Adaptogens are the latest trend in the health and wellness world. Trends can come and go, and some are not always as effective as they first appear. Adaptogens are one of the newer wellness focuses (though these healing plants have actually been used for centuries). So what exactly are adaptogens, what do they do, and should you try them?

What Are Adaptogens

Adaptogens are plant-based compounds that are believed to help the body handle stress and maintain hormonal balance. These plants, herbs, and roots that have been used for centuries in Eastern medicine traditions, such as Ayurveda. There are many adaptogens and each one may do something slightly different. Some you can eat, others can be brewed into tea, and others can be found as powders or supplements. Adaptogens boost the adrenal system and can help with digestion, insulin resistance, skin/hair/nail issues, and more, in addition to stress.

What to Try

You actually may be familiar with several adaptogenic herbs and roots, such as holy basil, maca, reishi, chaga, or shiitake. Here are some common wellness issues adaptogens are thought to treat:

Skin/Hair/Nail Health: If you are looking to improve your complexion, thicken your hair, or strengthen your nails, adaptogens may help up your beauty game. Chaga contains antioxidants to fight free radical damage and rhaponicum helps with cellular health. Jiaogulan is another antioxidant that fights aging.

Stress: Several exist to help you better handle stress and to regulate hormones. Ashwagandha and licorice root both help control cortisol and balance hormones. Ashwagandha may also help with insulin resistance. Rhodiola and schisandra can combat adrenal fatigue.

Fatigue: Tired all the time or experiencing low energy? Try ginseng or maca to help with fatigue. Both are energy boosting and can give you a morning lift without caffeine jitters. Cordyceps can also help with energy levels.

Immunity: If you are frequently sick or run-down, immune-boosting adaptogens may be worth a try. Reishi and ginseng can both improve your immune system to better fight off illness.

Digestion: Bloating and other uncomfortable digestion symptoms are common. Try using holy basil (tulsi) or the anti-inflammatory licorice root to address digestive ailments.

How to Consume

Adaptogenic plants are readily available as teas, powders, tonics, or supplements for easy consumption. Your local health food store or organic shop is likely to have several powders and supplements available. If you are looking for something more or hard to find adaptogens, or just want the convenience of online ordering, check out sites like Four Sigmatic® or Sun Potion. Four Sigmatic® offers a variety of mushroom-infused products, such as cacao with reishi or an elixir with cordyceps. Sun Potion offers various powders to blend into water, smoothies, or your drink of choice. Products include ashwagandha, rhodiola, chaga, and more.

Current research is limited, but encouraging, and while more human research and studies are needed to prove efficacy, adaptogens are safe to consume and may be beneficial for a variety of ailments and overall wellness. Have you tried any and noticed a difference?

Lia is a makeup addict in Washington, D.C. When not at her digital marketing day job, she explores all things beauty and works as personal makeup shopper. She enjoys a strong latte in the mornings and a strong cocktail in the evenings.