Examples of Adaptogens

What Are Adaptogens?
And Are They Worth The Hype?

Adaptogens are the latest trend taking the nutrition world by storm. Though used in traditional medicine for years, these plants soared in popularity in 2017, and they continue their climb today. But what are these proclaimed powerful plants, and do they deserve a place in your diet? Here’s the scoop:

What Is An Adaptogen?

An adaptogen is a broad term that represents a wide variety of plants used for centuries in Ayurveda and Eastern Chinese medicine. As word of their purported benefits spread, so did their use in Western systems of herbalism and medicine. Adaptogens help the body cope with everyday physical and environmental stress and are believed to work by supporting antioxidant and immune health benefits.

Today, adaptogens represent a wide group of natural products—from herbs and spices to mushrooms and tinctures—and are used alone or in combination.

Do Adaptogens Really Work?

As with traditional use, adaptogens used today are believed to work by supporting antioxidant and immune health benefits. Most research focuses on how adaptogens can help the body cope with every day physical and environmental stress.

But can components in plants really help you? Believe it or not, things look promising. Emerging research on adaptogens shows potential for improving wellbeing. One example is ashwagandha, often referred to as Indian ginseng. Scientists have been studying the impact of ashwagandha for decades, making it one of the most well-researched adaptogens around.

Other adaptogens like ginseng, mushrooms, and rhodiola are known to support vitality, energy and overall wellbeing. They are also studied for their role in other areas of wellness.

Though these powerful plants have been around for years, researchers are just now beginning to discover their importance in promoting health and wellness.

Here’s a list of some of the top adaptogens:

  • Adaptogenic Mushroom Blends: A top trend in adaptogens are mushrooms, which have been used for centuries in traditional Oriental medicine. Certain mushrooms, like reishi, shiitake and maitake, contain betaglucan—a polysaccharide with immune supporting properties.
  • Ashwagandha: This popular adaptogen is sometimes referred to as Indian ginseng. It is found in dry areas of India and the Middle East.
  • Astragalus: This adaptogen has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is often used in combination with other herbs.
  • Ginseng: This well-known adaptogen has been used traditionally to support vitality and overall wellbeing.
  • Lion’s Mane: Lion’s mane is the common name for Hericium Erinaceus—a type of mushroom that grows on the dead trunks of certain types of trees. As a food, the fruiting body is consumed, particularly in Chinese and Japanese dishes.
  • Rhodiola: A traditional adaptogen that supports natural wellbeing.

How Can I Use Adaptogens?

So how exactly do you incorporate adaptogens like mushrooms into your daily diet? The specific ingredient or ingredients and the form that you buy them in will play a role in how you use them. Adaptogens can be bought in supplement or powder form then used to make a tea or tincture. They can also be added to smoothies, your morning oats or a favorite soup or stew. You can also find powders that have been formulated to include a variety of adaptogens. Many of these products are designed to be mixed with water or juice—offering a quick way to incorporate them into your diet plan.