Adaptogens” are a group of herbs that seem custom-made for our stressed out times. By definition, adaptogens are “non-specific,” so rather than targeting one particular symptom or part of the body, like much of Western medication, they increase your resistance overall against physical, chemical and biological stressors. They’re non-habit forming, even when taken over long periods of time and, most importantly, they are normalizing — they create balance in the body without negatively influencing any particular body system at the expense of another.
Basically, adaptogenic herbs are to stress what a hot bowl of homemade soup is to a cold, rainy day — relaxing and yet restorative and, in short, just what the doctor ordered.
Herbs used to restore a healthy stress response are traditionally prepared as formulas, not taken as individual herbs. As an introduction to this fascinating subject, here are seven of my favorite adaptogenic herbs often used in such formulas and some basic info on how they can help you relax and recharge: