Ever wonder what is inside of those beautiful jars?
In the Rooted Hook’s apothecary, Nicole Law stocks an assortment of adaptogens, which provide medicinally potent remedies to address modern day needs and imbalances. Each jar on the shelf is filled with organic, wildcrafted, and ethically grown botanicals whose ancient formulation withstands the test of time.
What Are ADAPTOGENS – Are They Worth All The Hype?
Contributed by Nicole Law of the The Rooted Hook
I believe that self-care is deserving of all the hype in the wellness movement and the use of adaptogens seems to be reawakened in modern culture as a key to achieving homeostasis in the body. The use of adaptogens as an alternative means to modern medicine is nothing new as they have been utilized for thousands of years in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.
Before I get too far, you may be asking...
What are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are herbs that help our bodies adapt to changes and stress caused by physical, biological, emotional, and environmental factors. They can assist in restoring balance within the body and help us defend against both chronic and acute stressors. Everyone is impacted by a certain level of stress, whether it be environmental like the air we breathe, emotional, like the loss of a loved one, or physical, like chronic disease. We do not all react to stress in the same way. One person’s body may react to stress by creating havoc in their digestive tract and causing inflammation around the organs, where another person’s stress may affect their energy levels and sleep. What’s cool about adaptogens is they enable your body to ADAPT to the stress that you are experiencing and work to restore balance in those areas. This means that in some individuals the apoptogenic herb may work to balance a particular hormone and in another person, the adaptogen may work to improve cognitive function. How cool is that?
Let’s talk about the benefits.
The most marketed benefits of adaptogens are their ability to interact with the adrenal and nervous system to help mitigate stress. Other claimed health benefits include over-all emotional well-being, hormone balance, and liver function. Many adaptogens are also anti-inflammatory. By reducing overall inflammation in the body we may increase energy, boost immunity, and increase cognitive function. (Inflammation is also a leading cause of many chronic diseases). All of these are affected when the stress response is induced.
Here’s a list of other benefits one may experience when consuming adaptogens:
· Produce energy on a cellular level and regulate glucose
· Protect from oxidative stress
· Minimize the harmful side effects of toxins
· Improve focus
· Support metabolic functions
· Slow aging
· Improve blood sugar imbalances
· Play a role in psychoneuroimmunology by regulating the brain and nervous system
· Help restore balance of the endocrine hormones
· Play a role in emotional and physical health
· Help maintain homeostasis in the body
· Relieve anxiety/depression
· Relieve pain from arthritis
“Research has found that adaptogens work through two master control systems in the body, the HPA axis (hypothalamic/pituitary/adrenal axis), which controls endocrine function, as well as the nervous system and some immune function. The other system is the SAS, or sympatho-adrenal system, which is our fight or flight response. More recently, Dr. Panossian (the world’s foremost authority on adaptogens) found that they also work on a cellular level to prevent cortisol (the major stress hormone)-induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria are the “engines of our cells,” and when they no longer function appropriately, this can contribute to conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. By up-regulating particular proteins and peptides within the body, adaptogens help keep the mitochondria properly functioning even when under chronic stress conditions.
Although all adaptogens meet the above three conditions and work via the same systems in the body, they still have unique properties: Some are stimulating, some calming, some warming, some cooling, some moistening, and some drying. Because different species of plants have different chemical makeups, some may also have additional specific uses. For example, ashwagandha—the only adaptogen rich in iron—is useful for treating anemia.”
David Winston is an herbalist and ethnobotanist with forty-seven years of training in Chinese, Native American, and Western herbal traditions. He has been in clinical practice for forty years and is an herbal consultant to physicians, herbalists, and researchers throughout the U.S. and Canada. He is the president of Herbalist & Alchemist, Inc., a manufacturer of herbal products, and the author and co-author of several books, including Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.
I like to view adaptogens as a mirror reflecting away the harmful effects of stress! The best part is that adaptogens are all plant based, non-toxic (in normal doses), and do not require a visit to the doctor or a pharmacist. Adaptogens are also non-habit forming, which makes them highly attractive to our health conscious population.
While I could go on and on about the many benefits of these formulations, it is important to note that our bodies are not structured to live under continued exposure to stressors. While this class of herbs may help reduce the effects of chronic or acute stress, the root cause of the stress should still be determined and addressed to fully break the cycle. Adaptogens may be used as an aid while one works on implementing healthier lifestyle habits, or in times of situational stress.
Before chasing down your adaptogens, be sure to give consideration to the formulation of the product as this is everything when it comes to overall efficacy. All of the adaptogens stocked in The Rooted Hook Mercado are sourced from Anima Mundi, a Brooklyn based apothecary with roots in Costa Rica. Each jar is ethically sourced, highly potent, and formulated to ensure maximum absorption in the body. If you have any questions about which adaptogen may be right for you, snag a brochure in The Mercado, or reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to help you find the best product for your needs.
*This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.