Fight Stress Naturally With Adaptogenic Herbs

Stress is a natural part of life, but too much stress can impact your health. Mayo Clinic reports that when you're under too much stress for too long, it can lead to depression, headaches, weight gain, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and poor sleep. Furthermore, the American Institute of Stress explains that stress can raise your risk of type 2 diabetes and weaken your immune system.  

If you're looking for a natural way to fight stress, then adaptogens might be an option. Cleveland Clinic explains that adaptogens are compounds in certain plants that, when taken in normal doses, help your body find balance (homeostasis) — which helps you handle stress better. Dr. Brenda Powell, co-medical director of the Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute explains to Time that adaptogens train the body to "handle the effects of stress" by adjusting hormone levels and other physiological responses. Adaptogens are nothing new – WebMD reports that some have been used medicinally for hundreds of years.

There are many adaptogens to choose from

There are as many as 70 adaptogens used for health benefits, per WebMD. That said, some of the most common ones include American ginseng, Asian ginseng, ashwagandha, and Rhodiola. Powell explains that Asian ginseng and ashwagandha are known for treating long-term stress and hormone imbalances, while Rhodiola may help reduce hormones that trigger fight-or-flight responses (via Time). A report published in the journal Journal of Ginseng Research noted that American ginseng helped the body regain homeostasis caused by stress. Many adaptogens are available in capsules, tinctures, or teas.

Powell states that there aren't many reports of negative side effects of adaptogens, per Time. However, some adaptogens might interfere with drugs your doctor has prescribed. Because of this, Cleveland Clinic suggests talking with your doctor before taking any. It's especially important to have this conversation if you have any health conditions. Always do your homework and research brands, since supplements aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.