Adaptogens and Stress: Why Relief Isn’t Just For Your Mind Anymore
The raw, unbridled power of stress
First thing’s first, let’s get this out of the way: EVERYONE gets stressed out. Some more than others? Sure. But it happens to everyone, and there are clear physical tolls that stress takes on your body.
The kicker: You are probably attributing those physical symptoms to something else, and they’re not going to go away that way…
That pain in your neck? Could be stress. The reason you can’t focus on your work and laundry makes you cry? Stress, probably. That thing that keeps you up at night staring at the ceiling? Not what you think it is. Unless you think it is stress, then you’re probably right.
Stress is powerful. And it comes in all metaphorical shapes and sizes.
We’re going to get into how adaptogenic herbs can help you adapt (see what we did there?) to stress in a healthy way, but before we go there, we need to go here…
What is stress?
If you don’t understand what stress does to you, you can’t fully appreciate what adaptogens do for you. So this requires a quick explanation.
Picture your body as an immensely intricate machine: Your joints are well-oiled hinges. Your organs are finely tuned gears and switches. When everything is humming along smoothly, exactly as it was meant to perform, you are experiencing what scientists call “homeostasis.”
Homeostasis is basically your body working the way your body was meant to work: in perfect harmony.
Now picture a grain of sand. Are you doing it?
What if this grain of sand gets into one of the gears? Maybe nothing. Maybe a little crunch. Maybe the gear gets a little nicked up. No biggie.
But what if a pinch of sand gets into one of your hinges — let’s say the right knee. Suddenly it isn’t performing the way it was meant to perform. Now what?
Well, now the other parts of your body need to compensate. The left leg is taking on a lot more responsibility to move you around, supporting more weight, and wearing down more quickly as a result.
Bottom line: stress is sand.
When your body is stressed, normal functions get thrown off, which causes the whole organism (you) to break down more quickly.
Let look at a few ways that this stress-sand specifically affects your body…
How stress affects your body
There are 3 basic ways your body can experience stress:
Physical stress: This is when you step on a Hot Wheels car in the middle of the night and fall on your face. That, and any kind of pain to your body you may experience.
Chemical stress: This happens inside your body when you breathe in too many man-made chemicals and is frustratingly difficult to avoid as they are nearly everywhere, largely in building and furniture materials.
Psycho-emotional stress: This occurs when you get laid off, or when you argue with your husband, or when you’ve been cramming for an exam for 5 hours straight. Basically, when you overtax your mental and emotional capacities.
And when you undergo stress, there are a litany of not-so-great side effects that start to pop-up. For starters:
- Weakened immune response
- Inability to focus
- Joint and muscle pain
- Digestive — uhhh — issues
So, yeah. None of that is fun.
But even though there are a few different ways you can experience stress and even more ways your body shows that something is wrong… internally, all bodies deal with all stresses in basically the same way:
What is that? An astute question! We’ll start here:
There is a part of your brain called the Hypothalamus. (No, not Hippopotamus. We know you went there.)
The hypothalamus is responsible for maintaining that homeostasis/harmony thing we talked about. In order to police the body and make the little adjustments along the way that keep you in harmony-mode, your hypothalamus directs a strike team of internal systems to monitor for stress and squash it like the unwelcome bug it is.
That strike team is: your automatic nervous system (aka: the part you don’t consciously control), your adrenal glands, and your pituitary glands.
This team does a ton of work, but it is basically this: Adapt the interior of your body to be able to cope with the new (and stressful) exterior conditions it is experiencing.
So that sounds great, right? No problem the Strike Team can’t handle! Case closed.
Except, no, case is not closed. Case is still very open. Because: chronic stress.
The short, terrible story of chronic stress
What we’ve been talking about thus far is normal, short-term stress. This kind actually ends up being good for you. It’s like a drill for your strike team. If they just sat around all day with no stress to keep them busy, they’d undoubtedly get fat and lazy — a little slow on the draw. And that’s not good, either.
You want your strike team in tip top shape, should a wave of heavy stress come crashing down on you. You want them in “Target acquired. Target eliminated.” mode, not “Terry, you take this one. Happy Days is on.” mode.
But not all stress is helpful, and that’s where this “chronic” term comes in…
Chronic stress is stress that moves in and stays put. No amount of eviction notices seems to help. The strike team turns into an internal neighborhood watch committee — it just tries to manage the stress. But the stress is always there, playing it’s music too loud and letting its pets dump on your lawn.
And that’s all kinds of bad for you. Here’s why:
Eventually, the strike team gives up. It gets so worn out trying to keep the stress in line, that it simply doesn’t have the strength to destroy it.
Truth be told, some professionals attribute 80% of common ailments to the ravages of chronic stress. That’s huge. Like, really huge.
