What Adaptogens Help With Anxiety
More and more people are turning away from prescription medication and look toward the use of adaptogens for anxiety. These amazing, natural substances can be a game changer for people struggling with all types of concerns, especially stress, anxiety, and generally feeling overwhelmed. But what exactly are they and how do they help?
What Is An Adaptogen?
An adaptogen is a natural substance used in herbal medicine. It is said to help the body be better able to adapt to both physical and mental stress. They can also help return the body to its normal set point, called homeostasis. That stress resistance is what makes adaptogens for anxiety so attractive.
Some people have even referred to adaptogens as being a “stress vaccine.” While nothing can stop stress from happening, as it’s an unfortunate but normal part of life, adaptogens make us much more resilient to its effects.
To qualify as an adaptogen, the product must also be verified to be safe and non-toxic in nature. They come in a variety of different forms – plants, herbs, roots, etc. They can also be taken in many different ways – oral capsules, powders, tinctures, teas, and more.
How Do Adaptogens Work?
So they seem pretty amazing, right? But how do they actually work?
As the human body faces stress of any kind, it triggers a response known as general adaptation syndrome (or GAS). GAS has three distinct stages – alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. In the alarm stage, the stressor impacts the body and wreaks havoc. When the body reaches the resistance stage, the body begins to fight back and eventually adapt to the stress. And finally, in the exhaustion stage, our reserves begin to get depleted and our body starts to show signs of both physical and mental exhaustion.
With adaptogens, we stay in the resistance stage for much longer.
That also helps to naturally fight the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone that is released in response to both physical and mental stressors. When allowed to persist in the body, cortisol can cause a whole host of side effects like weight gain (especially around the abdomen), hypertension (high blood pressure), a weakened immune system, and higher blood glucose (particularly dangerous for those with diabetes).
Examples of Adaptogens
Ok. So you’re probably convinced about using adaptogens for anxiety. But where do you get them? Here are few of the most common and easily accessible adaptogens. Most of them can be picked up at your local health food store.
- Ashwagandha – Helps to reduce anxiety and stress
- Licorice root – Reduces stress
- Rhodiola Rosea – Helps the body fight physical fatigue and the mind fight mental fatigue.
- Holy basil – Reduces stress on both the body and the mind, reduces stress-related anxiety and depression
- Turmeric – Reduces depression and boost brain function
Adaptogens can be taken in supplement form, or added to food. There are too many of them to name, each with their own unique benefits for both the mind and the body.
Tips For Taking Adaptogens
Once you’ve decided which of the adaptogens for anxiety you’re interested in trying, there are a few tips to follow.
- Start slow. While adaptogens are non-toxic, allergic reactions are always possible.
- Take a one day break for adaptogens at least once a week, a week off every six weeks, and a month off every six months. This helps adaptogens work more effectively.
- Check with your doctor if you’re taking other medications to verify there are no potential interactions.
- Document how you feel! It’ll help you better gauge how well they are working so that you can adjust, if needed.
- Don’t expect immediate miracles. Adaptogens take time to be more effective.
The use of adaptogens for anxiety continues to increase, as they offer a holistic and natural way to help boost the body’s ability to cope with stressors, both mentally and physically. Not only that, but they are available without a prescription or the need for a doctor’s appointment. They’re quite powerful, amazing natural products!
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