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89. What's the deal with Adaptogens?

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

What, exactly are adaptogens and why do people take them?

The word Adaptogen was first used in the 1940s by a Soviet MD and Pharmacist who was studying the body's resistance to stress along with herbs that can help the body adapt to stress. According to the UCLA website, adaptogens work through the Hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The HPA axis is the system that regulates our stress response. It consists of a group of glands in the body that secrete hormones which eventually trigger the release of Cortisol. Cortisol allows our body to deal with a perceived threat by stimulating the Fight or Flight response, a state of alertness and preparedness. Many of us experience high levels of Cortisol on a regular basis due to work, the environment, politics, chronic illness, etc. Prolonged levels of high cortisol can have a detrimental effect on our bodies including high blood pressure, a decreased immune response, digestive issues, weight gain, diabetes, sleep and memory problems, etc. Adaptogens can either increase or decrease the hormones that lead to the Fight or Flight response. For instance, adaptogens can reduce Cortisol levels when they're elevated but they can also increase cortisol (or the precursors to cortisol) if you’re fatigued or need extra energy. Adaptogens can help protect the nervous system, help with fatigue, depression, and anxiety, aid thinking, learning, and memory, and aid with alertness, attention, energy, and physical activity. (Watch this recent podcast with Dr. Andrew Huberman, a neuroscientist and professor at Stamford University talking about Ashwagandha and Rhodiola.) The majority of people who come into our Spiral Herbal Remedies shop are looking for Adaptogens. Thankfully we have a variety. Each works differently in the body, so you can find one that resonates with you best. Benjamin Button Got His Groove Back is a blend of Adaptogens that have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to slow the aging process, (including Rhodiola). It was created to increase vitality, alertness, and libido. **Rhodiola was first recorded as being used in 77 CE by the Greek physician Dioscorides. The other herbs have been used for millennia in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ashwagandha lowers cortisol levels but can also be helpful with brain health like memory, ADD, etc. It is considered a reproductive tonic and has been used historically as an aphrodisiac. It can increase Testosterone in men and Estrogen in women and can also help lower blood sugar. ***It has a recorded use dating back 6000 years in Ayurvedic medicine for its life-extending properties. Passionflower - recommended by Dr. Mark Hyman in this podcast to help reduce and manage stress, has an effect on GABA receptors, calming the nervous system. This can help manage high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, sleep, pain, IBS, asthma, etc. ***Passionflower has been used by indigenous people in the Amazon for millennia. CBD is one of my favorites for its ability to bind with and calm our nervous and immune systems, helping with anxiety, depression, pain, sleep, and inflammation. Spiral Herbal Remedies' CBD oil contains no THC (see the lab results in the link) so it can be taken during the day with no sedation, allowing people to be alert, drive a car, go to work, etc. ***Hemp, the plant from which CBD is derived is thought to be the first plant cultivated by humans 10,000 years ago. Our Reishi Blends with Chaga, Lion's Mane, and Turkey Tail mushrooms are all considered adaptogens. These blends help balance the immune system - calming or boosting it depending on what is needed. They contain anti-inflammatories, antihistamines, antioxidants, anti-carcinogens, and more. ***Reishi, Lion's Mane and Turkey Tail have been used for 5000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Chaga's first recorded use dates back to the 12th century in Siberia, however, it's thought that Native Americans have been using it for millennia. All of Spiral Herbal Remedies' tinctures and oils have been extracted and made into a form that is bioavailable to humans. Powders and capsules are often just ground-up herbs, making them less bioavailable. Spiral Herbal Remedies uses only Plant-derived, Organic ingredients and everything is made by Trained Herbalist and Former Registered Nurse, Donna Troy Cleary Use the coupon ADAPTOGEN today through June 7th for a 10% discount off your order. Shop online at or stop by our shop, located at 810 Washington Ave in Brooklyn. Follow us on Instagram.



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