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What Are Adaptogens and Why Do People Take Them?

You’ve probably heard the word Adaptogens pop up in the health and wellness industry more recently than ever. Adaptogens, or Adaptogenic herbs, are known for their abilities to combat stress and fatigue. Adaptogens are unique in the sense that they are not a single plant or even a single family of plants. But rather, they are a variety of reactions and results produced by plants that help protect the body against mental, physical, and emotional stressors. Since we’re living in such a fast-paced society, stress and fatigue are at an all time high. Stress can have many negative effects on a person. Adaptogens help regulate and stabilize the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands which are involved with our stress response.

So, how exactly do Adaptogens work? To discuss Adaptogens we first we need to understand how stress works and the effects it has on our bodies. When your body is stressed, the response is to release a hormone called cortisol. Since stress has become so persistent in today’s world, when cortisol levels remain high for a long period of time, chronic stress can begin to take its toll on our adrenal and thyroid glands. When cortisol levels are raised our bodies go into “fight or flight” mode. This evolved as a method of survival. But in our modern society many people experience the fight or flight mode on a regular basis, which eventually exhausts the adrenal glands. If there is long-term adrenal stress, this can lead to adrenal fatigue or other health concerns. So, when an Adaptogen is taken it doesn’t necessarily target a specific stress reaction. The Adaptogen will help alleviate and regulate your overall physiological functions to adapt to stress when it is induced.

Here are five popular Adaptogens and what they can be used for:

  1. Ashwagandha: Reduces stress and anxiety, reduces inflammation, supports adrenal function (read more about Ashwagandha here)
  2. Holy Basil (or Tulsi): Protects against infections and diseases, promotes mental balance, reduces stress and anxiety
  3. Licorice Root: Increase energy and endurance, regulates stress response, boosts the immune system
  4. Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea): Reduces stress related fatigue, boosts mental focus, has antioxidant properties
  5. Cordycep Mushrooms: Boosts exercise performance, enhanced antioxidant activity, anti-fatigue abilities

If you’re thinking of adding an Adaptogenic herb to your routine, consider one of the five listed above. More importantly, the first thing you should always do is your research. Some herbal supplements can interact with prescription medications. There are many other Adaptogens available. There are also many ways to add Adaptogens to your diet. You can find these herbs in teas, tinctures, capsules, or pure powder form and add them to anything — smoothies, soups, granola, or even pancakes.

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What is Turmeric?

Turmeric, or Curcuma Longa, is an extremely well-researched herb and spice that has been used for thousands of years. Popular and commonly found in India and Southeast Asia, the root is dried and ground, producing a unique, bright yellow powder that has an abundant amount of natural benefits. Within the actual plant, there are numerous chemical compounds called Curcuminoids. In Turmeric the active substance within the Curcuminoids is one you’ve probably heard of, Curcumin. Curcumin is a natural healing compound that also has several nutritional benefits. Turmeric is recognized as one of the most influential herbs on the planet. Not only does is carry many natural healing compounds, it is considered very safe to consume and there are hardly any known side effects to consuming Turmeric.

Here are five benefits of Turmeric:

  1. Natural Anti-Inflammatory: The active ingredient within Turmeric is called Curcumin. Curcumin is said to have the same powerful effectiveness as anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects. This can help reduce or prevent inflammatory diseases both internally and externally. These include inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, IBS, metabolic syndrome, and several others.
  2. Can Slow or Stop Future Blood Clots: The Curcumin from Turmeric sustainably decreases blood clot formation and possibly the future risk of future clot formation. Curcumin alters the formation of an internal process called eicosanoid biosynthesis by reducing platelet aggregation.
  3. Benefits Against Depression: There have been several studies that show Curcumin, the active ingredient within Turmeric, is as effective as taking an anti-depressant but again, it doesn’t have the negative side effects. Depression is connected to reduced levels of BNDF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and a shrinking hippocampus. This part of the brain is associated with learning and memory. Curcumin is said to increase BNDF levels, reverse potential damage, and enhance low serotonin and dopamine levels.
  4. Supports Gut Health: With the anti-inflammatory properties that Turmeric has, supplementing with Curcumin has been said to restore and heal gut health while supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Improving gut health can benefit more than just the digestive process. The absorption of nutrients is improved which means the body is receiving the essential nutrients it needs to function.
  5. Improves Skin Health: Again, Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory ingredients that help reduce inflammation, but it also contains antioxidants. Both properties can help revive your skin, producing a natural glow and luster. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties have been known to aid in the healing of wounds, psoriasis, acne, scabies, and a wide range of other dermatological conditions.

Turmeric can easily be added to a person’s diet. As mentioned earlier, Turmeric is a herb and spice that has been used for thousands of years. Cooking a traditional dish or adding Turmeric to your smoothie is an easy way to add this beneficial plant to your diet. If adding Turmeric directly to your diet is not an option or doesn’t appeal to you, another easy way to reap the benefits of Turmeric is to take a supplement. This can be done in powder or capsule form. It is recommended to take one that includes the ingredient black pepper. The Curcumin in Turmeric does not absorb easily, and black pepper helps aid with the absorption process.

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