Everyone is stressed these days.
Luckily, there’s always Starbucks. A venti cinnamon dolce latte might do the trick.
Sugar and caffeine get most of us through the day, but they come at a cost. And I’m not just talking about your waistline.
As our parents taught us, what goes up must come down. The instant that sugar-and-caffeine hit wears off, you’re feeling worse than before.
Giving up caffeine probably isn’t an option for you. (Though switching to lemon water for breakfast might help.)
Luckily, adaptogenic herbs, also known as adaptogens, could be a long-term answer.
Adaptogens protect against stress.
They’ve been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda for thousands of years. More recently, Gwyneth Paltrow popularized their use in her lifestyle blog GOOP.
But don’t dismiss them as woo-woo. The military has also shown interest in their applications. During the Second World War, pilots and submariners were given stimulants to boost mental and physical performance.
What’s incredible about adaptogens—and why they’re heads and tails above caffeine—is that they adapt to what the body needs.
They boost your energy without giving you the jitters. They help you feel great during the day and sleep deeply at night. They help you concentrate, feel less anxious, and bounce back faster from stress. They ground you. They put your body back into balance.
Too good to be true?
Not according to science. Research backs these claims.
[A] number of clinical trials demonstrate that adaptogens exert an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental work capacity against a background of stress and fatigue.”
What makes adaptogens even more amazing is that they’re (in most cases) 100% natural.
In fact, they derive their stress-busting power from plants that have adapted to growing in hostile environmental conditions.
Sound like something you might want to try?
If you’re already taken a multivitamin and probiotics, your supplements budget might be maxed out.
Instead, consider borrowing from your caffeine budget. For about the price of four lattes, you can try a different source of energy—one that won’t drop you as soon as it wears off.
Tim Ferris recommends Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffee, which blends caffeine with the energy and creativity-boosting power of adaptogenic mushrooms.
You can even buy Sex Dust, branded as “an adaptogenic blend of lusty superherbs … that help combat the effects of stress to ignite your creative energy, in and out of the bedroom.”
But the price of Moon Juice’s “dust” might seem unreasonable outside of L.A. You can get more reasonably priced—but less sexy—adaptogen blends for half that.
Which adaptogens should you choose? There are so many!
Dr. Frank Lipman recommends Asian ginseng (also known as Panax ginseng) for wellbeing, eleuthero for recovering from illness, ashwaghanda (also known as Indian ginseng) for exhaustion, and rhodiola rosea for balancing cortisol levels.
He recommends taking several adaptogens at once and, naturally, offers his own proprietary blend.
Others echo his recommendations, saying that combining adaptogens gives a synergistic effect.
Dr. Josh Axe adds holy basil for anti-aging, astragalus root for immunity, licorice root for endurance, and cordycep mushrooms for its antioxidants to the list.
If all the options overwhelm you, go for an adaptogenic blend or consult a naturopath or traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.
As always, if you have any health conditions, are breastfeeding, or take medications, talk to your doctor first.
Still, it’s hard to imagine any supplement could replace that morning latte. If you give adaptogens a try, let us know your experiences in the comments!