We are constantly dealing with stress and when we are under pressure our body is flooded with hormones and our heart rate increases as we enter fight or flight mode, this does not work well for our system in the long-term. This chronic stress can cause an inflammatory cascade, increase levels of stress hormones, blood sugar imbalances, digestion issues, and further long-term health issues.
There are a range of restorative herbal supplements known as adaptogens that we can use for extra support. Adaptogens are a group of herbs which possess adaptive properties, meaning in nature they respond and adapt well to harsh conditions, and they support us in a similar way. Adaptogens help to balance, restore and protect the body, supporting our hormonal health, energy levels, and immune system. Many of the herbal supplements we consider adaptogens today have been used for generations in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. These are our favourite herbs for helping to manage stress:
Rhodiola is one of the best plant adaptogens. In Russia, it has been consumed for generations for its nervous system benefits, and as a way to increase stamina and support immunity during harsh winters. Rhodiola defends the body against stress and protects the general health, as well as maintain or increase energy levels, and endurance. Research suggests it has an anti-fatigue effect, helping to increase concentration and supports the immune system. It’s a great addition for those under physical exertion and for supporting recovery after exercise.
Holy basil is another excellent adaptogenic herb, known for its benefits for stress reduction and supporting relaxation, and increasing concentration. It is also known as Tulsi and is one of the most sacred plants in India. It contains compounds that can help us to balance stress hormones and support our nervous and immune systems. Studies have found it decreases stress hormone levels, in particular corticosterone, the reduction of which improves cognitive functioning and reduces anxiety. It’s the perfect herb for brightening spirits and uplifting the mind.
Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful ayurvedic herbs and has been used for over 5,000 years for a variety of conditions. Traditionally ashwagandha has been prescribed as a nerve tonic and adaptogen, it helps to support the adrenal glands and evidence supports its ability to reduce anxiety and stress by lowering cortisol levels and mimicking the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. Similarly, to Rhodiola it has benefits for those under physical exertion, and it can help to support athletic performance and increase energy levels. Truly the ultimate adaptogen for stress, energy, and strength.
Maca is a relative of the radish and is native to South America high up in the Andes mountain region. Maca has many wonderful properties. One of the primary functions is to help balance hormones in your body. If you suffer from chronic stress, Maca can help elevate it by regulating cortisol which is also known as the stress hormone. For premenopausal and menopausal women, Maca is linked to an increase in the progesterone and luteinizing hormones which stimulates ovary function. It can also stimulate estradiol, an estrogen steroid hormone. Maca has also shown to increase sperm count in both infertile and healthy men. Maca works as a natural hormone balancer and increases stamina too.
Remember the goal is to manage chronic stress that can impact our well-being and decrease our lifespan. Adding these nourishing adaptogenic herbal supplements and even using them in combination can improve our resilience to the damaging effects of stress and restore balance to our bodies, leaving us better able to cope in the busy modern world that we live in.
At Living Alchemy, many of our formulas use these herbs and more, all of the ingredients used are certified organic, non-GMO and vegan. Plus we naturally ferment these herbs in a month-long process to activate the nutrients to a higher level of complexity to perform in perfect harmony for you.