Adaptogenic herbs are wonderful because they adapt to what our individual bodily needs, supplementing what is in deficit and reducing what is in excess.
Nature truly is a beautiful thing!
This means, if we don’t have enough of something, adaptogenic herbs will fill the gap. It also means, if we have too much of something, adaptogenic herbs will bring levels back down to normal.
Adaptogens & The HPA Axis
Adaptogens work via the HPA Axis, which is the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, which is very much at the core of our endocrine system and is pivotal in our reaction to stress. This is because the primary function of the HPA Axis is to regulate our stress response.
So, adaptogenic herbs help regulate the stress response, which is why they do such a good job of addressing anxiety.
List Of Adaptogens
- Fo-ti or He Shou Wu
- Gotu Kola
- Holy Basil
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Siberian Ginseng
- Ginko Biloba
- Chaga Mushrooms
- Reishi Mushrooms
- Lions Mane Mushrooms
- Maitake Mushrooms
- Cordyceps Mushrooms
- Turkey Tale Mushrooms
- Agaricus Mushrooms
- Pine Pollen
- Goji Berries (*Beware – nightshade)
- Jujubee Dates
- Maca (I also have trouble digesting this one!)
Adaptogen Herbs & Immunity
Adaptogen herbs are basically a unique class of healing herbs and foods that promote hormone balance, mitigate stress and protect us from contracting a wide variety of diseases, particularly those caused by excess stress.
But, because stress and anger undermine our immune system, it’s best just to simply see that adaptogens protect us from all forms of illness.
Adaptogen Herbs Support Systemic Health
In addition to boosting our immune function and reducing our stress levels, research shows that adapotogens can do the following:
- Improve thyroid function
- Calm the root causes of anxiety and depression
- Support adrenal gland function
- Reduce brain cell degeneration
- Stabilise blood sugar & insulin levels
- Lower cholesterol
Adaptogenic Are Not The Whole Answer
Adaptogenic herbs are amazing, but… adaptogenic herbs aren’t the complete cure for our health problems.
What adaptogenic herbs are is a brilliant way of supporting our minds and our bodies through difficult times, helping our mind and bodies to balance themselves whilst we make changes to our diet and lifestyle which will eradicate the root causes of our problems.
Reducing Toxic Inputs
To eradicate the root causes of our problems we need to detox our lives… This means cutting out toxic inputs, which include psychological as well as physical inputs…
- Toxic relationships
- Toxic foods, that we’re often allergic to
- Toxic prescription drugs, which are thought to be the leading cause of death by many, are actually officially the third leading cause of death
- Non-prescription. (Cannabis has Arsenic in it, for example)
- Toxic TV
- Toxic technologies
- Toxic lifestyles including toxic jobs…
- Toxic relationships that cause a lot of hurt, heartache and stress
- Internal toxic dialogues… cutting ourselves some slack and learning to forgive ourselves and others on the basis we’re going to see if we can do stuff better in future. There’s a lot more on this subject in Hormone Health Part Four
It’s All About Balance
Adaptogens are all about balance… that’s why they are healthy.
Life should also be all about balance… that’s what makes US healthy.
***However, a bit of fun never hurt anybody… so have a drink to celebrate… but not every day! Eat something that isn’t great for you every now and again… although, choose your naughty treats well… Fast food is not only unhealthy… it’s also responsible for a lot of environmental destruction and a lot of animal suffering… so choose your poison well, and avoid fast foods if you care about your future on planet earth, and the welfare of animals…
My Favourite Adaptogenic Herbs
My two favourite adaptogenic herbs, which I also discuss in Hormone Health Part Five, are Ashwagandha and Tulsi, or Holy Basil.
I also discuss the importance of adaptogenic herbs in a number of other articles, but perhaps most importantly in:
Ashwagandha is extremely effective at balancing hormones.
- It promotes free radical scavenging which causes cellular damage (this also makes Ashwagandha anti-ageing)
- It supports our over-taxed adrenals
- It benefits thyroid function, regardless of whether you are hypo, or hyper, Graves or Hashimoto’s
- Reduces anxiety & depression
- Supports brain health
- Increases stamina and endurance
Ashwagandha can be used to support a sluggish or overactive thyroid because it is an adaptogen. It can also help to overcome adrenal fatigue.
Our adrenals sit on top of our kidneys. They manage our stress response, producing the stress hormones Cortisol and Adrenalin, which allow us to mount the ‘fight or flight’ response when we are being threatened or are in danger of some kind.
*It’s vital to understand that female bodies use Progesterone to make Cortisol… this is why stress, within women, has a much greater, and potentially more devastating impact on women than it does on men.
Men & Women Are Different
Men really don’t get so physically taxed by the male stress response. This is because they are designed to be the hunters and gatherers as well as protectors of women, and therefore, they were much more likely to need to mount the stress response on a more regular basis than women… before we emerged in the modern age, that is…
Thus, the male body is designed to deal with the fight or flight response a lot better than women. This is why modern living, with equivalent stresses and strains for women, is so much more damaging to women.
I love what Dr. Patrick Flynn has to say about this to Josh Axe in the Top Ten Solutions For Infertility in Hormone Health Part Seven. Flynn is a preeminent hormone expert, and he basically says that we should have no stress between day 14 and day 21 of our menstral cycles, and that women should not have to deal with the stresses that men have to deal with.
With insufficient Progesterone, due to too much stress from living in an excessively unnatural way, women soon become Oestrogen dominant… and that leads to mood disorders, period problems, physical illnesses, including cancer… etc… etc…
When we have insufficient Progesterone we become Oestrogen dominant. This leads to all manner of health risks, as mentioned above.
Men are also struggling with insufficient Progesterone, which means that they are Oestrogen dominant. (Men need Progesterone, to keep their Oestrogen in check.)
The main reason men, as well as women, are struggling with too much Oestrogen is because we are living in a sea of fake Oestrogen from plastic and fire retardants on our soft furnishings.
Holy Basil, which is also known as Tulsi or Tulasi, is a beautiful adaptogen herb that helps to regulate Cortisol levels and supports us through periods of Adrenal Fatigue. It is also very beneficial for all of our other hormones, and like Ashwagandha, it is anti-ageing and helps with anxiety and depression.
It is also great for blood sugar issues, and it’s thought that Holy Basil can even protect our major organs and bodily tissue against environmental toxins. This means it can help protect against things like heavy metals, which helps to preserve our hormonal integrity.
I recommend you read the following to learn ways of detoxing and keeping healthy, both physically and mentally:
Other Favourite Adaptogenic Herbs
My other favourite adaptogenic herbs include
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Siberian Ginseng
- He Shou Wu
These are real powerhouse herbs just like Aswaganda and tulsi, and they deserve your attention. They all offer unique healing abilities, and so you can fine-tune your healing processes by choosing the herbs that best suit your personal set of symptoms. I urge you to research them all.
Buy Adaptogenic Herbs In The UK
I buy all of my adaptogenic herbs from Detox Trading who are based in Chipping Sodbury.
The information provided is not intended to replace the medical directives of your healthcare provider. This information is not meant for the diagnosis of health issues. If you are pregnant, have serious or multiple health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils or associated products. If you experience any complications or adverse reactions contact your healthcare provider.
Deepen your knowledge by using the Wild As The Wind Recommended Resources
Another resource you may find useful can be found by following the link below. *Please note, I use sources from the Recommended Resources list as well as sources from the Healthcare and Skincare Information Sources list when researching articles for the Wild As The Wind Blog.