Adaptogens: 5 stress management plants
Health supplements are gaining a lot of attention as people seek natural remedies to promote overall well-being. One group of supplements offers a natural form of stress management and helps prevent long-term damage to your body. Although stress is sometimes good for us repeated stress can cause damage to your body and increase risks for obesity heart disease and other health problems according to the National Institute of Mental Health
Adaptogens are plants that help the body respond to stress by regulating hormone responses. They've been around for centuries as part of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and they're used to combat mental fatigue increase energy and handle stress. These five adaptogens may give your brain a boost and help you handle stressful situations:
This herb is one of the more studied varieties. Its name means "smell of horse" which refers to the smell of the actual herb but it hints that you'll gain the vitality of a horse by taking it. A key factor for an herb to be an adaptogen is it must help you combat damage to your body caused by stress.
A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine notes that ashwagandha has proven repeatedly to help reduce stress-related damage. In this small study people who took a 300mg capsule of ashwagandha root extract twice daily experienced a drop in their cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone your body produces when you're stressed.
2. Rhodiola rosea
This herb is an effective stimulant helping the body regulate stress response. A report in Phytotherapy Research shows that R. rosea worked quickly and lasted for 4 to 6 hours. Another study in the Nordic Journal of Psychiatry details improvements in depression.
3. Schisandra chinensis
S. chinensis seeds boost mental performance and reduce exhaustion. It also may help people with stress-induced depression regain normal sleep and reduce fatigue according to a review in the Swiss medical journal Pharmaceuticals.
A report from the Swedish Herbal Institute Research and Development also reveals that this plant — along with R. rosea and eleutherococcus senticosus — improves endurance and combats mental fatigue.
4. Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng)
Siberian ginseng is a popular choice for those taking adaptogens. This plant is used to boost mental and physical performance. It may also be used to treat symptoms of depression such as appetite changes sleep disturbances and headaches according to an article in Pharmaceuticals (Basel).
5. Holy basil
Another popular adaptogen this one may work on anxiety or depression as well as stress management. One small study published in the Nepal Medical College Journal shows that people with depression saw improvements in their symptoms when taking holy basil.
Studies on these adaptogens found little to no side effects although you should always talk to your doctor before taking a supplement as some can interfere with prescription medications. You can take a supplement daily or save them for when you're expecting a stressful event such as when your mother-in-law comes to visit or before an important presentation at work.