Adapt-A-What? 6 Adaptogens you need to know about to help fight fatigue

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Ashwagandha, Astragalus, Rhodiola Rosea… does this sound like a foreign language to you? All are a unique class of herbs called Adaptogens and they all can help fight fatigue.

Adaptogens have been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and to be frank, they are all the rage right now in the wellness community. They are gaining such popularity that it has even been reported that Sephora will start to carry a line in September. Adaptogens work directly by improving your adrenal system, the system responsible for the body’s hormonal response to the dreaded “S” word. Stress.

Called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to your body’s specific needs, naturally and slowly, without a crash. Though their effects may initially be subtle, but they are real and scientifically proven.

Think of Adaptogens as an air conditioning unit set to automatic. Just like A/C, when it gets too hot, it brings down the temperature, and when it starts too get chilly, it warms up. Adaptogens can soothe and fight stress while simultaneously boosting energy naturally and without stimulation like caffeine. By supporting adrenal function, these little powerhouses counteract the negative effects of stress and promote homeostasis.

According to Jaime Marks, L.Ac., a licensed well known acupuncturist and herb specialist at Jaime Marks Acupuncture PLLC, and ProClinix Sports Physical Therapy & Chiropractic, “One of the biggest contradictions of our hyper scheduled and high paced lifestyles, is that individuals are so “fatigued,” but can’t find the time or energy to stop moving”.

She goes on to say, “ Whether the culprit is overwork, stress or frustration within our own lives, next thing you know your health is impacted. There are healthy and alternative ways to help boost our energy and fight fatigue besides chugging a Starbuck’s Venti Latte and Adaptogens are a key component.”

Here is a list of 6 Adaptogens to start with. It is recommended to start with one or two and go from there.

Cordyceps – Prized for their natural ability to fight free radicals, infections and inflammation, cordyceps are impressive disease-fighting mushrooms that have been used for centuries to reduce symptoms of respiratory disorders, coughs, colds, liver damage and much more. Considered a type of natural “immuno-potentiating drug,” cordyceps are now used to bring the immune system back to normal following life-threatening infections or illnesses. Additionally, research shows that cordyceps fight stress or fatigue by naturally increasing energy levels.

Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is best known to combat stress and anxiety. Ashwagandha is a vital herb in Ayurvedic Medicine with a long history of therapeutic use and is sometimes referred to as “Indian Ginseng.” Ashwagandha is reputed to help support emotional balance and brain function, and acts as a potent antioxidant to boost the immune system. In a recent study conducted by the U.S. National Library of medicine, it was reported that this tonic herb may help with asthma, arthritis, chronic fatigue, anemia, infertility, depression and blood pressure.

Schiandra Berry – Schisandra is a potent general tonic, decreasing fatigue, enhancing physical performance, and promoting endurance. The berry counters stress by reducing the levels of stress hormones in the blood. Additionally, Schisandra offers great benefits for athletes. Other uses for schisandra include treatment of high cholesterol, sleep problems (insomnia), nerve pain, erectile dysfunction (ED), physical exhaustion and more. It really is a multi-tasker.

He Shou Wu – He Shou Wu has a history of use as a beauty, anti-aging and longevity tonic. It is said to strengthen and nourish the blood, hair, skin, nervous system and sexual center. It also may also help resist the common cold by enhancing immune function by promoting red blood cells and increasing antioxidant function. People have reported the reversal of grey hair from using. Woah.

Rhodiola Rosea – It’s adaptogen superpower is the ability to improve oxygen absorption. This product is mildly stimulating in nature. Marks says “ Rhodiola helps regulate cortisol levels which become unbalanced when we are stressed out or exhausted. It will help get circadian rhythms back in sync with cortisol levels. This improves brain function, fatigue, and even may help with depression.” Rhodiola is well known to improve mental clarity and may promote creativity, stamina and support weight balance.

Mucuna Pruriens – This caramel tasting powder is one of the only naturally occurring (and the most concentrated) sources of L-Dopa, an amino acid that is a precursor to Dopamine. The high concentrations of L-Dopa causes the brain to release dopamine, in turn stimulating the pituitary gland to produce human growth hormone, which promotes muscle growth and improved strength. This is the closest thing that exists to a natural, safe non-addictive antidepressant or mood enhancer.

Which one do you think you would like to try first? As always, please consult a doctor before starting any new health routine.

If you want to know more about Adaptogens, head over to