If you read my last article on cortisol, you know it’s time to get it together in regards to stress management. The definition of stress can range from blood sugar regulation, perceived stress, infections, and proper circadian rhythm functioning. It really is the missing piece of the weight loss puzzle and some help from medicinal plants can help. Adaptogens, a category of medicinal herbs, are the perfect support team to help you tackle your cortisol issues and get you back on track.
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens have been used for centuries and have historically caused wars because of their value to nations. I use adaptogens every day in my practice, with life-changing results. ‘Adapt’ogens work just as they sound, to help your body cope with the stress response and adapt to varying situations. I believe that where research studies exist, we need to consider them, but in some cases the traditional use across centuries truly stands for itself. Below are my favourite adaptogens for you to explore and try.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is a popular herb these days, helping to regulate cortisol levels while also providing a boost of energy. An added bonus is that it’s anti-inflammatory (my fav), can calm the mind, and can be used to help both male and female libido. What’s not to love about that? It belongs to the nightshade family, so it’s best to avoid if sensitive to nightshades.
Eleutherococcus, or eleuthero for short, is my go-to herb in the case of mental exhaustion, need for physical performance, and also for night-shift workers and those with “social jetlag.” It modulates neurotransmitters (adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin, etc.), which are chemical messengers in the brain. If you’re looking for a boost of energy without the coffee, this may be for you!
This adaptogen has recently become extremely popular. People are adding it to energy balls and their morning cup of coffee. I love maca for women as it modulates and protects female and male sex hormones. Like most adaptogens it will increase energy and mental performance, but my favourite part is that it improves libido and fertility.
I love adding herbs to my treatment plan for cortisol support. It’s the gentle support you need to feel your best and help shed those last few pounds. Before starting any herbal treatment, always consult with your naturopathic doctor to make sure you’re taking the right type and dose that’s right for you.
Adaptogens aren’t the only stop on your way to stress management, as I don’t believe that you can supplement your way out of a crappy diet and lifestyle. Using it conjunctively with lifestyle changes is the way to go to long-lasting weight loss! If you didn’t catch my article on the effects of cortisol you can read that here. For a full breakdown of how cortisol, stress and adaptogens play a role in overcoming weight loss resistance, you can read all about it in my book Finally Lose It. Identifying and addressing cortisol issues will change your life and your waistline!
For bonus points, if you have a friend, coworker or family member who could benefit from this information I would love for you to share it with them. I am on a mission to change women’s’ experience in their bodies but I can’t do that without your help!