Reviewed by Irene Pauline Humpelstetter, CNP
You’ve probably heard about adaptogens and their healing properties. For centuries they have been used in Ayurvedic and Chineses healing traditions and have recently made a resurgence. Adaptogens are a class of herbs, also known as “tonic herbs” that have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. To be considered an adaptogen, the herb must fit three criteria:
- They are generally safe, meaning that anyone can use them
- They help us adapt to stress
- They help balance hormones
When we are faced with stress, whether it is physical or mental, our bodies go through what is known as general adaptation syndrome, or GAS. The three stages of response in GAS are:
Adaptogens work by helping us stay in the resistance stage of GAS longer, so that the exhaustion phase is held off and we are able to adapt to the stressor. This allows us to maintain equilibrium and hopefully carry on without being too frazzled. When we adapt to stress, we can perform better, we generally feel much better, and these factors can even positively affect our health and wellbeing. Adaptogens can also help with other health issues that may eventually lead to excess stress, such as insomnia, pain, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, and more. Each adaptogen has its own set of health effects on the body, so choosing one to suit your needs is important.
This root has been used for thousands of years and is regarded by Ayurvedic practitioners as the most important herb for both men and women. Aside from it being an adaptogen and allowing us to adapt to many kinds of stress, it also boosts endocrine function in the adrenals and thyroid gland, increases vitality, boosts energy, positively affects endurance and stamina, improves digestive function, promotes longevity, and even strengthens the immune system. Ashwagandha is recommended for those with high blood pressure, insomnia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and digestive issues.
Living Alchemy’s Ashwagandha ASHWAGANDHA Alive is a fermented product, offering superior bio-availability.
Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb known for its ability to calm stress in the body. It is also quite energizing, which makes it great for exercise and increasing stamina. It works by raising and lowering cortisol levels in the body as needed, and also has been shown to positively affect brain function. Rhodiola supports cellular energy metabolism, boosts the immune system, improves memory, is beneficial to heart health, can alleviate symptoms of depression, and can even boost libido – something that is often lost with chronic stress.
Living Alchemy’s Rhodiola RHODIOLA Alive is a fermented product, offering superior bio-availability.
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HOLY BASIL (TULSI)
This medicinal plant is not your typical pesto basil. It offers a slightly more bitter taste, but comes with plenty more health benefits. Being a natural adaptogen, Holy Basil (or Tulsi) combats the effects of physical and mental stress, but also calms anxiety, beats depression, and increases cognitive function. Studies have also shown this anti-inflammatory herb to be helpful with bloating and gas, and though it is regarded as calming, it can also be energizing.
Living Alchemy’s HOLY BASIL Alive is a fermented product, offering superior bio-availability.
Our Adaptogens use certified organic herbs to deliver a complete living food matrix to help stabilize and increase your physiological function. You can find it at your local health food store.
NOTE: it is important to rotate your adaptogens every 6-9 weeks to ensure your body is able to reap all the different benefits offered by these magical herbs.
Author: Rejan Magee, Holistic Nutritionist. Visit her at wholeharmony.ca
Cohen, M. M. (2014). Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, 5(4), 251–9. http://doi.org/10.4103/0975-9476.146554
Mishra, L. C., Singh, B. B., & Dagenais, S. (2000). Scientific basis for the therapeutic use of Withania somnifera (ashwagandha): a review. Alternative Medicine Review : A Journal of Clinical Therapeutic, 5(4), 334–46. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10956379
Liao, L.-Y., He, Y.-F., Li, L., Meng, H., Dong, Y.-M., Yi, F., & Xiao, P.-G. (2018). A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chinese Medicine, 13, 57. http://doi.org/10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9
What is Homeostasis? – Scientific American. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2019, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-homeostasis/