We live in a time where stress and anxiety are part of our daily life, while wholesome food and exercise are considered supplementary. We let stress take over our lives and find comfort by binge-eating, excessive drinking, smoking and many other ways. But, are these healthy ways of dealing with stress? What if you can help the body naturally ease stress and live the life you are meant to? Then, it’s time to get to know the wellness buzzword - Adaptogen.
Adaptogens are non-toxic plants (herbs)which are believed to help the body ease all kinds of stress be it physical (or) mental. Several studies indicate that adaptogens can help combat fatigue, enhance mental performance, ease stress and anxiety, boost immunity and promote overall well-being.
How do adaptogens work?
When we face stressors, the body responds through a three-stage process called general adaptation syndrome (GAS) which includes alarm, resistance and exhaustion. During any stressful event, our body naturally tries to resist stress but, in the mean-time also spends all the energy in store which makes us tired and weak. Instead, adaptogensincrease the resistance phase, shorten the exhaustion phase, and keep our energy levels up.
Adapting to stress helps us to perform better, without energy drain or anxiety. Now, let’s get to know a few ‘adaptogenic herbs’ and ways to incorporate them into our diet.
Amla (Phyllanthus emblica)
Also known as Indian gooseberry, is a traditional herb used as atonic for hair and skin for decades. Other benefits include prolonged youthfulness and good memory. High vitamin C content makes it a potent natural antioxidant and immune booster.
As an adaptogen, ashwagandha helps ease stress and anxiety, combats fatigue,and promotes sleep quality. It also helps restore hormonal imbalance in the body and is often used as a rejuvenating tonic.
Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Tulsi or basil is one of the most effective herbs that has been used in ayurvedic medicine for many years. Tulsi is known to promote respiratory health and boost the immune system.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris)
Cordyceps is a type of fungus that is widely used as an adaptogen. It is known to help ease fatigue. It also boosts immunity and acts as a liver tonic.
Eleuthero root(Eleutherococcus senticosus)
This adaptogen is useful especially for the elderly as it promotes cognitive health. It helps ease stress and offers better sleep quality.
Note: These adaptogenic herbs can be taken as capsules or topped on smoothies, salads, soups in powder form or steeped into a tea. Inculcate these herbs every day to live stress-free and healthy!