Unlocking the Power of Adaptogens: Nature’s Natural Stress Busters

Unlocking the Power of Adaptogens: Nature’s Natural Stress Busters

 

Introduction

In the relentless hustle and bustle of modern life, stress has become a constant unwelcome companion for many of us. The term stress usually evokes images of endless to-do lists, sleepless nights, and a sense of feeling overwhelmed by life's demands. But it wasn’t always this way. Stress is a primitive response to a threat, and has been integral to the survival of the species.


Understanding your stress response

The stress response is conducted by the body's central nervous system and involves a cascade of biochemical processes. When the brain perceives a threat—whether physical or psychological—it signals the adrenal glands to release stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline boosts energy and increases heart rate, while cortisol, the primary stress hormone, mobilises sugar stores into our blood to ensure that the body has enough energy to handle the stressor. This is a testament to the body’s remarkable capacity for adaptation. In acute situations, stress can heighten our senses, sharpen our focus, and provide us with the energy needed to deal with challenges. For our ancestors, this response would have been crucial for their survival, enabling humans to flee from predators or fight off threats. In today’s world, it's a necessary mechanism for motivating action, driving us to meet deadlines, perform well in competitive situations, and respond to emergencies.


The negative connotations associated with stress primarily arise from its chronic form. Whether it's the pressure of meeting work deadlines, navigating personal relationships, or coping with global uncertainties, chronic stress is becoming a mainstay in our modern-day with undeniable implications for our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. 


It's not about eliminating stress entirely, which is generally not possible. Instead, the goal is to develop strategies to prevent stress from becoming chronic, which is an increasingly prevalent concern in our modern world. As a result, it is more important than ever that we build restorative practices into our daily rituals that support our well-being.

 

 

Let’s meet the adaptogens


Adaptogens are a unique class of herbal ingredients that, as their name suggests, help the body adapt to stress.  They do this primarily by affecting the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA axis) which is responsible for the release of stress hormones. Adaptogens increase resistance to this stress chemistry and decrease our sensitivity to stressors, providing a state of increased resilience. They have been part of traditional medicine systems for centuries, used to enhance energy, stamina, and endurance, and to reduce fatigue. Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, and Holy Basil are notable examples, each with a unique mechanism of action to support the body’s stress response system.


Ashwagandha: A Cornerstone of Adaptogenic Therapy

Among the most revered in this class is Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Often called “Indian Ginseng” an ancient herb with a rich history in Ayurvedic medicine, celebrated for its myriad health benefits.  Ashwagandha stands out in the adaptogen family for its broad-spectrum efficacy, specifically its impact on the HPA axis.  It is renowned for its ability to reduce cortisol levels, which is our primary stress hormone. In a 60-day study of 64 people with chronic stress, those in the group that supplemented with Ashwagandha reported a 69% reduction in anxiety compared with 11% in the placebo group (1). 


Classified as a Rasayana (tonic) in Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is used for rejuvenating the body and promoting longevity. Its influence extends to the brain, where it has been shown to decelerate the ageing process, bolster memory and fortify cognitive function (2). By regulating the brain's circadian rhythms, Ashwagandha has been proven to be effective in improving sleep quality by regulating the levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which calms brain activity.  Improved sleep patterns can help immensely with mental clarity, offering a holistic approach to combating stress and anxiety (2). 


How long do adaptogens take to work?

Unlike conventional quick-fix solutions, adaptogens restore balance to the body's stress response system over time. The key to their effectiveness lies in consistent, long-term usage as they gradually work to address the root cause of nervous system dysregulation. It can be as simple as stepping away from your screen and taking a mindful moment to enjoy a delicious cup of our adaptogenic Cacao + Collagen.  We recommend incorporating adaptogens into your daily wellness ritual alongside other stress management techniques like time in nature, meditation and yoga.

 


Summary

In summary, Ashwagandha's multifaceted benefits offer comprehensive support to the many stress-related challenges of modern life. From reducing stress and anxiety to supporting cognitive function and more, Ashwagandha stands as a testament to the power of nature's pharmacy. As research continues to uncover its vast potential, Adaptogens like ashwagandha will continue to be a pivotal companion of contemporary wellness practices.  


At Ancient & Brave, we are committed to blending ancient wisdom with modern science to create wellness products that support your brave lifestyle. Our carefully crafted formulations are designed to harness the power of adaptogens like Ashwagandha, helping you to thrive in a modern world. We ensure sustainability and quality in sourcing these precious botanicals is both a homage to this wisdom and a brave promise for the future to ensure long-term availability of these vital resources for future generations.


Embrace the ancient wisdom of Ashwagandha and embark on a journey to optimal health and wellness with Ancient + Brave - products. Discover the power of adaptogens to transform your life, one ritual at a time with our adaptogenic blends. 

 

 

(1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23439798/ 

(2) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-59192-6_21

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