What Are Adaptogens And How To Choose The Right One For You

Image: Peak + Valley

Is life stressful? Do you wish there were a natural way to feel more balanced? The solution could be in adaptogens. We find out about these wonder herbs and how to choose the right one for you.

Is your life a juggling act? Between hectic work days, friends, family and last-minute seatbacks, life gets intense. We all have different ways of coping with stress. Whether you’re making it through the day by having several mugs of coffee, comfort food and sweets, and energy drinks. Maybe you’re a smoker. Let’s face it, not everyone has the discipline and commitment to do a breathing exercise whenever faced with adversity. However, there’s a new buzzword in the wellness industry, adaptogens are everywhere. But what are adaptogens and why should you be taking them?

What Are Adaptogens

Adaptogens are a select group of herbs (and sometimes mushrooms) that often grow in some of the world’s harshest environments. They work by enhancing the body’s natural potential to deal with and cope with stress. Adaptogens are always natural ingredients and get their name from their unique ability to “adapt” their performance according to the unique needs of the body at a given time. How do they biologically achieve this versatility? 

How Do Adaptogens Work?

Adaptogenic herbs have compounds that can possess opposing qualities simultaneously. For example, they can have relaxing and stimulating properties at the same time. The correct response is triggered according to the body’s specific needs. Dr. Brenda Powell, co-medical director of the Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, told TIME that adaptogens are “meant to bring us back to the middle.” Powell added that “When we exercise, it’s a stress on our body. But as we continue to train and exercise, our body becomes better at dealing with the stress of it, so we no longer get as tired or as high a heart rate”. When you take adaptogens, meanwhile, “you’re training your body to handle the effects of stress.” Adaptogens may do that by tweaking hormone production and physiological responses to stress to ensure that your body—from your mind to your immune system to your energy levels—“functions as it should”.

What are Adaptogens and how to choose the right one for you Mycro Mushroom Honey adaptogen

The great news is they can be consumed in a number of different ways to suit your lifestyle. Adaptogens come in capsules, ready made drinks, teas, tinctures and powders. Here we listed some of the best and most popular adaptogens and the products we swear by. 

Maca

Maca root contributes to overall wellbeing. However it is also believed to balance hormone levels, boost and maintain energy, and support a healthy libido. Maca root is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, copper, and zinc. You normally find it in powder form making it easy to add it to your drinks. It tastes delicious too, with a subtle sweetness like butterscotch.

Ginseng

This powerhouse boosts working memory, reaction time, calmness, and the immune system. Great if you’re being busy and need to have a clear mind. 

Schisandra

This one is a climbing vine native to China and Russia that thrives in almost all types of soils. It boosts endurance, mental performance, as well as working capacity. 

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha can boost brain function, lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, and help fight symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can reduce the stress hormone cortisol, so it’s great for when you need to take care of your wellbeing. 

Goji Berry

It’s beneficial for your energy levels, physical and mental performance, calmness, and sense of wellbeing. It can also improve sleep! 

Reshi

This type of mushroom has been used to help enhance the immune system, reduce stress, improve sleep, and lessen fatigue. We love mushroom coffee, as it often has 50% less caffeine (or none, in case you go for a decaf) but will give you a boost of energy and concentration. For more coffee alternatives check out our guide.

5 Mindful Adaptogen Products

What are Adaptogens and how to choose the right one for you Indi Supplements Mind

Indi *

Launched in January 2021, Indi’s four plant-based blends are designed to address the nutrition gaps in typical Western diets. Each blend is bioavailable, meaning it can be easily absorbed by the body, and has been rigorously developed and tested by a team of nutritional experts and food technologists. They include a powerful blend of plant-based ingredients such as Adaptogens, Nootropics (nutrients that improve cognitive function, particularly memory, creativity and motivation), Beta Glucans (special fibre found in the cell walls of bacteria, fungi and plants such as oats and barley) and Anthocyanins (a class of the most powerful antioxidant compounds). Our favourite? Indi Mind has been designed to tackle fatigue, banish brain fog and boost your ability to focus. Great for those who are stressed and exhausted or if you would simply like to improve concentration, alertness and memory.  

Mycro

Mycro is a collection of nutrient-dense, adaptogenic mushroom honey superfoods. Each product is designed to improve Vitality, Cognition, and Immunity in the brain and body. Their formulations preserve potent, medicinal mushrooms and natural, effective adaptogens in pure, raw honey and nut butters to preserve the product durability and dependability. By infusing nutritious superfoods and herbal nootropics into substances the body is familiar with, Mycro products become delicious, daily snacks that simplify and replace a collection of supplements with a spoonful of honey. Why not try a smear on a slice of apple or toast as a tasty but totally wholesome snack? It can also be added to smoothies and shakes.

What are Adaptogens and how to choose the right one for you Mycro Mushroom Honey adaptogen
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What are Adaptogens and how to choose the right one for you Balance My Stress Adaptogen Blend Peak + Valley

Peak and Valley

Nadine Joseph, Founder and CEO of Peak and Valley, started her company as a personal quest to treat her own chronic stress, fatigue, and skin issues. Having worked at a lab studying the neuroscience of stress she became enthralled with how the stressors of the modern world affect our bodies (and our minds). Dealing with chronic stress and anxiety herself, she then discovered the world of adaptogens and started incorporating them (specifically reishi mushroom and ashwagandha) into daily smoothies and tonics. She noticed a tangible improvement in her physical and mental health. Nadine no longer had adrenal fatigue and had healed her eczema. When it comes to ingredients, she is always on the look out for high purity and potency, with an emphasis on mindful farming practices. Peak + Valley’s overall goal is to provide inclusive, science-backed products to the world of wellness.

Mauli Rituals 

Mauli selects only the most superior adaptogens to support the body. They work together to alleviate fatigue, hormonal imbalances, reduce stress and rejuvenate the mind, skin, hair and body. Founded by husband and wife, Anita and Bittu Kaushal who are both native Brits of Indian origin. A life-changing event and a pilgrimage to their motherland inspired this eco-luxe brand. The duo re-discovered the healing power of India’s natural herbs and holistic traditions, called Ayurveda. Anita went on to study Ayurvedic health and nutrition, and Bittu furthered his knowledge under the guidance of his father, an Ayurvedic doctor. Whether you’re struggling with a foggy mind, low strength, irritability or overall stress, their broad product range has a solution for most issues.

What are Adaptogens and how to choose the right one for you Mauli Purifying Rituals Adaptogens
What are Adaptogens and how to choose the right one for you Wunder Workshop Organic Adaptogens

Wunder Workshop

Wunder Workshop creates products by harvesting the power of regeneratively grown plants for the ultimate wellness rituals. Set up by Tom & Zoe in 2014, it is inspired by intuitive herbalism and Ayurveda. They ethically source organic turmeric and most other ingredients directly from small community farms in Sri Lanka that use a sustainable farming technique called Forest Gardening. This helps to support Sri Lanka’s natural biodiversity, soil health, the farmers and the local community. They also source ingredients that are wild-harvested (Fair Wild certified), growing in their natural habitat. Wunder Workshop avoid mono-cultural farms wherever possible. They invest 1% of our yearly revenue into environmental, social and women empowering projects.

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Disclaimer: The content of this article is for general advice only and should not be used as a substitute for professional healthcare or beauty advice. We make every effort to ensure we only recommend safe products however you should always do a patch test when trying new products. This post may contain affiliate links.

* We were sent a sample of this product to try before we made our recommendation to you. We were under no obligation to feature the product, we only include products we like and that we believe work.