What Are Adaptogens?

If you’ve been paying attention to the health and wellness world in recent years—it’s likely you’ve stumbled across adaptogens.

But despite their recent surge in popularity—springing up in skincare, health foods, teas and wellness tinctures across a variety of categories—adaptogenic herbs have been well-researched and utilised for centuries in both Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions.

While there are many different herbs that are classed as adaptogens—and each hold their own unique qualities and benefits—as a group, they are recognised as herbal pharmaceuticals that help the body respond and adapt to stress. In essence, they work holistically to bring the body back into balance—to a sort of equilibrium where we feel calm, energised and ready to tackle all of the challenges and stressors life throws at us.

At LAMAV, we are committed to creating formulas that blend the powers of nature with the traditions of Ayurveda and so frequently, have incorporated adaptogens in both our skincare and wellbeing ranges—to supercharge not only your beauty, but your overall health, immunity and wellbeing as well. And, in our brand new inner beauty range, we’ve included our exclusive proprietary Ayurvedic Beauty Blend™ which includes Holy Basil, Turmeric, Ashwagandha and Amla… which we explore in more detail below.

But first, how do adaptogens support our health?

While research into the health and wellbeing benefits of adaptogens continues to emerge, what we know already is that adaptogens not only help to manage stress and anxiety by supporting the central nervous system, but they also combat fatigue, aid sleep, reduce inflammation and conditions such as arthritis as well as boosting general wellbeing.

However, as each adaptogen boasts its own distinctive benefits—as with any topical solution or internal supplement—it’s important to select the right adaptogen for its intended purpose.

Here’s everything you need to know about some of the more common adaptogens, as well as how they can support your health, beauty, immunity and wellbeing.

 

Ashwagandha

Undoubtedly the most widely known adaptogen, ashwagandha or Indian ginseng (botanical name: Withania somnifera) has its roots firmly planted in Ayurveda, used as a Rasayana—or path to essence—and is recognised universally for its incredible ability to support the body’s stress response and withstand anxiety. In Ayurvedic medicine ashwagandha promotes ‘strength and vigour’, while also helping to balance cortisol levels, subsequently reducing feelings of stress or overwhelm. In fact, one study shows that after an eight-week period, participants not only experienced a reduction in both their stress and anxiety levels, but also lower serum cortisol and improved sleep quality.

However, aside from its use as an anti-stress herb, ashwagandha is also praised for its abilities to bolster immune function, support heart health and combat inflammation. Due to its rich antioxidant profile, aswagandha aids collagen synthesis—promoting plumper, more youthful-looking skin—and fights free radical damage—a leading cause of ageing in the skin and body. 

 

Schisandra Berry

Commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, schisandra is used to fight fatigue, promote energy and vitality—as well as reduce stress—by promoting Qi, or life force. Research also suggests that this red-purple berry might even boast benefits for our cognitive health—showing a positive effect on Alzheimer’s disease—as well as depression, in animal studies.

 

From a phytochemical standpoint, schisandra berry is a rich source of lignans—compounds which harbour antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. 

 

Turmeric

Yes, this vibrant yellow root is not only a delicious spice to use liberally in your kitchen—but it’s also classified as an adaptogen. Most well-known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric also exhibits a number of therapeutic benefits for our skin, immunity and overall wellbeing.

As an adaptogen, turmeric is used to support brain health, combat depression and reduce systemic inflammation. It is also a potent source of antioxidants so when used topically, it can help to improve skin healing, brighten skin, improve texture and reduce the appearance of pigmentation.  

 

Amla

 Also known widely as Indian gooseberry, this Ayurvedic adaptogen is a good source of fibre and is therefore beneficial for digestive health. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant profile also promotes overall wellbeing by helping to combat the ageing and damaging effects of oxidative stress. One study also found that amla helped to reduce triglycerides and blood cholesterol—illustrating benefits for heart health, too. 

Given its high vitamin C content, amla can even improve the body’s ability to absorb other nutrients (win!) and bolster immune system function.

Holy Basil

Similarly to ashwagandha, holy basil (also known as Tulsi), is used most commonly to fight all manners of stress—on a metabolic level by normalising blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels, and psychologically by improving memory and cognitive function. But tulsi is also one of the best examples of Ayurvedic’s holistic healing philosophy as traditionally, it’s used for a myriad of conditions, including anxiety, allergies such as asthma, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders and skin issues—to name but a few. 

Its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties also make it an excellent ingredient in both topical skincare—combating free radical damage due to environmental stressors—and internal supplements by reducing the effects of oxidative stress, preventing premature ageing of the skin and body.

Experience the beautiful benefits of these adaptogens by exploring our Inner Beauty range here—which includes our exclusive LAMAV Ayurvedic Beauty Blend™.

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