After this whirlwind of a year, we’re all about creating an anti-stress wellness routine. But where to start? Wellness experts suggest a healthy diet, but even that sounds stressful. We prefer baby steps, which is where something called adaptogens come in. We talked to Charm City Integrative Health wellness coach Hannah Kahn all about this trend and how taking adaptogenic supplements can apparently help keep us calm, cool, and collected.
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are [largely] herbs that support the body’s natural ability to deal with stress. These stressors can include anxiety, inflammation, and fatigue, among other things.
What are the benefits of incorporating adaptogens into your daily wellness routine?
The benefits we get from this group of herbs are really special. Research has found that they contain anti-fatigue properties, anti-depressive effects, and increase mental work capacity and attention. These are things that everybody can benefit from, and it’s not difficult to begin incorporating adaptogens into your routine.
In your opinion, how effective are they?
Generally, adaptogens are incredibly effective. They’ve been [in use] for thousands of years, rooting back to Chinese Functional Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic Medicine. These herbs work at a molecular level, helping our bodies to fight stressors. I believe every individual is different, we are not one-size-fits-all, so it’s best to try one out and listen to your body to see how it’s responding.
Are there any side effects?
Side effects are typically minor, but they do occur occasionally for some people. Some of these herbs can interact negatively with prescription medications or for those with specific medical conditions. Always check in with your doctor and listen to how your body is feeling.
In what ways can you take adaptogens?
Adaptogens can be taken as herbal supplements in capsules, in powder form for foods and smoothies, and as herbal tea. Some can even be eaten directly! Some adaptogens can taste quite earthy, so play around with different fruits and veggies until you find something you enjoy.
Who would you recommend adaptogens for?
Adaptogens can be helpful to anybody experiencing anxiety, depression, fatigue, or other stressors. They are not an end-all-be-all, and it’s best to use these supplements alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle. Pregnant women and those taking prescription medications should be careful and check with their doctor before taking anything.
RESEARCH: Be sure to look into the different types of adaptogenic herbs to find one that works for your specific needs.
EXPERIMENT: Adaptogens can be taken as a supplement capsule or added to food or drinks; figure out what works best for your lifestyle.
DOCTOR’S APPROVAL: For more serious conditions, always talk to a doctor beforehand.