Wondering why all of a sudden everyone is talking about adaptogens? A buzzword in the wellness world, adaptogens are taking the internet by storm, and there’s a good reason behind it. These roots and non-toxic plants have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions, and they’re experiencing a revival today. They help with everything from energy levels and stress release to focus and hormone balance. Some are best taken in supplement form, while others are best taken as a tea or tincture. If you’re curious to know more, here’s all the info you need on adaptogens for hormones.
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are plant substances, or herbs, that are thought to have health benefits and help our bodies manage stress and maintain balance. They strengthen our internal systems and help us adapt to external stressors, boosting energy, stabilizing mood, improving focus and balancing hormones. They can be consumed as supplements, teas or tinctures and work best in addition to a healthy diet and adequate hydration.
Adaptogens are said to interact with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, an intricate system of glands, hormones and receptors that’s central to the body’s homeostasis, stress responses and energy metabolism. Adaptogens work with the HPA axis to balance our systems. For example, if there’s an excess of a certain hormone in our body, the adaptogens help to lower it. If there’s not enough of a hormone in our body, adaptogens can help replenish it.
Are Adaptogens Safe?
Adaptogens are generally considered safe, but they’re not meant to be used as an alternative to medicine. They’re generally well-tolerated and side effects are rare, but possible based on the plant. Side effects may include allergic reactions, abdominal pain, constipation, nausea and diarrhea.
They can also affect how certain medicines work if you have a medical condition such as hypertension, diabetes, depression or hypothyroidism. In these cases, you could experience symptoms like increased blood pressure, decreased blood sugar levels, increasing thyroid activity and counteracting antidepressants.
If you’re on other medications or planning to become pregnant, make sure to talk to your doctor before starting adaptogens.
7 Best Adaptogens for Hormones & How to Take Them
Ashwagandha is a hormone balancing herb known for boosting thyroid function and stabilizing your mood. It’s also known to balance cortisol levels, increase energy, improve concentration, reduce blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels and ease depression. The best and easiest way to take ashwagandha is through supplement form. For these ones, you take 2 capsules daily.
2. Holy Basil
Holy basil is an excellent natural antidepressant. It helps you sleep better, and also decreases feelings of exhaustion and stress. Holy basil is high in antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin A and C, zinc, iron, and calcium, which all protect and strengthen your body against harmful chemicals and environmental stressors.
You can take a holy basil supplement, or use the leaves to make a homemade tea. Use 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per cup of boiled hot water, let it steep for about 5 minutes and voila! You may also want to add some manuka honey as it has quite a bitter taste.
3. Goji Berry
Gogi berry can boost your energy, improve mental and physical performance, induce calmness and sense of well being, and also improve sleep. They help manage your body’s hormonal response to stress and are known for their ability to strengthen immunity and lower cholesterol. You can eat goji berries raw, make them into a tea or take goji berry supplements.
Turmeric has amazing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It helps fight cell damage, ease stress levels, and reduce your body’s overall inflammation. It’s also known to boost serotonin and dopamine production and help you sleep better too. You can make a tumeric latte (golden milk) by mixing ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric with 2 cups of milk and 1 teaspoon of honey or maple syrup in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Milk Thistle
Milk thistle is an effective herb for detoxifying the liver, and since your liver health is directly tied to your hormone health, it works to balance sex hormones, thyroid hormones, cortisone and other adrenal hormones.
An unhealthy liver can make you more susceptible to diseases and can also lead to common hormone imbalance symptoms like loss of libido, moodiness and excess adrenaline. Milk thistle boosts the body’s natural immunity and you can take it as a supplement or prepare it as a tea.
6. Liquorice Root
Liquorice root contains an active compound called glycyrrhizin, which contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties help reduce inflammation, soothe an upset stomach, ease menopausal symptoms, and can help reduce illnesses like heartburn, acid reflux and hot flashes. You can drink liquorice root as a tea, take it as a supplement or use it as a powder in food or drinks.
7. Siberian Ginseng
Siberian ginseng is one of the best adaptogens you can use for stress and anxiety. It also helps boost the immune system, and increase physical stamina, energy and sexual health. In women, it helps support healthy menstruation and uterine tone and is often prescribed to help with infertility-related depression and fatigue. Mix Siberian ginseng powder into water, juice, milk, coffee, oatmeal or yogurt.
Are you ready to dive into the world of adaptogens? We hope this post has helped get you started!
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