Stress leads to a state of emotional or mental exhaustion. It can feel like there is no escaping the feeling of underperformance and fatigue. There are numerous causes to feeling rundown, including the loss of a loved one, hard days at work, or just the expedited cadence of life. Regardless of the cause, stress can put undue strain on the derail glands, which cause a person to experience adrenal fatigue.
The Relationship Between Stress And Adrenal Fatigue
According to health experts, adrenal fatigue is increasingly common in today’s day and age. The problem is that it is quite controversial because it’s not easy to diagnose. There’s no single marker or diagnosis that indicates adrenal fatigue. There is a connection between stress and adrenal fatigue, though. The adrenal glands release cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, to help regulate blood pressure. When the body encounters a stressful situation, the adrenals release high amounts of cortisol. Adrenal fatigue sets in once they release excess cortisol and can no longer produce adequate amounts for regular bodily functions.
What Are Adaptogens?
Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine used adaptogens to help enhance vitality and reduce stress. Adaptogens are plants that work to help the body respond better to stress by regulating hormonal responses. They make it so the body resists stress without entering a state of exhaustion. They help the body adapt to stress, but to the herb must do the following in order to be an effective adaptogen:
- Enhance the body’s ability to handle stress, both internally and externally
- Stimulate these effects after one use or multiple uses. If someone is using adaptogens in the long-term, they must be able to stimulate mental performance under fatiguing conditions.
- Be safe without side effects.
- Normalize bodily functions.
Adaptogens help the body combat fatigue and help to optimize the stress response. They may also help to boost immune function in the process. Continue reading to learn more about five adaptogens that fight stress and adrenal fatigue.
A review about the stimulating effects of adaptogens included rhodiola as a standout herb. The review of studies found that it helps the body resist stress without interfering with sleep structure or creating an addiction to it. Another report found that rhodolia worked efficiently and quickly, lasting four to six hours. Rhodolia works to optimize concentration and support healthy energy levels in people who experience adrenal fatigue.
The historical use of ginseng dates back thousands of years to traditional Chinese medicinal practices. Ginseng is now considered to be an excellent anti-inflammatory herb and an adaptogen. Chronic stress has the potential to cause chronic inflammation, which can lead to hormone dysfunction and poor immune response. Several studies found that ginseng has the ability to regulate the HPA axis, which regulates the body’s stress response. Ginseng also works to suppress the production of cytokines, which are pro-inflammatory and generated by stress.
The maca root is a powerful superfood, but many people revere it for its adaptogenic properties. Native to the Andes mountains in South America, maca is rich in protein, calcium, fiber, essential amino acids, and magnesium. Maca works to balance hormone production when the body produces too many hormones. Alternatively, it works to support hormone production if the body doesn’t produce enough hormones. If you use maca consistently, it can help support the function of the pituitary and hypothalamus glands. All of this together can help reduce the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, schisandra berries have five flavors that correspond to those five phases of traditional healing. These tastes/phases are: bitter (fire), salty (water), sour (wood), sweet (earth), and acrid (metal). These five flavors/phases work with the synergy of your body to help promote vitality and resistance against stressful situations. According to several studies, schisandra may help reduce fatigue and stress caused by depression. Other research shows that schisandra exhibits the ability to reduce mental fatigue and improve overall endurance.
We saved the best adaptogen for last. You cannot have an article about adaptogens and exclude ashwagandha; it would be sacrilege in the herbal community. Ashwagandha works to support the body’s inflammatory response, but it also helps to optimize blood pressure. Many studies found that it helps to support the activity of natural killer cells that the immune system sends to fight infections. One study in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine found that ashwagandha consistently reduced stress-induced damage. People who took 300 mg of ashwagandha twice daily experienced a reduction in cortisol levels.