The  Guide to Adaptogens for Health & Beauty

The Guide to Adaptogens for Health & Beauty

Published by Marissa Masterson on Mar 22nd 2020

Adaptogens, Superfoods, Probiotics... these are words tossed around in the wellness community that have a mysticism around them to many individuals. We hear the phrases, but what actually are they? What do they do and are they even available to me? Are they stuff you have to collect in the woods? Are they a hundred dollars per pound at Whole Foods? Adaptogens especially, are probably on your list of words to google. No need, I'm sharing with you, what I've learned about adaptogens over the past 10 years, how I incorporate them into my own life, and my skin care products. While this is not the entire list of adaptogens, it's some of the more common and beneficial plants that you'd be likely to incorporate into your diet. 

Before we get started, I should mention that it's always best to consult an herbalist or naturopath when deciding to use herbs and adaptogens, so that you can find the right combination and tonic for your needs. There are many complex effects and benefits that need to be weighed, more than I can describe here. While most are safe to take, you need to consider what health concerns you have or if you are nursing or pregnant. Adaptogens are exciting, but lets play it safe!

What Are Adaptogens

Adaptogens are plants which aid a person's natural ability to maintain balance during times of emotional and physical stress, by regulating the endocrine system and modulating the immune system, to ultimately improve vitality. They keep your hormones in check, your body functions balanced optimally and improve immunity. These plants come to the rescue when you're feeling depleated, stressed, exhausted and ill. By treating the root well-being of a person, rather than treating the symptoms, you create a strong foundation to improve health & promote healthy aging [1]

"Herbal adaptogens and adaptogenic formulations can be considered tonics for the entire body, including the adrenal glands, brain, heart, immune system and liver, because they strenghten resistance to unfavorable influencers and limit the consequences induced by chronic stress. In an every-changing world, herbal adaptogens enable us to adap and delay the ill effects of aging." - Donald R. Yance, CN, MH, RH(AHG) [1]

Skin Benefits:

Beauty in Harmony with Health. Our company tagline was realized after I wrote about 30 articles about how health affects skin. There's no way around the fact that a healthy body results in healthy and beautiful skin. Stress, Immune System, Gut, Inflammation, Exhaustion.... these all have an impact on our overall well-being and skin. Some people struggle with chronic inflammation, which get exacerbated by stress, which angers their skin, which manifests with redness and itchiness. Some people have hormonal imbalances, which causes horrible bouts of hormonal acne. Whatever your skin concerns may be, there is likely an internal factor and a solution that needs to be addressed internally. So as you read through the adaptogens below, think about how the skin would appear on a body that is balanced, with all of it's functions(even mental/emotional) running in smooth harmony. 

Who should not take Adaptogens

Babies, Children, Pregnant Women(unless approved by your physician) and anyone with a Health condition should never take adaptogens without consulting a professional. 

How you can take Adaptogens

Because they're becoming more mainstream, you can get them individually or pre-blended in capsule form, powder - to blend into drinks, whole pieces - to make teas, or even in some specialty packaged foods.

I have personally used the Moon Juice Brand of powders that are blended for specific results. They have a Beauty Dust, Sleep Dust, Energy Dust ect. which you mix with liquid and drink. They're not inexpensive, but the pre-made blends are very convenient. I have also taken them in capsule form, blended for stress management. I've been having some success staying relaxed with the brand "Integrative Therapeutics" Cortisol manager, which I take before sleep. Lastly, I use a mushroom blend in my morning coffee made by Wild Foods. It is a mild taste that doesn't mess with my coffee flavor. 

It can be a journey to find what's right for you, but I believe the evidence shows the benefits of adaptogens are well-worth the journey! Visit you local herbalist or naturopath to figure out the right blend for you and get an affordable option. 

What are the Different Kinds of Adaptogens

Ashwagandha

GOODBYE STRESS & ILLNESS! HELLO RESTED, CALM & CLEAR BODY!

A plant from the nightshade family, it's usually the root which is used for medicinal purposes. Ashwagandha is one of the most beneficial, well-balanced and commonly recommended plants when formulating an adaptogenic tonic. Suitable for almost everyone, Ashwagandha combines well with other adaptogens and is an anti-stress plant.

Benefits of Ashwagandha include anti-stress, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, adaptogenic, imunomodulatory(helps immune system), and rejuvenating properties. In addition, it promotes restful sleep and can use used as a remedy for psoriasis. 

