What Are Adaptogens? And Why Are People Taking Them?
A layman's guide to the latest health and beauty trend.
If you're interested in health and beauty you've likely heard about adaptogens. But what are adaptogens exactly? Further, why are adaptogens being touted as a hot new trend trend and more importantly, why are people taking them?
Firstly - let's get this straight. Adaptogens are not new - not by a long shot.
They are simply non-toxic plants that are said to help the body resist stress, be it physical, chemical or biological.
Adaptogenic herbs and roots have been used for decades in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions, but they're experiencing a resurgence in popularity right now. Accordingly, they're popping up in health food stores, restaurants and even supermarkets and they're selling like mad.
Each adaptogen has a slightly different effect but on the whole, all are said to ease stress on the body. In turn they boost energy and, here's the best bit, make you look phenomenal. Yes - adaptogens equals youthful glow like you've never experienced before.
I know this because I've been taking them for some time now and whoah - major life change.
I feel better. I look better. And hell - that's enough to make me want to take them forever.
But I thought I should learn more about these buzzy new herbs and also, get a better understanding of what else I should be doing in order to maintain this good feeling and hey - maybe feel even better!
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To find the answer to my questions I turned to Amanda Daniel, the very clever, very grown-up, yet terribly beautiful, energetic woman behind My Tribe Type, a range of adaptogenic supplements and skincare designed to help you stress less and glow more. And I said to her - I am taking these adaptogenic herbs and I'm loving them. But what else should I be doing? And this is what she said.
Eat your greens
"It’s not that hard to take that shoe money and spend it on organic greens for yourself! And do all the stuff that we already know: no sugar, no processed food, no surprises here! A lot of experts say gluten is not great for ageing.
Drop your chemical load: body fat loves chemicals."
Take your supplements
"I have a super clean range of organic ‘beyond super foods’ that give me energy, balance and real peace of mind and I must add they give me focus, which is a common cry among so many people these days.
Adaptogens help the body modulate stress and once I had that under control my diet and lifestyle rituals started to really work.
I actually remember coming home after a run on a 45 degree day thinking now I might go do some push ups!
Three years prior I could not do a single push up! Not one. But adaptogens changed everything for me."
Clean up your skincare
"I went all organic and used only my specific blend of botanical oils with adaptogenic qualities. Without wanting to boast my skin literally glows now; it’s better than when I was 35!
So yes, it’s do-able. I brought my skin back from dead and scaly with only my oils and herbs."
Do your research
"Keep up with contemporary communication channels: new things are being discovered everyday and I think it's important to keep on top of that information.
There is no one size fits all. The trick is to educate yourself and then listen to your body, get the right tests (genetic, hormones, thyroid, base blood work) and do the stuff you know you should."
Commit to exercise
"I always hated exercise. Mostly because it hurt.
Now I love it. The adaptogens meant that I finally had the energy to exercise.
I started slowly. I focused on what I really wanted to do: ride ponies, which lead me to yoga! Who would’ve thought, but I find a real correlation between the two in the mind-body connection! I found the exercise that I really love. Do that!"
Is it that simple. Yes. It is.
Well, it is with the help of some adaptogens and a few healthy lifestyle changes.
Start by following one or two of Amanda's recommendations: take an adaptogen or three and then build up from there.
The truth is, even a small change will provide positive results. And who knows where that will lead!
You can take adaptogen teas or mix powdered mixtures with water. You can also add adaptogens to food or add a dash to smoothies, lattes, soups and salad dressings.
There are also some adaptogen herbs available in capsules.
NB: Adaptogens can interfere with other medications so talk to your health practitioner before you start.