7 Adaptogenic Herbs for Stress and Anxiety
Struggling with stress and anxiety can be a difficult reality for many. For years, people have looked towards natural remedies like herbal supplements to ease both physical and mental distress. In this blog post, we will explore what adaptogenic herbs are and the top 7 most effective adaptogens to manage stress and anxiety: Asian Ginseng, Eleuthero, Rhodiola Rosea , CBD, Damiana, Shisandra Berries, and Ashwaganda. Though these compounds have long been staples used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine as well as other cultures around the world to restore balance within our bodies; only recently have they become popularized by modern science due to their ability to help support not only mental health but also overall wellbeing too.
So, what exactly are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are natural substances found in plants that can help our bodies adapt to stress. They work by interacting with our adrenal glands, which produce stress hormones, to help regulate our body's response to stress. This is why the term adaptogens applies to herbs that enhance the “state of non-specific resistance to stress.” Herbs that fall into this category contain compounds that provide stress-protective effects by regulating homeostasis.
In addition to helping us cope with the physical, mental, and emotional effects of stres, adaptogens have a range of additional benefits, including reducing anxiety and depression, improving energy levels, and supporting immune function.
What sets adaptogens apart from other substances that claim to reduce stress is their ability to help the body respond to stressors in a holistic way, rather than just masking the symptoms. As researchers learn more about the potential benefits of adaptogens, they are becoming an increasingly popular option for people looking for natural ways to manage stress and improve their overall health.
Here are our top 7 herbs to help you manage stress
Asian Ginseng - Overview and Benefits
Asian Ginseng, also known as Panax Ginseng, is possibly the best-known adaptogen worldwide and has an extensive history of use from the doctors of ancient China to present-day supplement stores. It is native to China, Korea, and Russia and has been shown to possess a variety of therapeutic benefits. Scientific studies have found that ginseng contains compounds called ginsenosides, which have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-oxidant properties. It is commonly used to improve cognitive function, reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance physical endurance. Additionally, Asian Ginseng has been found to help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Overall, this ancient medicinal herb offers many potential benefits for those seeking natural health remedies.
Eleuthero - Overview and Benefits
Eleuthero, also known as Siberian ginseng, is a perennial plant that is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. It has been known for centuries for its powerful adaptogenic properties, which help the body respond to stress in a healthy and natural way. It’s not to be confused with Panax ginseng, Asian ginseng–technically, eleuthero isn’t a “true ginseng” at all! Eleuthero contains compounds called eleutherosides, which have been shown to have a number of benefits for human health, including improved stamina and endurance, reduced inflammation, and enhanced cognitive function. In addition, eleuthero has been found to support a healthy immune system, making it an excellent choice for anyone looking to boost their overall well-being. With its impressive range of health benefits and long history of use, eleuthero is a valuable tool in the world of natural medicine.
Shizandra Berries - Overview and Benefits
Schisandra berries, also known as Wu Wei Zi, are a small red berry native to East Asia and Russia. For centuries, they have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the ancient practice of Ayurveda to promote health and longevity. The berries are considered one of the classic adaptogens, helping the body better cope with stress. The active ingredients in schisandra berries include a powerful group of compounds called lignans, which are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There is also evidence that suggests these berries may help protect the liver from toxins, improve cognitive performance, reduce fatigue and depression, and increase libido. Furthermore, schisandra berries have been used as a folk remedy to treat a variety of illnesses including insomnia, headaches and dizziness. If you’re looking for a natural way to support your overall health and wellbeing, schisandra berries may be worth considering.
Rhodiola - Overview and Benefits
Rhodiola is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of health issues. It is native to the Arctic region, but can also be found in other parts of the world. The root of the plant is the most commonly used part, as it contains active compounds that have been shown to improve brain function, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost physical performance. The benefits of Rhodiola are due to its ability to modulate the body's stress response system and increase the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. Studies have also found that Rhodiola may help with conditions like depression, fatigue, and even cancer. Overall, Rhodiola is a promising herb that has been used for centuries and continues to show potential as a natural remedy for a variety of health issues.
