the medicinal practice of using these herbs can be traced back to 3000 B.C. in Ancient Chinese and Ayurveda practices. This term was coined by Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev, who defined an adaptogen as a plant that increases the “state of non-specific resistance” when applied to stress, meaning it can help protect the body against a range of stressors. 

Adaptogens are herbs and plants with special properties that are naturally occurring in nature and can help the body resist emotional or physical stressors. They help heal stress and fatigue and work by targeting the body’s three stages of stress: Alarm, resistance, and exhaustion (which is what happens when the stress alarm stays on). Some adaptogens you may already be familiar with are turmeric, goji berries, maca root and various types of mushrooms. But the list of common ones and their benefits is long. 

On the whole, adaptogens help your body handle stress. They’re meant to bring us back to the middle.


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