Functional Mushrooms: What Are Adaptogens?

If you’re into health products and supplements, you may have noticed the growing use of the name “adaptogens” or “adaptogenic herbs” in various products. So, what does “adaptogens” mean? Adaptogens are non-toxic plants or herbs which are being marketed as helping the body against physical, biological, and chemical stressors. While the term “adaptogen” was first coined in the 1950s, adaptogenic plants or herbs have been used by the Chinese for centuries and in ayurvedic healing treatments. 

Adaptogens are plants or herbs that have specific properties that occur naturally in nature, which can help the body resist various stressors. These properties help heal fatigue and stress by targeting the various stages of stress that the body goes through, such as alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Some of the common adaptogens that are easily available in the market and are commonly used include goji berries, turmeric, and maca root, just to name a few. But, there are many other types of adaptogens that you can take advantage of for the relief of physical and biological stressors. 

Do Adaptogens Work? 

The question that most people who aren’t familiar with adaptogens ask is, are they safe to use, and do they actually work? Understandably, it can be hard to believe that naturally occurring plants, roots, and herbs can be effective in treating certain medical conditions. But, according to a study carried out by the Swedish Herbal Institute Research and Development, it was found that adaptogens can be effective for the treatment of certain stress-induced symptoms under fatigue. This mainly has to do with helping increase mental and cognitive function. 

When a person starts using adaptogens, they’re training the body to cope with various kinds of stress. 

While more research needs to be carried out, some studies suggest that adaptogens have the same effect on the body’s adrenal gland as exercise has to our muscles. As in, when we exercise daily, it puts stress on our bodies, but as we continue to exercise on a daily basis, the body automatically becomes used to the stress and adapts at dealing with the stress we put our bodies through during exercise. In short, when a person starts using adaptogens, they’re training the body to cope with various kinds of stress. 

Most of the studies that are currently being conducted on the possible benefits of using adaptogens are being carried out on either animals or in samples of human cells, and their findings tend to appear in niche journals. That being said, there’s an adequate amount of research that has shown adaptogens to be useful in helping people get better sleep and for reducing inflammation. 

There are also certain adaptogens that can be used for the treatment of long-term stress and anxiety. It’s also important to clarify that there are different types of adaptogens and each one’s function slightly differs from the next. So, if you’re looking to include the use of adaptogens in your daily supplemental intake, then it’s recommended you choose one that’s appropriate for your specific ailment.

–PuraPhy Staff Report