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The lowdown on adaptogens and how they work on a curative, protective, and preventative level to restore the body's immune functions.
So you’ve heard the term ‘adaptogen’ knocking around and gathered that they’re good for you, somehow. Perhaps you’ve even started taking them in the form of pills, powders, tinctures or as superfood boosters in your takeaway lattes. But why exactly are adaptogens being touted as the holy grail of wellness? Here’s a quick lowdown...
The use of adaptogens dates back thousands of years to both ancient Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, however, the actual word ‘adaptogen’ was first introduced in 1957 by Russian toxicologist Nikolai Lazarev. He was trying to improve the performance of athletes and soldiers and was primarily looking at Siberian Ginseng, but found that many roots and herbs had the power to promote homeostasis (aka equilibrium within the body), which results in a range of physical and neurological benefits. Lazarev coined the term to refer to substances which provided protection and resistance from a wide range of stressors. And so, because they essentially work by helping the body adapt to stress, he called them adaptogens.
We face a plethora of stressors throughout our lifetimes; physical trauma like injuries, illness and infection, fatigue, over-exertion, hormonal imbalance, environmental toxins, emotional stress and cognitive strain. Luckily, these functional herbs and roots are perfectly designed to combat the ails of modern life!
Adaptogens are biological response modifiers (BRMs) - meaning they restore the body’s innate immune functions. Whether it’s by allowing our cells to access more energy, helping with the elimination of toxins, or balancing blood-sugar levels, they provide all round stress protection that has a knock-on effect on our overall well being. With greater resilience to stress comes the increased ability to face whatever life throws at us.
Different adaptogens have different benefits, so you can tailor your approach to supplementing depending on your needs. For example, Ashwagandha is known to calm a racing mind and help with sleep by regulating the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from the adrenal glands. Maca, a Peruvian root which is found in both our Power Up and Energy Food + Prebiotic increases energy, stamina and helps to balance hormones. Lion’s mane has nerve growth factors meaning it’s hugely impactful on cognitive health as it enhances brain function and supports memory. Another brain-booster is Rhodiola, which increases attention to detail oriented tasks by improving concentration. Both of these are key ingredients in Nootro-Focus, and both have short-term and long-term benefits; providing neuroprotective support and aiding with the repair and rebuilding of neurons.
As you’ve probably gathered, adaptogens are unlike most modern medicine. They do more than treat symptoms and bring short-term relief. These potent supplements work on a curative, protective and preventive level. Isn’t that better than just papering over the cracks?!