Let’s face it: as fun and merry as they can be, the holidays are also stressful. The pressure of finding and purchasing gifts on time, cleaning the house and making food in preparation of guests and the endless stream of parties and get togethers can be totally exhausting, and may even prevent you from enjoying yourself at all!
In times like these, many people opt for extra caffeine or just try to muster through while feeling tired, but there is another way to keep your energy up, so you can push through the holiday season with vitality.
Thankfully, a natural solution can help. Many adaptogenic herbs exist that are ideal for bolstering your energy.
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are natural herbs that interact with the body to achieve balance and reduce your susceptibility to the effects of stressors. Essentially, they help your body “adapt” to stress hormones to promote more feelings of calm and vitality.
Adaptogens have been used for centuries, largely in ancient Chinese medicine, to help the body fight stress and fatigue, bolster the immune system, improve sleep and much more. Adaptogens are known for assisting the body in a multitude of ways, meaning that they don’t simply improve one symptom. Their natural properties are able to restore balance to numerous areas of the body at once to help you feel your best.
One of the many benefits of adaptogens is that they can help your body respond to stressors and improve energy long-term. Unlike caffeine, which also only works for a short time after consumption, adaptogens are not habit-forming or over-stimulating. Taking them long-term can actually train your body to respond better to stress and reduce cortisol, the stress hormone.
Many adaptogens can be taken in supplement form on their own, as well as brewed in teas, mixed into smoothies and many other forms.
Top adaptogens for energy
There are tons of adaptogens out in the world, each with its own special benefits. This holiday season, you’ll likely want to focus on taking adaptogens that are known to boost energy, reduce fatigue and minimize stress.
- Ashwangandha: Ashwangandha is known for its ability to fight stress, reduce anxiety and improve energy levels. It also contains withanolides—compounds that contain natural anti-inflammatory properties. The herb can also improve cognitive function, which can be useful when you’re trying to remember all those ingredients lists and tasks before the next holiday gathering!
- Panax ginseng: One of the most common adaptogens for energy and endurance is Panax ginseng, or Asian ginseng. Panax ginseng contains ginsenosides, which are responsible for its energy- and stamina-boosting properties. The herb is also known to help with a number of other problems, including memory loss, immunity and depression.
- Schisandra: The schisandra berry has been shown to combat stress and increase energy. It’s also appreciated for its effects on mental clarity, as well as its beneficial improvement of liver health. Additionally, schisandra is useful in protecting the skin, which can provide an added benefit during the cold, dry winter season.
- Maca root: Maca root is known to increase energy and stamina through phytochemicals. It is also considered a superfood because of its variety of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and protein. Additionally, maca has been found to improve libido, as well as regulate mood.
- Yerba mate: Yerba mate has loads of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as caffeine (though not as much as coffee) to give you a natural energy boost. Yerba mate tea is a great alternative to other caffeinated beverages and can improve your mental focus and boost your immune system.
- Rhodiola: Rhodiola is probably best known for its ability to relieve symptoms of depression, but it can also have positive effects on fatigue. Numerous studies have shown individuals in stressful and sleep-deprived situations feel less tired and more mentally stimulated after taking rhodiola. It is also well-known for its ability to improve strength, endurance, cardiovascular measures, coordination and recovery time in athletes.
To make sure you’re doing the best thing for your body, make sure to speak with a doctor before adding an adaptogenic supplement to your daily routine. While adaptogens are natural and perfectly safe, some herbs and roots can negatively interact with prescription medications. You want to be sure your adaptogen of choice will work with any medications you may be taking.
If you find yourself deeply entrenched in the hustle and bustle of holiday planning, don’t forget to take a step back to care for your mind and body. In addition to adding adaptogens to your routine for an energy boost, make sure you’re eating well, drinking lots of water and sleeping enough each night for optimal health.