Here are a few maladies that are linked to chronic stress:
- Common cold
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Alcohol abuse
Any of that sound appealing? Didn’t think so. But unfortunately, you’ve probably experienced one or more. We deal with stress at work, at home, with our family – that’s the crazy, stress-fueled world we live in.
But get this:
It doesn’t have to be!
How to deal with stress so the relief sticks
Imagine that you have a a car…
Imagine that in order to start his car you had to open up the hood, tap 3 times on the engine with a wrench, slam the hood shut, run around the car three times, kick the passenger side tires, and turn the key while singing “It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood.”
Now imagine there’s another option:
There’s a product on the market makes your car run smooth as silk and start up like a dream. All you have to do is pour a couple ounces of the product into the gas tank every time you fill up.
Which option would you take?
Unless you are a really energetic Mr. Rogers impersonator, we bet you want that second option. And here’s the thing:
That second option is adaptogens.
When chronic stress sets into your body, suddenly you have a lot of work on your hands just trying to treat the symptoms, without ever addressing the root cause of the problem: your adaptive response system is shot to heck.
Your strike team is passed out on an array of dingy lawn chairs…
Instead of spending all your time trying to mask the symptoms of chronic stress, you could instead overcome stress by giving your body the nutrients it needs to revive the strike team and put stress in its place.
And that’s exactly what adaptogenic herbs offer you…
The role of adaptogens as stress relief supplements
It’s common these days to think about medicine in the terms of treatment. You have pain in your back, so you take some ibuprofen and it goes away for a little while. That’s normal. But it’s also not really the most effective way…
Much better would be to fuel your body in such a way that it can stop the inflammation in your back before it ever causes you to reach for the pill bottle, right?
This is how adaptogens do that:
You regularly give your body doses of the potent herbs. (They come in capsule form, but don’t let that fool you: it’s still just herbs.) The adaptogens enter your blood stream and act like reviving smelling salts to your exhausted adaptive response strike team – now overcoming stress like stealth ninja warriors. The more consistently you fuel your body with adaptogens, the better shape your strike team gets into, because they’re fortified with the best stress relief supplements possible.
Now they’re an elite fighting force again!
Over time, you realize you are less prone to wearing down. You get sick less often. You’re mood is better. You sleep better.
Why are all these amazing things happening to you?
Your adaptive response system is kicking stress and taking names, and your body is regaining that state of homeostasis-harmony it was always meant to have.
And that’s a beautiful thing to watch. And an even more beautiful thing to live.
Which leads us to…
Which adaptogenic herbs reduce stress?
There are a number of herbs with adaptogenic properties, but there are a few whose specific properties lend themselves to stress relief (or more accurately stress-control-leading-to-chronic-stress-reduction).
Rhodiola rosea (Golden Root): We call this grassy, Russian herb “the stamina booster.” It has proven through rigorous scientific testing to help your body adapt to long-term stress, both mental and physical. This is the one that helps you reach the end of a stressful day in high spirits, with mental clarity and a body that doesn’t feel like it was run over by a truck.
Leuzia carthamoides (Maral Root): We’ve dubbed this root “the muscle maker,” because it helps your muscles adapt quickly to stress. By improving your ability to turn complex substances into simpler ones (“anabolic activity” for all you scientists out there), this adaptogenic herb helps you build the muscles that protect your joints from chronic stress injury.
Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng): Since getting through the day with energy to spare isn’t all that helpful if you’re down for the count the next day, this herb we call “the recovery stimulator” is crucial. When your body and brain get a moment to catch their breath, Siberian Ginseng steps to the plate to ensure they are fresh as a daisy when their services are needed again.
Schizandra chinesis (Limonik): Don’t think we forgot about your nervous system! “The reflex manager” is a lemony herb that fine-tunes your automatic nervous system. The part of your body that reacts even before warning signals reach your brain, which can help overcome stress before it happens! This is a mission-critical system that chronic stress really takes a toll on. And you don’t know it’s compromised until you really need it…
So, all of this is to say…
Yes, herbal stress relief is really a real thing
The bonus, of course, is that the “relief” is built in once the adaptogens are in your system and your body is back in homeostasis-harmony mode…
You don’t have to wait for stress and anxiety “relief” to kick in, because it will be working behind the scenes the whole time. You can rest easy knowing BOOSTme has your back, because you’re topped up with the best supplements for stress and anxiety.
All you have to do is not feel worn down anymore.
All you have to do is enjoy your kids instead of get annoyed by them.
All you have to do is focus on winning instead of how much you’re going to pay for this tomorrow.
All you have to do is live your life with a fully functioning adaptive response system.
And we think you can handle that.