Sometimes wellness trends are spurred by the hottest new breakthrough, but in this instance, it’s rooted in thousands of years of tradition. Used in ancient Chinese and Indian medicine, adaptogens are powerful herbs and mushrooms—like ginseng, reishi, and holy basil—proven to help the body stave off unhealthy stress and anxiety. With anxiety even being called the “Disease of the 21st Century,” it’s no wonder that more of us are looking towards time-honored, natural remedies for this modern affliction.
How adaptogens work
Adaptogens are named for their unique ability to adapt according to your specific needs. That means each has both calming and stimulating benefits, depending on what your body is missing at the time. By healing and regulating your adrenal glands—responsible for producing stress-busting hormones—they make sure your body can better handle anything that comes its way. This translates into increased energy and stamina, a stronger immune system, a clearer mind, and a big boost to your overall well-being. But miracles don’t happen overnight—like with most natural solutions, experts recommend sticking to a routine for at least a few weeks to experience the full benefits.
Four adaptogenic powders and tonics to try
Adaptogens: Astragalus, Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Turmeric, Rhodiola Root
The powerful adaptogens that make up this soothing herbal tea have been shown to lower the stress hormone cortisol while beefing up your immune system. Ashwagandha is a major herb in Ayurvedic medicine and is one that’s been studied pretty extensively. The most impressive of its benefits include protecting your body from the damaging effects of anxiety and stress, helping prevent degenerative diseases and mood disorders, and improving thyroid function.
Adaptogens: Turmeric, Goji Berry, Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero)
We’ve seen customers purchase the cult-favorite Super Elixir—launched by none other than supermodel Elle Macpherson—over and over again, and it’s no surprise. The greens-packed formula is specially created to balance the pH level of your body to ward off illness and optimize the function of your digestive, endocrine, and nervous systems—which in turn helps slow the aging process. It also includes adaptogens like anti-inflammatory turmeric and stress-busting Siberian ginseng for a holistic approach to wellness.
Root & Bones caught our attention because 1) founder Alyssa Melody is a licensed Chinese herbalist who’s been studying these miracle herbs for over a decade, and 2) each extract powder is wildcrafted or organic and impeccably sourced. Reishi mushroom is an all-around miracle worker, reducing anxiety, relieving insomnia, and even lowering blood pressure. We love stirring in just a quarter of a teaspoon of this powder into our morning coffee. The bitterness of the reishi actually goes well with your morning cup.
Adaptogens: Holy Basil, Reishi, Bacopa
This vegan, gluten-free daily supplement is packed with good-for-you extracts that bolster your immune system and jumpstart your metabolism. It also nourishes your skin with antioxidants and fatty acids for a lit-from-within glow. Adaptogen bacopa is also interesting in that it’s been shown in studies to improve memory, and in particular, new information retention.