We’ve told you about how to keep your adrenals healthy but what if you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue syndrome? It can be frustrating and downright debilitating to fight through adrenal fatigue but thankfully, we’ve got an herb for that. In fact, we’ll give you four!
There is a special classification of herbs that are perfect for those suffering from adrenal fatigue syndrome called adaptogens.
What are adaptogenic herbs?
Adaptogens are a unique type of herb that have the amazing ability to adapt to your body’s needs! They can increase energy production, decrease stress, and encourage rest. They literally adapt to what your body needs. The most important characteristics of adaptogens are stress-protection and a stimulatory effect. (source)
“Based on their efficacy in clinical studies, adaptogens can be defined as a pharmacological group of herbal preparations that increase tolerance to mental exhaustion and enhance attention and mental endurance in situations of decreased performance.” (source)
I began reading about adaptogens several months ago when I was suffering from severe adrenal fatigue syndrome. I was exhausted, crabby, and my hair was falling out. I began implementing everything I came across for recovering from adrenal fatigue.
After drinking sole water religiously, eating fat bombs every chance I got, taking liver capsules (where to buy liver capsules), and squeezing dropper after dropper of adaptogenic herb tonics into my water; I can finally say I’m in recovery from adrenal fatigue syndrome. You can read more about how I recovered from severe adrenal fatigue syndrome.
Why adaptogens are important for adrenal fatigue syndrome
When you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, you are likely to experience moderate to extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances and trouble falling asleep, irritability and poor reaction to stress, low energy and libido, overall crankiness and even feelings of depression.
Adaptogenic herbs combat all of those symptoms because they increase energy and vitality, improve sleep, and reduce stress.
There are four adaptogens I want to cover here, so that you can incorporate them into your adrenal fatigue syndrome recovery protocol too.
Four adaptogens that can help you recover from adrenal fatigue syndrome
One of my favorite herbs, ashwagandha (where to buy ashwagandha) is a great support for adrenal fatigue syndrome.
- enhances resilience to stress and has a balancing effect on hormones
- modifies the harmful effects of stress on the mind and body
- relieves stress, anxiety, panic, depression, exhaustion, and insomnia
- promotes calmness and clarity of mind
One study showed that cortisol (the stress hormone) levels were significantly reduced in rats when administered ashwagandha. (source) It was also found to be useful in the prevention of stress-induced ulcers of the gastrointestinal tract.
“Ashwagandha is regarded as tonic, aphrodisiac, narcotic, diuretic, anthelmintic, astringent, thermogenic and stimulant. The root smells like horse (‘ashwa’), that is why it is called Ashwagandha (on consuming it gives the power of a horse).” (source)
I used astragalus (where to buy astragalus) for immune and sinus health before I knew how great it is for adrenal fatigue syndrome.
- lowers blood pressure
- enhances immunity
- improves endurance
- increases vitality
- relieves fatigue
A study on the effects of astragalus on stress responses found that treatment with astragalus extract “reduced repeated stress induced anxiety and memory loss.” (source) Other studies found that astragalus improved performance and reduced fatigue in mice. (source 1, 2)
Eleuthero (also known as Siberian ginseng)
Another great adaptogen to help you in your adrenal fatigue syndrome recovery, eleuthero (where to buy eleuthero):
- protects against stress
- increases vitality
- improves mental and physical performance
- increases blood flow to the brain, improving memory, concentration, and mental stamina
Eleuthero has been found to increase endurance and mental performance in patients with mild fatigue and weakness.(source)
Possibly one of the most potent adaptogens of all, rhodiola (where to buy rhodiola):
- increases physical, mental endurance, and strength
- combats excess adrenaline
- improves ability to handle stress
- increases blood supply to the brain
- elevates mood
- high doses can act as a sedative to alleviate insomnia
One study found rhodiola to have an incredible effect on fatigue, depression, irritability, and overall wellness. “Indeed, the authors observed a clinical improvement, such as disappearance of irritability and unpleasant sensations in the heart region and improvement of sleep and appetite, in these patients.” (source)
In that same study, rhodiola extract was able to diminish or eliminate depressive symptoms and the clinical symptoms of fatigue were considerably improved or disappeared completely.
Want to learn how to make your own adaptogenic herbal extract? Follow my easy instructions!
Adaptogens aren’t just for adrenal fatigue syndrome
While adaptogenic herbs really are just what the doctor ordered for the symptoms of adrenal fatigue syndrome, they are great for everyone.
Kids stressing you out? Take a dose of adaptogens. Job interview? Take two doses. Getting ready to compete in the Olympics? Go ahead and hook up an IV!
Because of adaptogens’ amazing ability to strengthen the body in so many ways, there really isn’t anyone who can’t benefit from using these herbs. My favorite way to use herbs is in herbal extracts, as the alcohol helps to create a strong tonic, and the resulting extract is easy to squirt in a little water then drink quickly for almost immediate results.
I keep a collection of herbs on hand in my medicine cabinet and like to make a cocktail of adaptogens, squeezing one dropper full of each in a little water before downing it like a shot. These herbs work synergistically to support your body without the possibility of negative interactions.
Though these herbs are considered safe, even for children, ashwagandha is not recommended during pregnancy because of the possibility that it can cause uterine contractions. Rhodiola has not been studied during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Keep in mind: chronic stress negatively affects your health. Adaptogens increase your body’s ability to handle stress, bringing balance and restoration to your body and improving your overall health.
Have you used herbs to combat adrenal fatigue syndrome or had other success with adaptogens?
Image credit: ChamilleWhite
McIntyre, Anne. The Complete Herbal Tutor. London: Octopus Books, 2010. Print.