Stress Busting Adaptogens

By Jayashree Mani MS, CCN and Liz Friedman, MS

Stress can cause a cascade of physical responses that affect immune function, our hormones, our cognitive function system, and our circadian rhythm. If these stressors persist, this leads to chronic illness. Including adaptogens in your daily routine can help the body deal with these issues in a systematic and proactive manner.

Adaptogens are a group of non-toxic unique botanicals that improve the health of your adrenal system and work together to manage your body’s hormonal response to stress — both mental and physical. They help enhance the body’s ability to cope with anxiety and fight fatigue – slowly and gently, without spikes or crashes.

Adaptogens help you adapt.

Adaptogens stand apart because of their distinct ability to “adapt” their function according to your body’s specific needs. These botanicals have healing effects that set in subtly and gradually make themselves felt. In this 21st century jet set life, they can be extremely helpful to almost everyone.

Rhodiola Rosea — a unique adaptogen. Also called the golden root, rhodiola rosea is perhaps one of the most studied adaptogens. It grows in some of the coldest regions of the world, surviving harsh environments yet possessing unique adaptive qualities that benefit those who consume it.

Rhodiola acts like a hormone thermostat, especially as it pertains to cortisol, one of our main stress hormones. With the help of an inherent phytochemical known as salidroside, it balances cortisol production, relieves anxiety and combats aging.

Cortisol, our “fight or flight” hormone, is secreted by the adrenal medulla typically in sync with the body’s circadian rhythms — more in the morning and gradually tapering throughout the day to its lowest levels at night. This delicate natural system can get imbalanced when you’re exhausted and under stress.

Getting your cortisol back in rhythm when you’re compromised is crucial and Rhodiola does just this — it modulates the cortisol levels in the body — raising or lowering it as needed. Studies have found that Rhodiola restores normal patterns of eating and sleeping after stress; lowers mental and physical fatigue; and protects against oxidative stress, heat stress, radiation and exposure to toxic chemicals. It also protects the heart and liver, increases use of oxygen, and improves memory.

Rhodiola can be found in some herbal teas, but is most often consumed as a tincture, capsule or tablet. Functional Rhodiola rosea extracts are standardized to contain >3% rosavins and >1% salidroside.

Curcumin, the bright yellow chemical in the spice turmeric, has some solid research behind it. In addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory function, curcumin can  impact more than 100 molecular pathways including those that deal with stress, neuroprotection, depression and anxiety. Turmeric is a miracle kitchen spice and no matter the diet preference, can be easily used on a regular basis. A pinch of turmeric in frittatas, or tossed in  vegetables and greens, in soup, in golden milk, or as a simple tea; there are lots of ways to eat and drink this wonder spice and derive its adaptogen benefit.

Holy basil. Sacred to India, holy basil has been used for centuries to treat a variety of medical conditions including heart problems, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis, and eye disorders. Holy basil has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties and all parts of the holy basil plant act as an adaptogen helping the body adapt to stress and promoting desired mental balance – it can turn off the “stress alarm.” One of the easiest ways to use holy basil regularly is by making tea using the leaves, flowers and/or dried leaf powder. The leaves can also be used in cooking e.g., stir fries and soups, and its essential oil is popular as well.

Licorice root.* Did you know that licorice is not just a flavoring agent? Licorice root has been used in traditional herbal medicine for many years Licorice root’s naturally sweet flavor is due to a compound called glycyrrhizin and there are compounds present in the root that are designed specifically to support healthy cortisol metabolism. True to the definition of an adaptogen, licorice root is useful for those who have a poor stress tolerance and for those who seem to be running on empty and are on the verge of a burnout. Sipping on licorice root tea is a great healthy ritual to incorporate as well as sucking or chewing on a licorice root.

Magnolia Officinalis and Phellodendron amurense – adaptogen duo. Magnolia (Magnolia officinalis) and Phellodendron (Phellodendron amurense) are medicinal plants commonly used as traditional remedies for reducing stress and anxiety. The combination of these 2 adaptogenic herbs reduces the stress hormonecortisol and supports GABA, which is an important, calming neurotransmitter. The beneficial effects include reduced stress-related eating (helpful weight loss) less fatigue, improved mood states, and higher energy. Studies have shown reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation as well as improvements in restorative sleep. These adaptogens are typically found together only in herbal supplements.

A winning adaptogen combination for stress

Rhodiola extracts in combination with the adaptogen duo Magnolia and Phellodendron make for a uniquely synergistic and adaptogenic herbal complex that can address the cortisol/DHEA imbalance seen so often in the 21st century world.

PERQUE Adreno Distress Guard™ contains functional Rhodiola extracts in a unique combination with Magnolia and Phellodendron, energized by Perilla oil and MCT. These adaptogenic compounds help recharge and balance the overly-stressed or exhausted person by supporting the adrenals and working at the cellular level in the brain, gut, and adrenal glands.**

*WHO recommends 2-2.5 oz ( 60-70g) licorice as safe for most adults. Consult your health practitioner if licorice is meant for you

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.