Fads Demystified: Adaptogens

Lanby Team

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that can assist the body in resisting stressors (physical, chemical or biological). These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic healing traditions. They’ve now been popping up across the wellness industry in the form of supplements, teas and foods. Each one claims to do something a little different, but the big takeaway is that adaptogens can play a role in stress reduction.

How do they work?

Adaptogens help us better adapt to external toxins and stressors through our central stress response system, known as the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. They do this by stabilizing our cortisol (stress hormone) levels and regulating their production to keep us in constant energy equilibrium.

The HPA axis connects our brain to our hormone system. When we experience stress, our hormone levels are affected, which means our mood, energy, metabolism and immune system are all impaired. Adaptogens re-balance our bodies and allow us to reach optimal functionality.

You know what we’re going to say next: just because adaptogens are supported by science, it doesn’t mean they should be taken without the supervision and instruction of your doctor. Consult your PCP to personalize the use and dosage of adaptogens based on your medical history, current medications, and health goals.

Which adaptogens are safest and most effective?

Here’s our top 5, most-researched-backed picks:

Ashwagandha: This medicinal shrub is widely used in the Ayurvedic practice to manage stress and anxiety through reducing HPA axis activity. It is mostly commonly found in a powdered supplement form. 

Astragalus: This popular TCM herb has been shown to have anti-fatigue effects. In addition to its adaptogenic properties, astragalus also has antioxidant effects and supports immune health.  

Cordyceps: This wild mushroom can boost energy and increase stamina through increasing the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). 

Ginseng: This highly potent adaptogen supports memory and brain function, increasing cellular energy without over or under stimulation.

Rhodiola: This root helps to improve performance and regulate “wired and tired” moods.

Fads Demystified