The Top 3 Hormone Balancing Adaptogens
What are Adaptogens?
What modern woman is not under stress? Whether it is school, work, your partner, your children, or your social life. There is always something causing us stress. This is natural and in fact, some stress is good. However, too much stress can lead to negative consequences such as hormonal imbalance, weight gain, low libido, and as we age even cognitive impairment. As modern medicine advances, so does the demand for more natural remedies. Thankfully, so does the research surrounding these natural remedies.
A natural remedy that has become quite well-studied in recent years are adaptogens. These are plant-based compounds that work to increase an individual’s ability to adapt to environmental factors such as stress. Thus, adaptogens can be used to adapt to stress and prevent it’s associated consequences.1
The use of plants, specifically adaptogens, in medicine and healing is not a novel concept. In fact, in India and many Asian countries, Ayurvedic medicine (a form of ancient Indian traditional) has been used since 3000B.C. That predates Buddha.
When talking about hormonal balance, there are three adaptogens that come to mind. These are Maca, Ashwagandha, and Reishi. Each play an important role in managing your hormone responses to stress and preventing their consequences.
Maca is an Andean plant and comes from the brassica (or mustard) plant family. Historically, Maca has been used in the Andes region to treat anemia, infertility and female hormone balance. More recently, research has shown that Maca is useful for a variety of hormonal processes such as production of sex hormones, enhancing sex drive, stimulating metabolism, controlling body weight, increasing, energy, reducing stress, and improving memory.2
More commonly known as “Indian Ginseng,” Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in Ayruvedic practices for its wide range of health benefits. Studies have shown its usefulness in the prevention and treatment of multiple stress induced diseases such as arteriosclerosis, premature aging, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, memory loss, and certain cancers. More and more research regarding this herb is beginning to surface with promising results for this adaptogen.3 You can add it to a smoothie in powder form or buy in pill form.
“The Magic Mushroom.” Reishi is a highly regarded mushroom widely used in ancient Chinese medicine. In China, this mushroom symbolizes success, longevity, and well-being (and rightfully so). Modern research has shown this mushroom to have a wide range of benefits including antioxidant activity, boosting the immune system, protecting are cardiovascular system, and improving learning and cognition.4
It is evident that these adaptogens are beneficial for not only your everyday stressors, but also ones that are more deeply set in your life and affecting your normal bodily functions. Adaptogens may play a large role in the future of modern medicine as naturopathic remedies become more widely researched.
You can add reishi powder to your smoothie or coffee!
** As with any new health regime, it advised to discuss with your doctor or a registered dietitian to ensure that it is right for you.
1. Panossian, A. & Wagner, H. Stimulating effect of adaptogens: an overview with particular reference to their efficacy following single dose administration. Phyther. Res. 19, 819–838 (2005).
2. Lee, M. S., Shin, B.-C., Yang, E. J., Lim, H.-J. & Ernst, E. Maca (Lepidium meyenii) for treatment of menopausal symptoms: A systematic review. Maturitas 70, 227–33 (2011).
3. Singh, N., Bhalla, M., De Jager, P. & Gilca, M. An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. African J. Tradit. Complement. Altern. Med. 8, (2011).
4. Armbrister, W. L. Reishi Mushroom-Scientific Overview. doi:10.1111/nyas.13399