Cruise through the colder months with these herbal wonders
If adaptogens haven’t made it onto your wellbeing radar, now’s the perfect time to give them a try. “In recent years the term ‘adaptogen’ has made regular appearances in our wellness, nutrition and health arena,” says Lola Biggs, dietician at Togetherhealth.co.uk. “It is an umbrella term given to the collection of plants, herbs, spices and roots that share a common ground when it comes to supporting our bodies’ stress response.” As we enter colder months and dreaded ‘flu season’ adaptogens provide some of nature’s greatest lines of defence.
Ashwagandha is a super power amongst adaptogens, known mainly for reducing cortisol levels. “Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone because our adrenal glands release it in response to stress,” says Kathryn Danzey, founder of supplement brand Rejuvenated. “One study showed a reduction of cortisol of 30 percent and, a further study shows a 69 percent reduction in stress levels over a 60-day period. Try Rejuvenated’s Immune Complex, £20, rejuvenated.com
“Aside from its very high nutritional content, Moringa is now gaining status as a true adaptogen because of its ability to increase resistance to stress, whether this stressor is physical, chemical or biological,” says Shabir Daya, co-founder of natural health platform victoriahealth.com. “ It also helps to bring the body back into balance and it does not interfere with the body’s normal functions. Moringa is great to have at this time of the year as not only does it help manage stress, it also supports our immune system, increases energy, improves circulation and much more.” Try Aduna’s Moringa Powder, from £6.99, aduna.com
Rhodiola has a long-standing reputation for increasing stamina, energy and banishing fatigue. ”This fame is not new,” says Lola Biggs, “with thousands of years of recorded use, it is well established for its therapeutic benefits. A root whose origin lies in the tough and changeable conditions of the Siberian mountains, it is believed that the success of this root adapting to the hard environments, is where its nourishing potential arises.” Try the Together Health Stress Aid Complex, £9.99. It blends 11 food-based vitamins and minerals with 3 apoptogenic herbs including rhodiola to help support your body and manage the way it responds to stress
Siberian Gingseng root has a long history of use as a herbal adaptogen. “It is known to improve physical performance and endurance in athletes, boost general wellbeing, and for its stress relieving properties,” says Kate Harahan, Health Coach & Franchise Owner of Neal’s Yard Remedies Edinburgh. “Studies using Siberian Ginseng have found that it can help improve both mental and physical performance under stress and improve symptoms of chronic fatigue, as well as providing antidepressant properties” – perfect for those who suffer a low mood during darker months. Try Siberian Ginseng Single Herbal Tincture £11.25/150ml, nealsyardremediesedinburgh.com
As the temperature drops during autumn, we are more susceptible to seasonal illnesses and it is important to keep our immune system healthy to avoid infections. Schisandra berries are packed with antioxidants including vitamin C, which plays an essential role in maintaining normal function of the immune system. This is a powerful herbal adaptogen traditionally used to build resilience to stress and to balance energy levels. “It can be useful for those with mental and physical fatigue, burnout, or low mood,” says Kate. “It’s also known as ‘five flavour berry’ because the berries contain the sour, sweet, salty, bitter and hot flavours referred to in Chinese medicine, it is a powerful tonic. If you are taking any medication, have any existing health issues, or are pregnant or breastfeeding – please consult with your doctor or a qualified professional before using herbs or supplements. Try Viridian Enhanced Rhodiola Complex (containing Schisandra, Licorice, Rhodiola, Ashwagandha & Siberian Ginseng Root). £12.35/30 caps. nealsyardremediesedinburgh.com
Korean Panax Ginseng is a slow-growing plant with fleshy roots that has been shown to stimulate mental activity in people who feel tired, fighting brain fog for better mental clarity. “It is known as the Fountain of Youth among the Chinese,” says Joe Welstead, founder of Motion Nutrition Nootropics, “and is now increasingly used to support the treatment against Alzheimer’s. Its extracts can also be found in our mental energy supplement Motion Nutrition Power Up. In fact, Power Up users, on average, reduce their caffeine dependence by 20 percent after four weeks of use.” Try Power up, £24.99, motionnutrition.com
With a history in Chinese medicine, Astragalus has been long been used as an immune system booster, with evidence showing that it potentially increases the body’s production of white blood cells. According to leading expert in antioxidant skincare and superfood based supplements, Dr David Jack, it’s not just immune health that Astragalus may help with. “It has a number of other purported health benefits including antiageing and anti-inflammatory effects,” he says. Try Dr David Jack’s highly awaited Relax Bedtime Hot Choc. It’s like a herbal Horlicks with a Nootropic, Adaptogen, Reishi twist, designed for optimal support for the nervous system, £59, drdavidjack.com
Reishi mushroom, with its Eastern origins is an adaptogen known for its history of promoting health and longevity. “Reishi mushrooms are widely used to strengthen the body’s immune system through their powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making them ideal during winter months,” says Serena Coan, Nutritionist, BANT. “In addition they can support sleep, heart health and are great at improving resilience to stress.” Try Feel Multivitamins for a dose of reishi mushroom alongside a blend of 32 vitamins, minerals and botanicals, from £11.95, Wearefeel.com
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