Stress can play a very significant part in our day-to-day functioning, and it can have profound effects on not only our mental health but our neurological, endocrine, and immune systems. However, adaptogens have stimulant properties that help counteract some of these detrimental effects.
Moringa is an adaptogen, meaning it provides the body with stress protection. In fact, the most important characteristic of adaptogens is stress protection. Adaptogens decrease sensitivity to stressors and make us more resistant to them for a longer period of time.
Adaptogens regulate and balance our hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands which are involved in stress responses. More simply, adaptogens influence the stress response by altering it a bit. To explain further, when our bodies are stressed, we go through the three stages of stress: alarm phase, resistance, and exhaustion.
When we encounter a stressor such as a sudden work deadline, our central nervous system is alerted and our defenses assemble. Next, the body responds by releasing hormones like adrenaline to increase focus during the phase of resistance. Our body is literally resisting the stressor, so we have more energy and clarity.
Next, we approach the exhaustion phase. But, adaptogens extend the resistance phase between the alarm phase and exhaustion phase.
You can put moringa powder into smoothies, teas, soups, stews, and stir-fry!
Holy basil is also adaptogenic, and it is highly relaxing. Holy basil is abundant in beta caryophyllene (BCP), a terpene. Terpenes are aromatic metabolites, meaning they are responsible for the distinct scent of holy basil. While every plant is made up of a mixture of terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds, holy basil specifically contains linalool which is known to be very relaxing and soothing. For example, lavender and mint are also abundant in linalool, making them very soothing.
Holy basil is most commonly known as a tea ingredient, but it is also a utilized ingredient in some Thai cuisine!
Dandelion (pu gong ying)
Photocred: Sun warrior
Fatigue can be psychologically stressful, especially if you need to keep pushing through the day. Ensuring that you get an adequate amount of vitamin intake can be a helpful part of fatigue and stress management. Dandelion contains high amounts of vitamin A, and smaller amounts of vitamin C, vitamin D, various B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and zinc. Dandelion leaves can be used in salads and teas.
In Chinese Medicine, dandelion (AKA pu gong ying) is known to remove heat and stagnant fluid within the body. Likewise, it is thought to ease inflammation, especially in the stomach. We all know that nervousness can cause stomach aches, but stomach aches can also cause nervousness! Dandelion might be an option for preventing this cycle, but also speak to an L.Ac (licensed acupuncturist) about what adaptogen supplements are best for you.
Furthermore, dandelion leaves are actually not hard to find. You can do a quick search for a place that sells them near you! There are also online marketplaces that offer them.
Written by Kerri Hardy