You’ve undoubtedly heard of Adaptogens: they’ve taken the beauty and wellness industries by storm over the last few years, but what exactly are adaptogens? What constitutes an adaptogen and why have they gained so much popularity? All great questions, so let's talk about it.
We cannot talk about adaptogens without first talking about stress.
When we experience stress, our bodies have a physiological response which can manifest itself in a number of different ways- especially when experienced for long periods of time. These responses can manifest as inflammation, high blood pressure, decreased immunity, and the list goes on.
It's not news that chronic stress wreaks havoc on the body in really elaborate and sometimes inconspicuous ways. Each of us has a different capacity and tolerance for stress, impacted by genetics, lifestyle, class and about a hundred other factors. But there are a number of ways we can help to mitigate or better equip our bodies to handle stress of all kinds.
Adaptogens are a group of plants and select fungi that can help the body to better respond to and manage stress, anxiety, fatigue, and more. In short, they help to manage both the mental and physical stresses of day-to-day life.
Although relatively new to the beauty & wellness industry at large, adaptogenic ingredients have been widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic remedies for centuries. It’s true the term itself- Adaptogen- was coined somewhat recently in 1947, however these popular ingredients have been widely used in ancient herbal medicine practices long before their popularity in western culture. Ongoing research into adaptogens demonstrates they can help the body to regulate in a variety of ways, including:
- Improving Mood
- Fighting Fatigue
- Boosting the Immune System
- Reducing Anxiety
- Increasing Focus
- & More
So, What makes a particular plant an “Adaptogen”?
In order to be classified as an adaptogen, the substance must meet three criteria:
- It’s non-toxic when taken in normal doses
- It helps the body to cope with stress in some way
- It has a balancing effect
There are about a dozen or so different adaptogens, but some of the most commonly known are Ginseng, Rhodiola, Licorice & Ashwagandha.
What about Nootropics? Are Nootropics and Adaptogens the same thing?
While both adaptogens and nootropics are designed to help support core processes in the body- and some ingredients are considered both adaptogenic and nootropic, they are fundamentally different classifications. Adaptogens focus in on reducing and regulating both mental and physical stress while nootropics focus in on aiding and enhancing brain health and cognitive performance.
Many of the hero ingredients used in our Wellness Blends are classified as both adaptogenic and nootropic, including Ashwagandha and Ginseng, along with the L-Theanine found naturally in green tea.
And now you know!