Adaptogens are a classification of herbs that are becoming increasingly popular. These adaptable, versatile plant allies help your body and mind adapt to life’s challenges. How do they do this? Chiefly, by supporting the chemistry in your body that helps you deal with stress. Also, adaptogens benefit you by helping to regulate the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands (1).
Adaptogens work well in calming jitters and boosting energy. One of the wonderful things about these versatile super plants is that they give you just what you need. They can rev you up when you need a pick-me-up or bring it down a notch when you need to simmer down. This article will focus specifically on adaptogens for energy.
Getting Back Your Get Up and Go
It is not uncommon to feel a bit sluggish during the deep winter months. Snow, rain, cold temperatures, and short, dark days can definitely contribute to a case of the winter blahs. Plus, deep winter through spring is considered to be Kapha season in Ayurveda—a time of year in which we have a stronger tendency to feel cold and lethargic. This is where adaptogens for energy come in!
Remember, one key aspect of adaptogens is that they help you adapt. Not all adaptogens for energy are covered in this article. However, these are some of the most reliable adaptogens to turn to when you need to get back your get up and go.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
Native to Siberia, rhodiola has recently become more popular and well-known in the West. This astringent-tasting root typically has a lovely reddish color when tinctured. Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in improving energy, focus, vitality, and ATP (adenosine triphopate) production (2).
Consider rhodiola if you are an athlete looking to build focus and endurance, a student trying to make it through finals week, or anyone who needs a good vitality boost!
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is the perfect example of an adaptogen because it is both calming and energizing. Included in the Ayurvedic superfood Chyawanprash, this starchy, nourishing root is considered a rasayana—or deeply rejuvenating herb. It tones the nervous system, as well as the bones and muscles. However, ashwagandha is also calming and helps regulate sleep cycles.
A multi-faceted adaptogen, ashwagandha promotes vitality, supports adrenal and thyroid function, decreases inflammation, and boosts libido (2). Consider ashwagandha as a capsule, powder, or tincture if you are looking for steady nerves and broad-spectrum nourishment.
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris)
Cordyceps is a mushroom that can be enjoyed as a powder or in capsule form. Powdered cordyceps can be mixed into chocolates, smoothies, and soup broths. This super mushroom can be combined with miso for a warming winter tonic. Cordyceps is especially helpful for athletes and active bodies—it supports stamina, energy, and respiratory function (2).
Adaptogens for Energy and More
Adaptogens are a diverse group of herbs. They can calm you down, energize your body and mind, boost vitality, and help you sleep. If you are looking for energy support, consider these adaptogens for energy. These plant allies, combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can help you build and maintain vitality for years to come.
(1) Wilson, D.R. (2017). Adaptogenic herbs: List, effectiveness, and health benefits. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/adaptogenic-herbs
(2) Groves, M.N. (2016). Body into balance: An herbal guide to holistic self-care. North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing.
Greta Kent-Stoll is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (NAMA), as well as a writer, editor, and Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher. Her Ayurveda practice is based in Asheville, North Carolina and she is the co-owner of Iyengar Yoga Asheville.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)