Adaptogens are substances that help create harmony and balance in the body. These plant extracts or other substances boost the body’s ability to fight the damaging effects of stress and promote normal physiological functioning. The difference between adaptogens and other beneficial herbs is that they work throughout the whole body at once to restore health.
According to the New Hope Network, here are several herbs that are considered to be adaptogens:
•Ashwagandha. Sales of this Ayurvedic herb soared more than 185% in 2020, an astronomical tribute to its growing popularity as a stress reducer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ashwagandha works by reducing cortisol levels in the blood which helps reduce stress and inflammation in the body, while increasing immunity and improving sex drive. A dose of 125 mg to 600 mg in supplement form is recommended.
•Rhodiola. Rhodiola rosea is an herb that’s been used for thousands of years in Siberia. When sipped as a tea, it purportedly increases mental and physical performance while reducing fatigue. To boost mental performance, take a rhodiola supplement of 100 mg to 576 mg daily. For increased physical prowess, try 200 mg to 680 mg per day.
•Holy basil. This herb, also called tulsi, has been shown scientifically to protect organs and tissues against physical and chemical stressors, says the New Hope Network. In addition, it helps normalize blood glucose, blood sugar, and fat levels in the blood. Holy basil may similarly improve cognitive function and memory. The recommended dosage is between 200 mg and 500 mg daily.
•Panax. Also called Asian ginseng, panax is considered to be one of the most potent adaptogens, according to functional medicine expert Dr. Josh Axe. It has been shown to produce feelings of calmness and could also fight fatigue in people with chronic illnesses. Most studies used a standardize dosage of 200 mg daily.
•Astragalus root. This popular herb is often used in Chinese medicine to boost immunity and combat stress. It also has a positive effect on blood glucose levels, says Dr. Axe. When used topically, astragalus may help heal wounds. Doses up to 60 grams daily have been reported safe to use for up to four months.
•Maca. This Peruvian tuber has been praised for its sexual support and fertility benefits. Studies have found that maca helps battle sexual dysfunction that has been triggered by depression. As a food, the New Hope Network says maca is a good source of carbohydrates and protein. Extract of maca can be taken in doses ranging from 1.5 grams to 3 grams daily.
•Turmeric. This popular spice is an effective natural remedy for reducing inflammation and boosting brain function. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is responsible for the health benefits that include reducing depression and reversing the buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain that may contribute to many neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s. An article in FSP Health and Fitness reported data collected by Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications demonstrating that curcumin is 400 times more powerful than metformin in improving insulin sensitivity and helping to reverse Type 2 diabetes. The study also found that the spice helped lower blood sugar levels and was able to reverse many issues related to decreased insulin sensitivity such as vision loss. According to Healthline, studies typically used doses of between 500 mg and 2,000 mg of turmeric daily.
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