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What is an Adaptogen?

You’ve probably heard the term “adaptogen” used to describe ingredients either in your supplements or other products. But what does that even mean? Let’s take a look!

An adaptogen is a natural plant that may help the body adapt to stress and may create a normalizing effect on your body and some of its functions. In this blog post, we’ll dive into some examples of what adaptogens are and how you should use them. 

So What Are Adaptogens?

Let’s go a little deeper into defining adaptogens. They typically come from plants with usually the goal of supplementing with an adaptogen is to achieve a form of equilibrium in the body, usually regarding stress management. The substances are believed to have a type of normalizing effect on different bodily functions, but what does that mean?

Often adaptogens are taken to help the body adapt to stress, which also means they might be able to help your body naturally regulate and/or restore a form of balance, which we all want to achieve!

Adaptogens come rooted in traditional medicine systems such as Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine which are two of the medical systems. Copina Co has always been very interested in Ayurveda medicine and to help with healing acne. Our CEO Carolyn’s journey through healing her acne and documenting it on her blog has inspired the different ingredients in our vegan collagen support blends along with help from herbalists. The two systems are known for goals such as supporting the body’s resilience and resistance to physical and mental stressors. 

We do want to note that before any person begins using an adaptogen, it is important to consult with your healthcare professional. That is due because individual responses to herbs may vary due to different health factors, being pregnant and/or breastfeeding, or other medications. 

cacao calm

How Do Adaptogens Work?

Different adaptogens interact with the body differently and create different benefits. The exact “way they work” is not fully understood but we do know the benefits and pathways through the body that the adaptogens work with. If you want a more in-depth science-based breakdown of adaptogens, the Huberman Lab has done a few episodes about them and their supplementation practices. He dives deeper into supplementation approaches and how to cycle different adaptogens for the best results. 

What are some Adaptogens?

Now that we have dipped our toe into what an adaptogen is and what it the goal of adaptogens is, let’s get into some of the popular ones you might be seeing on labels!

  • Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)

Ashwagandha is an incredibly popular adaptogen right now. It has origins in Ayurvedic medicine to potentially help with stress reduction, and support overall wellbeing and vitality.* In recent news, it has also been potentially linked to hair health! KSM-66® Ashwagandha is the highest concentration ashwagandha extract powder on the market and has been shown, through extensive research, to have a wide array of health benefits including blocking stress pathways that regulate chemical signaling in the nervous system.*

We use the adaptogen ashwagandha in our Cacao Calm Vegan Collagen support blend to potentially help support the body’s stress response.* It also has been linked to possibly helping the body with hair loss

  • Rhodiola Rosea 

Rhodiola is a flowering plant that you can find in colder regions. It has been used in the past to possibly enhance physical and mental performance, reduce fatigue, and improve stress response as well.*

  • Ginseng (Panax Ginseng, Panax Quinquefolius)

Ginseng is also a popular adaptogenic herb. It has been used in both Asian and North American traditional medicine. It can potentially help enhance energy, help with mental clarity, and support the body’s stress response.* 

  • Holy basil (Ocimum Sanctum)

Holy basil which is also called tulsi is well known in Ayurvedic Medicine for being an adaptogen. It is used to potentially help with stress reduction, helping with relaxation, and support overall wellness.* 

  • Schisandra (Schisandra Chinensis)

Schisandra comes from a berry-producing vine that has been used in Chinese medicine. It is used with the goal to help with physical endurance, and improvement of mental performance, and to potentially help support the body’s resistance to stress.*  

Benefits of Using Adaptogens

A very common and well-known reason people have been using adaptogens is for their stress response support. As you have read above, many adaptogens have various benefits but the main benefit is the potential to aid in stress response.* Adaptogens may interact with our hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA axis) which could help regulate the release of stress hormones. If the adaptogen is used properly, it could prevent excessive stress responses or help the body recover from stress quicker. *

Another potential benefit is that adaptogens may help with neuroendocrine regulation.* That means they might help with the communication between the nervous and endocrine systems.* This could cause positive effects like balancing hormone levels and overall well-being.* This could also have positive effects on mood regulation and stress response.* 

Adaptogens also have been found to possess antioxidant properties which are important for overall body function, but also for maintaining healthy and high-functioning collagen production.* Antioxidants help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals meaning this antioxidant activity in adaptogens may help support your body’s overall health and stress.* 

Of course, each adaptogen and its nutritional properties vary from type to type. If you want an adaptogen that has certain properties and benefits, we recommend thoroughly researching them with the help of a healthcare professional before consuming any.

How to Use Them Safely

Although adaptogenic herbs come from nontoxic plants and are supposed to have gentle effects, you should be consulting with a healthcare professional before using them. 

Some adaptogens may react differently to any prescribed medicine or other supplements you are taking. It is important to talk to someone that is a doctor, herbalist, or naturopath before adding anything to your routine to ensure there will not be any reaction to other substances. 

Remember everyone’s body is different, which means that adaptogens react differently from person to person. This is especially important if you are becoming pregnant, pregnant, breastfeeding, or are immunocompromised. Just because it works for one person, doesn’t mean it will interact with your body the same way. Consult with a doctor about the best dose for you. Some experts say ingesting small doses of adaptogen herbs each day for the course of 6-12 weeks is a good route.*

Adaptogens are not a cure for anything in life, but they can help aid during high times of stress.* communicating with a healthcare professional is an important part of making sure you will receive the most benefits, the right way. 

ashwagandha benefits

If you want to begin taking adaptogens, our Cacao Calm Plant-Based Collagen Boost Drink Blend + ashwagandha will help promote calm and focus by helping you block stress signal pathways in the brain. This plus the beauty-boosting benefits it gives you makes Cacao Calm the best nightcap to add to your routine before bed. Not sure how to add our cacao calm into your diet? Take a peak at some of our favorite cacao calm recipes.

Did you like this blog post? You’ll love more of our blogs surrounding plant education

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