What Are Adaptogens? And How Can They Help?

With so much uncertainty in the world today surrounding the COVID-19 Coronavirus, everyone is looking for ways to increase wellness and to boost their immune system. We try drinking more water and packets of Emergen-C; we load up on antioxidants, green veggies, and we try to get enough sleep — there are dozens of ways to try to improve our health. And increasing our immune system often comes down to having a balanced diet.

Adaptogens are herbs that have a history in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions. They are often added directly into a meal, used as a natural supplement, or brewed into teas. According to a study completed in 2010, adaptogens exhibit neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, antidepressant stimulating activity. Adaptogens have also been shown to have an anti-fatigue effect, especially when our bodies are struggling with stress and mental exhaustion. It’s thought that these herbs help our bodies “adapt” to stress, helping to create homeostasis, or balance in our bodies. By interacting with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and sympathoadrenal systems, adaptogens help our body function as it should.

Some common adaptogens used by alternative medicine doctors include:

  • Panax Ginseng: Asian ginseng is one of the most powerful adaptogens that can provide users with a sense of calmness. A plant compound, saponin, found in ginseng may help reduce the amount of serotonin that is released due to stress.
  • Holy Basil: Also known as tulsi, holy basil is often used as an anti-aging supplement. Holy basil also contains several essential phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants) that are thought to reduce stress and lower blood corticosterone, another stress hormone.
  • Ashwagandha: Indian ginseng has been studied for many years, and is thought to affect cortisol and stress tolerance.
  • Astragalus Root: This is another adaptogen that helps reduce stress and may boost immunity.
  • Cordycep Mushrooms: A type of fungi, reishi, shiitake, and maitake are types of cordyceps. They have antioxidant properties and have been shown to have anti-fatigue qualities and immune-enhancing properties.
  • Elderberry: High in antioxidants and vitamin D, elderberry may help reduce fevers and boost the immune system.
  • Licorice Root: This adaptogen offers a variety of benefits, including boosting the immune system, regulating hormone levels associated with stress, and it may affect potassium levels.
  • Goji Berry: If you’re feeling low in energy, goji berry may help boost energy levels, improve mental performance, and give you a good night’s rest.
  • Rhodiola: Also known as golden root, this is extracted from the Rhodiola Rosea plant. It can help with symptoms of fatigue and stress by building up our body’s natural defenses.
  • Turmeric: This spice offers several health benefits, such as increasing antioxidant capacity, boosting brain function, and can be used as an antidepressant.

How to Incorporate Adaptogens Into Your Diet

Whether you want to give your immune system an overall boost, if you have been struggling with fatigue, or if you want to speed up recovery from the flu, adaptogens have been known to naturally improve how the body functions. As you can imagine, these products may not be easily found in the grocery store’s produce section. However, they are often included in many popular teas, especially turmeric, goji berry, and ginseng. And if you want to give other adaptogens a try, they can be ordered from many alternative medicine retailers, including ICNR. When you’re feeling tired or lethargic, there’s nothing better than relaxing on the couch with a hot cup of tea.


International Center For Nutritional Research, ICNR is passionate about helping our customers lead a high-quality life. Our Adaptogen-R3 is an herbal blend that offers support when you’re feeling stressed, and the natural supplement comes in a vegetarian capsule. We love learning how the body works and can improve using natural, alternative medicine. Shop our collection and boost your immune system naturally.


About The Author

Dr. Gerald H. Smith is certified by the World Organization for Natural Medicine to practice natural medicine globally. He is also a certified dental practitioner. His broad base of post-graduate training in dentistry and natural medicine enabled him to integrate many health care specialties.