adaptogen (noun) adap·to·gen \ə-ˈdap-tə-jən\\
: a nontoxic substance and especially a plant extract that is held to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning
Meet the Adaptogens. Potent cornerstones of ancient Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurveda , these plants, herbs, and even mushrooms have some over-the-top superpowers that help the human body manage and adapt to stress. Hormone regulators, energy boosters and body calmers, adaptogens act as nature’s thermostat.1 Consider this your “adaptogenic” primer, designed to help you create some mighty, health and wellness (h+w) driven applications. Adaptogens are a hot commodity: one that brought former Clif CEO, Sheryl O’Laughlin out of the “quiet life”. Her single herb focused line of elixirs, tonics and blend, REBBL, is bringing adaptogens to the juice case and into the hands of the h+w consumer. And we expect even more health-focused manufacturers to incorporate adaptogens into teas, juices and even soup applications along with beauty products and supplements. Here is the 411 on a few adaptogens helping to wash consumer stress away:
- Ashwagandha (Panax Ginseng) : one of the most talked about adaptogens, ashwagandha might just have it all. With the ability to calm and provide an energy boost, ashwagandha surprisingly also can help put consumers to sleep. Typically seen in supplements, ashwagandha is making a debut in 8th Wonders new Ashwagandha Afternoon Energy and Focus Apple Chai Tea this Spring.
- Asian Ginseng – Known for it’s mighty stress management potency and the ability to protect the adrenal gland from corticosteroid drug effects and increase the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). 8th Wonder also sees a benefit in Ginseng and its morning energy and concentration version of Ginseng Passionfruit tea looks to capitalize on the brainpower of ginseng. And on the beauty front, Korean skin care headliner Erborian recently launched a ginseng line showcasing the power of this proven adaptogen.
- Moringa – called by some as the “tree of life,” the moringa oleifera plant seems to have it all. Moringa supports the immune response, has anti-inflammatory properties, and boosts energy and adrenal health.2
- Mushrooms: We knew mushrooms were pretty special especially since we have a few mushroom powders in our ingredient product line. Our fascination with mushrooms is more than supported especially since we learned about their stress balancing powers and immunity properties. Reishi, shiitake and maitake are three mushrooms in mushroom teas that health conscious consumers have taken to sipping in the afternoon for a savory immunity boost. (hint: Nikken’s Shiitake Extract Powder 2106 would be perfect for your next adaptogen tea application). Four Sigma Food’s Instant Reishi is a nice alternative for creative inspiration.
- Tulsi – Also known as Holy Basil or the Holy One, tulsi is thought of by some as the total package when it comes to adaptogens due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory strengths.3 Tulsi can be ingested whole, through supplements or tea and we expect this adaptogen to skyrocket.
- Turmeric – Hailed as one of the flavors of 2016 on more than one top ten list, turmeric’s health benefits in managing weight, cholesterol and glucose levels can’t be ignored. Now learning that turmeric is an adaptogen should have you wondering why it isn’t in more of your h+w applications. Sample a little of Temple Turmeric’s elixirs and blends featuring turmeric and “symphonic adaptogens” like black pepper, ginger and more that enhance turmeric’s powers.4
More Than Adaptable
While the list is longer than what we’ve highlighted above, we hope this mini-class on adaptogens stimulates some creative thinking and product development. We would love the opportunity to show how adaptable and responsive our technical team is on your next mushroom health and wellness application. Now that’s some stress-relief.