Adaptogens are a special class of non toxic botanical substances-herbs,roots and mushrooms extract that will support the adrenal glands, allowing them to respond and fight stress in your body in a more efficient way. This special group of plants, called adaptogens are marketed as helping our body to resist stress of all kinds, whether is physical, chemical or biologic.
Adaptogens are nothing new, they have been used for centuries by Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions and today they have a special comeback, call it a renaissance if you want.
Adaptogens will do for your adrenal glands what exercise does for your muscles. They will tweak the hormonal production and psychological responses to stress to ensure that the body (from your mind to your immunity system to your energy levels) will function as it should!
You might wander how stress, adaptogens and the way your skin looks are connected. Well, everything is connected, the way you feel inside will reflex on the outside, in the way your skin, nails and hair will look. Just think, how many times, in stressful situations your skin flared with eczema or a nasty hormonal breakout or you started to lose hair, when apparently you "looked healthy". I am guessing every single time ?!
Stress hormones can bring havoc on your skin and on your and hair too. As a result stress can lead to anything from breakouts, dark circles, irritation and inflammation, redness, hair loss, worsening psoriasis and eczema.
The adaptogens will support the adrenal glands that produce stress hormones like cortisol, to respond more efficient and to help your body adapt to the stressful environment by maintaining and restoring your hormonal balance.
Most commonly used and probably most popular adaptogen is Indian Ginseng also called Ashwagandha, an ancient medicinal herb used in Ayurveda. Antimicrobial, antioxidant, skin brightening and with the ability to retain moisture in skin, Ashwagandha is a powerful calming agent that naturally lowers the cortisol levels, reduce fatigue and regulates the immunity system. Herbivore Botanicals Emerald Oil Serum, and Disciple Good Skin Oil both have Ashwagandha on their ingredient list.
Holy Basil (Tulsi) is also an adaptogen, considered a sacred plant within the Hindu belief, this aromatic herb is one of the most potent anti-viral herbs in Ayurveda. Antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, neuroprotective, stress reducing and rich in Linoleic Acid, can help fight inflammation in acne.
Odacite created a Blue Aura Cleansing Water with Holy Basil and Skin Regimen has a Tulsi Booster a concentrated serum oil that helps with inflammation and hyperpigmentation. Youth To The People and Origins they also use Holy Basil in some of their products.
A recent study from 2017 shows a significant increase in collagen production when Panax known as Red Ginseng is used, clinically validating it as a viable anti-wrinkle agent, reason why Pixi Beauty and Elemis are using this adaptogen in their toners and serums.
Reishi mushrooms, unlike other mushrooms this one grows on tree stumps and its name stands for "spiritual potency, an adaptogen very popular in the Asian culture, for treatment of infections but also cancer.
A powerful scavenger of free radicals that cause cell damage and signs of premature aging, Reishi mushrooms as adaptogen are used in skincare by brands like Antipodes, Origins, Perricone MD and of course Shiseido.
In recent years, Reishi mushrooms have been formulated in a variety of cosmetic products to detoxify, smooth and protect skin with its anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential, amazing calming and regenerative properties for irritated skin and even for skin with lesions.
Goji berry, a vitamin rich fruit used for a long time in the Chinese medicine, may help stimulate collagen, promote cell viability and aid in wound healing. Sukin, Rms Beauty, Andalou Naturals, Lumene are some of the skincare brands using this adaptogen.
Passion Flower is used to treat sleep disorders and anxiety but also general or localized pain. Recent studies are showing that Passion Flower is amazing for skincare too and regarded to treat burns, having antibacterial wound healing properties. Bloom & Blossom are using Passion Flower in their nip and lip multibalm, Guy Morgan is using this beautiful flower in his luxurious niche face oil.
Burdock, a popular plant with the macrobiotic diet for many years, listed as an adaptogen plant, has been used as a blood purifier, cleaning liver and kidneys of toxic. Pixi Beauty has a detox mud face mask with burdock root, Disciple and Sukin is using it in a lot of their skincare. Burdock root can be used for hot, red super angry acne and inflamed skin conditions, bedsores, herpetic eruptions, fever blister, burns, rashes, weeping eczema and psoriasis.
Rosemary, Clary Sage, Aloe Vera, Chinese Star Anise, Cilantro, Fennel, Dandelion, Lavender, Licorice, Mint, Lemon balm, Marshmallow root- are all adaptogens and this list is actually much longer.
Personally, I have used a number of adaptogens, as I drink a lot of tea and I always use fresh herbs to prepare my food.
I love a fresh brewed coffee with anise stars, so delicious and perfect for winter mornings. I love cooking fennel or having it in my tea and always cooking with Rosemary, Sage and Thyme. Clipper and Yogi are having so many delicious and healthy tea assortments that can really boost your immunity system, keep your mind focused, your liver healthy and your skin clean and radiant.Botanical skincare with adaptogens is really trending at the moment and I am a huge fan of it, because it really saved and changed my skin.
Of course, adaptogens are not a cure-all or a medical substitute. As with any drug, vitamins or supplements, adaptogens can also have side effects, interactions and contraindications. From this point of view do your research, talk to your nutritionist or even to your personal doctor before you decide to include a certain adaptogen as food supplement or drink to your diet/nutrition.
In my opinion supplements are in general under regulated and in many cases potentially dangerous.
As I am doing a research over adaptogens and natural ways to fight stress, I would really love to know more about how you deal with stress on a daily base and if stress affects the way your skin and hair looks.
********This is not a sponsored post and I am not affiliated with any of the brands mentioned in this post.