Hello Everybody,

I’m hoping all of you had a blessed Thanksgiving and a chance to enjoy some rest over the weekend.

Today, we will continue our series on measures we can take during stress and learn what Adaptogens are and how they can help our bodies in times of stress and overwhelm.

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are a branch of herbal medicine that specifically help to restore and nourish our adrenal glands, known as our stress glands. Adaptogenic herbs also help our bodies to respond to stress, increase vitality and stamina, improve immune function, restore hormonal balance, mood improvement, decrease inflammation, and create an overall sense of well-being.

Adaptogenic herbs assist in helping to reprogram an overactive or underactive nervous system. These herbs are remarkable the way they normalize and balance adrenal function, meaning that if your cortisol level is too high or too low, they help to regulate, repair, and replenish these tired and overworked glands.

Remember when our bodies respond to stress, the hormone cortisol is released Being in a constant state of stress raises the cortisol levels in our bodies. Cortisol is a steroid hormone made in the adrenal glands (our stress glands) and is nature’s built in alarm system within our bodies. Cortisol helps to fuel the body to get ready for that fight or flight reaction. With each stressful situation or trigger, more cortisol gets released.  If our cortisol levels continue to be secreted and eventually become out of balance from constant stress, it can cause hormone imbalances, adrenal dysfunction, weight gain, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, elevated blood pressure, digestive distress, inflammation, insomnia, and impaired immune function. This stage is typically known as adrenal fatigue.

When our bodies are constantly pumping out cortisol from being stuck in a chronic fight or flight mode, these elevated cortisol levels can start to dramatically drop because too much pumping of cortisol releases eventually exhausts the adrenals. When our bodies are forced to produce cortisol all the time, the nutrients and ingredients needed to make cortisol become depleted. This stage is known as adrenal exhaustion.

These special herbs, known as Adaptogens, help to modulate our adrenal glands and encourage them to come back into balance. They also help to restore the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal axis (known as the HPA Axis) in our body. This axis connects the hypothalamus to the pituitary and adrenal glands to regulate stress.

 

 

Examples of Recommended Adaptogens

Reishi Mushroom-used to support and nourish adrenal function, also boosts immunity and decreases inflammation, helps to support the body in detoxification of environmental toxicities

Rhodiola- one of the most important adaptogens to help with anxiety, regulates mood, supports mental and physical performances and stamina, boosts immunity, fertility, and libido

Schizandra- tonic herb to help with mental and physical exertion, an amazing herb to protect the liver from damage, helps in detoxification process of toxins and hormone disruptors

Shatavari- assists in hormone balance, known as the “queen of herbs” in Ayurvedic medicine where it is cherished as a rejuvenating tonic and adaptogen for women, used also as a fertility tonic

Ashwagandha- used for deep exhaustion, soothes the mind, muscles, and mood, reduces anxiety, assists in alleviation of nervous system exhaustion, decreases inflammation, calms overactive cortisol levels and boosts too low cortisol levels

Maca- known as a nourishing and restorative tonic, promotes vitality and endurance, considered an aphrodisiac tonic, boosts fertility

Holy Basil- helps to calm the mind and spirit, known in Ayurvedic medicine as “Tulsi,” which means incomparable one, improves energy, reduces fatigue, improves mental clarity, and has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect on the body

Eleuthero- increases mental alertness and focus, increases energy and stamina, reduces stress and fatigue, boosts immunity, and assists body with detoxification

*Warning: can be too stimulating for those with high blood pressure

Siberian Ginseng-helps to calm anxiety, increases energy, increases ability to handle stress in the body, improves overall sense of well-being

*Warning: can be too stimulating for those with high blood pressure

Licorice Root- contains plant hormones that mimic the effect of cortisol (gives the adrenals a break from producing cortisol), increases energy production

*Warning: Best to avoid if you deal with high blood pressure and low blood potassium levels (hypokalemia)

 

Also, know that Vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex (methylated), and specific B vitamins needed in larger volume, are very important and needed when adrenal fatigue and exhaustion are taking place.

I could go on and on about what nutrients are nourishing and repairing to tired adrenals but you may have a book to read!

 

If you would like to know if your adrenals are stressed, fatigued, or exhausted, or desire a personalized approach for your stress or health concerns, please email me at: beautifulhealingjourney@gmail.com or call 717-341-3916 to schedule a Naturopathic Consult. You can be properly tested to see if your adrenals and cortisol levels are in need of healing, repair, and restoration. The specific nutrients, foods, Adaptogens, and stress management techniques your body needs will be personally tailored just for you.

 

To end our topic on Adaptogens today, I am leaving you with several recipes at the bottom of this article that will have an adaptogenic effect on your body…Enjoy!

And remember to breathe…close your eyes and relax, even if it’s just for several minutes…practice gratitude…and find some time for laughter today!

Be blessed my friends,

With love and gratitude,

Rhonda