Adaptogens for Balance

If you are like most people, you probably spend a fair amount of time in the fight/flight/freeze cycle of adrenal excitement and exhaustion.  Eventually your nerves and glands get exhausted from all the stimulation and you end up feeling wired and tired.  This can lead to anxiety, depression, fatigue, trouble sleeping, digestive problems, pain, and hormone imbalances.  Adaptogens are a wonderful class of herbs that can help you recover!  

The name says it all- they help your body “adapt” to a more balanced state.  So if you are an insomniac who stays up all night and tends toward anxiety and panic, adaptogens can calm your nervous system- and if you feel fatigued and tend towards depression, adaptogens can elevate your mood and give you sustainable energy.  The same herb may be used for its energizing or relaxing qualities in different people, depending on their needs.

Adaptogens are generally mild in nature and although they can boost energy, most are not stimulating in the way that caffeine is.  Although some adaptogens have an affinity for a specific physiological system or tissue in the body, many treat the whole person, and can support improvements in overall vitality.  

A few of my favorite adaptogens:

    •    Eleuthero- formerly known as Siberian ginseng, this root acts like Chinese or Korean ginseng’s mellow cousin- supporting overall energy and stamina without being too stimulating.  It is a wonderful brain tonic for increased mental clarity, and helps support deep, restful sleep.  
    •    Tulsi- also called holy basil, this herb is highly revered by Ayurvedic medicine.  An antioxidant rich relative of culinary basil, tulsi stimulates the senses and awakens vitality.  It can gently uplift the mood and also has the ability to calm and cool irritability.    
    •    Ashwagandha- another Ayurvedic herb, ashwagandha is a calming herb that helps promote restorative sleep at night and balanced energy during the day.   It contains anti-inflammatory compounds which make it a great support for muscle and joint pain.
    •    Schizandra- one of my favorite Chinese herbs, these sour little berries are actually said to contain all five flavors, and therefore balance all the elements.  Schizandra is a wonderfully calming herb, helpful when the energy is scattered and needs consolidating.  Also specific for the lungs, schizandra can help to allay wheezing and gives a major boost to athletic performance.

I support my patients wellness by providing personalized herbal formulas to support them in between treatments.  If they are experiencing any stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, or fatigue (and who isn’t?) I make sure to include adaptogens specific to their signs and symptoms.

If you’d like to learn more about how adaptogens can support your health, feel free to call or email with any questions, or go ahead and book an appointment for an initial visit with me.

To learn more about adaptogens:

Pharmaceuticals Journal Article:  Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity

Herbalist David Winston, AHG, on Adaptogens

Podcast by Aviva Romm: Adaptogens for Burnout

Blog post by Aviva Romm:  Adaptogens: Herbs for Beating Stress, Fighting Fatigue & Banishing Cravings