Hemp - Overview and Benefits
Hemp extract, obtained from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant, and has gained popularity in recent times due to its numerous benefits. In case you have not noticed, most definitely love it! The extract contains compounds called cannabinoids, particularly cannabidiol (CBD), which interacts with our body's endocannabinoid system, responsible for maintaining several physiological functions. The potential benefits of hemp extract include reducing anxiety, decreasing inflammation, and alleviating pain. Research suggests that CBD is particularly effective at reducing chronic stress and inflammation by interacting with the body's endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate various physiological processes such as sleep, mood and immunity. This interaction can help to restore balance in the body and reduce symptoms associated with chronic stress or inflammation, ultimately serving as an adaptogen.
Damiana - Overview and Benefits
Damiana is a plant native to Southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America, and it has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its numerous health benefits. It is said to improve digestion, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase sexual desire and performance. Scientific studies have also suggested that it may have potential as an anti-diabetic agent and as a treatment for depression. The beneficial effects of Damiana are believed to be due to its high flavonoid content, which possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Further research is needed to better understand its mechanisms of action, but the overall evidence suggests that Damiana is a phenomenal adaptogenic and libidinal herb.
Ashwaganda - Overview and Benefits
Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is a natural herb that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. The name itself, ashwagandha, comes from Sanskrit and translates to “smell of a horse,” perhaps because of its strong aroma and the belief that consuming it may give one the strength and vitality of a horse. Ashwagandha has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its potential health benefits, which include reducing stress and anxiety, improving brain function, and even boosting fertility in men. This adaptogenic herb is highly valued for its ability to help the body manage stress in a natural way, making it a popular supplement among those who lead busy and demanding lives.
Final Thoughts on Adaptogens
In conclusion, adaptogens are natural herbal medicines that help manage stress and improve overall wellbeing. Many of these herbs have been used for centuries in traditional medicine as powerful remedies. By adding them to your daily health routine, you can restore balance in the body and support optimal functioning. We explored some of the most popular adaptogen herbs, such as Asian ginseng, eleuthero, rhodiola, hemp, damiana, shisandra berries and ashwagandha. There are a variety of ways to incorporate these herbs into your daily routine - from drinking tea to taking supplements – that may bring about tremendous health benefits. Ultimately, it is important to research each herb thoroughly so you can decide what will work best for you and your individual needs. While xula is not adaptogenic centric, all of our products do contain hemp, you can find damiana in calm + clarity and schisandra berries in moon-a-pause.
Xiang, Yao-Zu, et al. (2008) A comparison of the ancient use of ginseng in traditional Chinese medicine with modern pharmacological experiments and clinical trials. National Library of Medicine https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18567057/
Panossian A, et al. (2020). Evolution of the adaptogenic concept from traditional use to medical systems: Pharmacology of stress‐ and aging‐related diseases. National Library of Medicine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7756641/
Panossian A, et al. (2010). Effects of adaptogens on the central nervous system and the molecular mechanisms associated with their stress—protective activity. DOI: . doi.org/10.3390/ph3010188
Calcabrini C, De Bellis R, Mancini U, Cucchiarini L, Potenza L, De Sanctis R, Patrone V, Scesa C, Dachà M. Rhodiola rosea ability to enrich cellular antioxidant defences of cultured human keratinocytes. Arch Dermatol Res. 2010 Apr;302(3):191-200. doi: 10.1007/s00403-009-0985-z. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19705137/
Lu Y, Chen DF. Analysis of Schisandra chinensis and Schisandra sphenanthera. J Chromatogr A. 2009 Mar 13;1216(11):1980-90. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2008.09.070. Epub 2008 Sep 26. PMID: 18849034.
Morgan, A.J., Jorm, A.F. Self-help interventions for depressive disorders and depressive symptoms: a systematic review. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7, 13 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-859X-7-13