Imagine your body’s interior as the gleaming surface of a calm lake. A small rock hits the water. The rock is an everyday annoyance, like a traffic jam, that makes you late for the dentist. Plink. A few ripples appear in the water. No big deal.
An hour later, your dentist tells you that you need a root canal. Plunk. A bigger rock lands in your lake and the circle of ripples extends to the water's edge. Your heart beats faster and your mind swirls.
Then your credit card is declined as you try to pay. Splash! The ripples of stress transform into waves.
Stress poisons every inch of our body. It cripples the immune system, upsets delicate hormones, and disrupts digestion, and that is not only it. Most dangerous of all, it increases inflammation. Stress lies at the root of every inflammatory disease. Controlled inflammation is useful, like using heat to cook, but uncontrolled inflammation will burn your house down. Stress can influence, if not spark diseases such as obesity, cancer, heart disease, arterial disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, arthritis — and the list goes on. There are no two ways about it, any kind of stress, be it physical, emotional, or psychological, will turn on inflammation in the body.
There are different ways of dealing with stress and employing a combination of those is a guarantee for a successful result. However, today I wanted to discuss adaptogens, which are herbs that share rare and coveted traits — they mitigate the negative impact of stress by strengthening and stabilising our body.
Adaptogenic herbs like ginseng are great for battling stress and boosting your overall immunity, strength, and resilience. If ginseng were a Hollywood starlet, she’d be cast as a brainy, energetic lady, playing roles that shine with range and subtlety. And she’d share the screen with her equally radiant and talented herbal peers known as “adaptogens.”
Adaptogenic herbs — such as ginseng, Rhodiola, ashwagandha, and eleuthero — have been used for thousands of years in ancient healing practices like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Even so, many people have never heard of them. But now you can no longer say that you haven’t.
I would like to briefly explain how they work. The body has a master switch that responds to things like stress, radiation, and tobacco smoke etc. That single switch controls more than 500 genes responsible for inflammation. Adaptogens ensure that the switch turns off and stays off. In doing so, they help decrease inflammation.
In other words, an adaptogen works like a tuning fork on your body: It helps bring your system back into harmony after a day of discord.
Which adaptogens are right for you? They are certainly not one-size-fit-all. To help you decide I’ve written this article