Rhodiola

HELLO ENERGY, ENDURANCE AND MENTAL PERFORMANCE!

Rhodiola root is from the Orpine family of plants and has been tested extensively on clinical, pharmalogical and toxicological levels. It's been clinically demonstrated that Rhodiola can enhance metal and physical performance and increase energy. It increases the blood circulation to muscles and brain to improve functions of the nervous system, memory and mental functions. It also promotes immunity and reduces chronic inflammation so you can maintain your health. Rhodiola has actually been taken by Russian athletes to increase energy and enhance physical performance.

Chaga Mushroom

HELLO BALANCE & IMMUNITY!

Chaga mushroom is a hard, charcaol-looking fungus that grow on birch trees. It's extremely high in anti-oxidants that protect against free-radicals which cause aging of the body. Chaga has a high Melanin content, which is a powerful anti-oxidant known to protect the genes and the DNA. It can protect the skin from sun damage and heal age spots. It helps skin to keep it's elasticity and firmness while also reducing inflammation. Chaga increases resistance against life stressors and boosts immunity.

Reishi

GOODBYE ILLNESS & STRESS! HELLO RESTFUL CALM!

The Reishi mushroom has wonderful immune-boosting benefits and healing abilities, thus being called "The Plant of Longevity". It's widely promoted as a remedy for the typical person under constant stress. It also improves energy and promotes better sleep - things that automatically make us feel less stressed out! 

Cordyceps

HELLO OVERALL BALANCED BODY AND VITALITY!

Cordyceps is from the fungus family and has high value in traditional chinese medicine. It's beneficial when managing or recovering from stress, illness or physical hardship, working to restore vitality. It's beneficial for the nervous system, immune systems, endocrine system, respitory system and cardiovascular system. Cordyceps is anti-inflammatory and reduces free-radical damage, boosts energy annd decreases fatigue... making it a wonderful recovery plant. 

Eluthero (Siberian Ginseng)

HELLO DEEP SLEEP AND REJUVENATED WAKE!

Siberian Ginseng root is believed to provide energy and vitality, even referred to as "King" of Adaptogens. It's been studied in depth, and found to protect the body when under any stress by enhancing the bodies systems. It's benefits include Anti-fatigue, encourages "quicker recovery from acute stress", increases seratonin, protects against environmental pollutants, regulates blood sugar, protects and enhances function of the liver, increases resistance to infections, viruses improves recovery, strong anti-oxidant, and improves circadian rhythm - an important function for optimal rest.

He Shou Wu

HELLO RENEWED AND HEALTHY LONG LIFE!

The cured root from the Knotweed family, this is also called "Fo-ti" and considered to be a "Youth-Giving Tonic" by the Chinese. This plant promotes longevity, reduces signs of aging - from quality of blood, to improved teeth and hair. It's also beneficial in the treatment of eczema and lymph node inflammation as well as an immune booster. 

Gotu Kola

HELLO QUIET, FOCUSED MIND AND BEAUTIFUL SKIN!

From the parsley family, Gotu Kola is especially beneficial for healing skin conditions such as eczema, burns, and psoriasis. This herb also increases healing and decreases inflammation which is wonderful to prevent scar tissue. It has the ability to relax the brain, especially when having trouble with focus or anxiety. 

Rhaponticum

HELLO YOUTHFUL VITALITY!

Otherwise known as Maral Root, from the Daisy family. Rhaponticum improves mood, sleep, mental state and function during times of high stress. Not only that, but it's beneficial for vital organs and blood - actually delaying the effects of aging and extending life span. It promotes better immune function and healthy fat/muscle ratios. 

Maca

GOODBYE HORMONAL ACNE! HELLO LIBIDO, GREAT MOOD AND ENERGY!

Maca is a high altitude plant that grows in the Peruvian Andes. The root of the plant has been prized for thousands of years for it’s ability to increase stamina, mood, energy, fertility and ability to handle stress. It’s most closely related to mustard, turnip and cabbage. Maca is considered to be very beneficial for hormonal balancing due to it’s high content of amino acids, which are the building blocks of hormones. Because maca is a food and not an herb or drug, it has no known side effects and is easy for the body to process and absorb. You should not use maca if you are taking hormones, as it could actually exacerbate acne.

You can obtain the benefits of these powerful adaptogens in Wilder North's two adapotgenic skin products...


References:

  • [1] Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism by Donald R. Yance, CN, MH, RH(AHG)
  • [2] Themacateam.com
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