How to Build Adaptogens into your Daily Routine
If you’ve been following our feed for a while, you might have noticed that we’re kind of obsessed with Adaptogens and how they can work to balance hormones, neurotransmitters, and our body's overall response to stress. In this blog, we’re going to cover what Adaptogens are, why people have used them throughout history, and how & when to incorporate Adaptogens into your daily wellness routine.
What are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens come in many forms including plants, roots, herbs, and mushrooms. They are called adaptogens because of their ability to “adapt” their function according to the body’s specific needs to help the body adapt to stress, support normal metabolic function, and restore homeostasis.
Adaptogens increase the body's resistance to physical, biological, and environmental stressors by providing an arsenal that helps the body cope with symptoms of stress such as anxiety, mental fatigue and sleeplessness before they hit.
History of Adaptogens
While Adaptogens are a hot topic in the wellness world right now, they have been used in traditional Chinese Medicine + Ayurveda since around 3000 BCE. While these herbs have been mentioned in ancient Chinese, Indian, Greek and Ayuvedic medical texts for thousands of years, the name Adaptogen wasn’t established until 1948 when a scientist named Dr. Nikolai started studying the body’s resistance to stress. The Soviet Union backed these studies and began distributing the adaptogen Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng) to its population, offering a competitive edge on everything from military operations to the Olympics and even the space race.
The earliest known usage of adaptogens was by royal families in 2500-2700 BCE. Adaptogens like Ginseng, Reishi and Rhodiola were discovered in regions near Siberia and used by the top echelon of ancient societies.
These plants were included in the earliest Ayurvedic writings and described as ‘valuable medicines’ in Charaka-Samhita, the first well-known Ayurvedic medicine text.
Over the next few hundred years, various adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola, Chaga and Reishi were utilized by Vikings, Shaolin Monks, and throughout WWII to help fatigued pilots and submarine crews to adapt to changing conditions, sharpen cognition, fight fatigue, and help calm their nerves.
It wasn’t long until high performance athletes started incorporating adaptogens into their training regime. In the 93’ Olympics two athletes were tested for performance enhancing substances after breaking multiple world records. It turns out that the Adaptogenic mushroom Cordyceps are the performance-enhancing plants the athletes used to get a leg up on the competition.
Nowadays these plants are being harnessed to offset the negative effects that our modern culture presents. Work burnout, lack of focus, stress, anxiety, and poor sleep hygiene are all areas where people are turning to adaptogens to restore balance.
How to take Adaptogens
Adaptogens come in a variety of forms from tinctures to powders to teas (hi) and other consumer packaged goods. You can either take them straight up, sprinkled into smoothies, baked into food or steeped into an herbal tisane (hi again).
While the benefits of Adaptogens can be noticed very quickly, they are most effective when taken consistently over time. Studies show that regular use of adaptogens can help the body to become more resilient in times of stress, resulting in less illness, better digestion, improved quality of sleep, lower anxiety, higher productivity, and faster exercise recovery. This is why building a wellness routine that incorporates Adaptogens is so important.
When to take Adaptogens
The time that you take your Adaptogens should fluctuate based on the Adaptogen itself. For instance, adaptogens like Rhodiola have wakening properties so you wouldn’t want to take them later in the day. Whereas Adaptogens like Valerian have very sedative and calming properties, so you wouldn’t want to consume that until you’re preparing for bed.
Additionally, you’ll want to take one day off from your Adaptogen routine. This is considered a “control” day and it’s recommended so you can compare the difference that Adaptogens are making on your stress system.
We consider Adaptogens to be an intuitive push in the right direction within our body’s response to stress, which is why we crafted them into each of our tea blends. Our tea is designed to help you reach your personal best (whatever that may be).
*Any effective adaptogen regimen should be paired with exercise, a healthy diet and a good sleep/recovery routine. Consult a healthcare provider prior to use if you are currently pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or if you have a medical condition.