7 Adaptogenic Herbs to Help Ease Occasional Stress

by Melissa Chichester

Have you ever felt stress every now and then? You might be thinking to yourself “of course I have! Who hasn’t?” Unfortunately, stress can have some has many negative impacts on the body, especially if it isn’t dealt with. In addition to a nutritious diet and exercise, traditional adaptogenic herbs are a wholesome way to help the body adjust under pressure.

What are adaptogens?

In 1947, the term “adaptogen” was coined by Russian scientist N.V. Lazarez to describe plant substances that helped the body adapt to stressors. Later on, another Russian scientist, Dr. Israel Brekhman, paved the way for the study of these adaptogens to expand. Brekhman devoted over forty years of his career to studying adaptogens and was especially known for his work with eleuthero (Siberian ginseng). According to Brekhman, adaptogenic plants had to meet the following criteria:

• Have to be non-toxic to the individual
• Helps reduce and regulate occasional stress by helping the body adapt
• Positively affects the body

In short, adaptogens prompt balance in the body.

7 adaptogenic herbs

If you’re ready to see how adaptogens can enhance your well-being, here are seven herbs known for their adaptogenic qualities.

Ashwaghanda: Known as “Indian Ginseng,” this herb has been used to support well-being for centuries in Ayurvedic therapies.* Ashwaghanda translates to “the smell of a horse” in Sanskrit, providing historical context as to its strength.

Rhodiola: Rhodiola is one of the most popular botanicals in Siberia, where it is a native plant. It is also known as “Siberian Ginseng” and naturally contains antioxidants.*

Cordyceps mushroom: This stalk-like mushroom’s name translates to “winter worm/summer grass” from its Chinese name, “dōng chóng xià cǎo.” Cordyceps is one of the most prized adaptogens in traditional Chinese medicine.*

Holy basil: Holy basil is known for its adaptogenic qualities and is most consumed by drinking Tulsi tea. Widely cultivated in India and south Asia, holy basil is a sacred plant in the Hindu religion.

Schisandra: Schisandra comes from a small, reddish purple berry found in China and Russia.

Aronia: Also known as the chokeberry, aronia is an adaptogenic herb native to eastern North America.* Its dark purple berries contain several antioxidants, and it is highly regarded in indigenous cultures.

Eleuthero: Eleuthero root is an adaptogen that has been prized in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. This shrub can grow up to fifteen feet high and grows in sparse forests or thickets.