“Nature itself is the best physician.” — Hippocrates

I always look forward to hikes with my dear friend, David, along with his dogs every weekend. Aside from bonding with him and getting my dose of puppy love, it brings me closer to nature. Something about nature always soothes whatever ails me, takes away my stress, rejuvenates my body and makes me feel somehow stronger. And I truly believe a healthy body and mind leads to fabulous skin!!!

So, when I first heard about this natural health trend that has taken over Instagram chatting about Adaptogens, I just had to find out more.

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are herbs and plants with special properties that are naturally occurring in nature and can help the body resist emotional or physical stressors.

The medicinal practice of using these herbs can be traced back to 3000 B.C., in Ancient Chinese and Ayurveda practices. Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev, who coined the term, defines an adaptogen as a plant that increases the “state of non-specific resistance” when applied to stress. Meaning it can help protect the body against a range of stressors.

The idea that a pill could improve mental and physical performance in healthy people was devised during World War II with various stimulants given to pilots and members of submarine crews. For instance, the first studies on the stimulating and tonic effects of Schisandra chinensis were published in Soviet Union WWII military journals.

How do they work?

They work by targeting the body’s three stages of stress: Alarm, resistance, and exhaustion (which is what happens when the stress alarm stays on). As their name suggests, adaptogens support and adapt to the body in its present state rather than imposing a new remedy that may or may not work.

How do you take adaptogens?

Adaptogens can be taken in several ways — powder, capsule or tincture. They can be added to a beverage or yoghurt to make it easy to get them into your daily routine.

If you decide to incorporate adaptogens into your health care regimen, start slow — a little at a time. Consult your doctor if you’re on any prescription drugs and maybe talk to a homeopathist for guidance. That will help you craft a plan that is specifically for your needs.

Always follow instructions in terms of usage and be patient with your body’s response. It can take a few weeks to feel the difference in your energy level. When using tinctures, it is sometimes recommended to hold them in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing.

Here are some popular adaptogens to research. All of them are powerful antioxidants that help to fight free radical activity but there are many additional benefits.

Schisandra: Boosts memory, focus and mental performance and helps calm irritated skin.

Ashwagandha: Protects the body against stress and anxiety, acts as a humectant and has antimicrobial and skin lightening benefits.

Tulsi/ Holy Basil: Reduces anxiety, stress and inflammation and can be used to treat acne and itching.

Maca Root: Boosts mood and energy levels and fights free radical activity.

Reishi Mushroom: Helps the body create a healthy sleep pattern allowing the Circadian cycle to repair and restore balance to the skin.

Cordyceps Mushroom: Balances hormones and reduces breakouts.

Turmeric: Can help with uneven texture and dark spots.

Nettle Leaf: Acts as natural astringent, tightens and firms the skin, regulates natural sebum production, treats acne, promotes flawless skin. accelerates the healing process of wounds and burns.

Licorice: A powerful antioxidant that has been shown to lighten dark spots.

Passionflower — Helps to stimulate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy source of living cells, and has anti-aging benefits.

Ginseng — Has been shown to help increase collagen production.

Goji berry — Excellent for wound healing and reducing scarring.

Chaga — Protects the cells against DNA damage.

Adaptogens have not been approved for use by the FDA, and some question the methodology of the studies that have been done on the subject. But these ingredients have been used for centuries and there is a lot of empirical evidence to show that they work.

For more wellness and skincare tips, check out my other blogs on Medium or call us at Skinsense Wellness at (323) 653–4701. We offer a virtual consultation, in-salon treatments, and home service facials to our valued clients.