Adapt to Stress, Effortlessly

5 Herbs for Overloaded Execs

Business woman

Business woman

When you’re on deadline, it’s midnight, and an embarrassment of your staff watching you fail it yet again is lurking in their eyes, try a class of herbs called adaptogens, which impart their own survival mechanisms to those who consume them regularly, allowing users to effortlessly adapt to stress.

“In many parts of the non-Western world adaptogens are used extensively in high-risk, fast-reflex occupations, from athletes and miners to deep sea divers,” says HealthyLivinG Contributor Chris Kilham who is known for traveling throughout the world to explore the world of herbal medicine and super foods. “This elite class of herbs impart strength, energy, stamina, endurance, and improve mental clarity,”

Read: Stress Adaptation

Here are 5 scientifically documented adaptogens for anybody who is undergoing work- or life-related stressful situations:

Rhodiola rosacea. A 2009 study in Planta Medica found the mountain herb, that has adapted to oxygen deficit, helps participants “suffering with stress-related fatigue.” Regular use, the study found, “exerts an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate, and decreases cortisol response to awakening stress in burnout patients with fatigue syndrome.”

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Ocimum sanctum. Also called tulsi, holy basil has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Holy basil is known to lessen stress, thanks to two phytochemicals, Ocimumosides A and B, that lower corticosterone, according to a report in the May 2012 issue of Phytomedicine.

Panax ginseng. Actoprotectors are preparations that increase mental performance and enhance body stability against physical loads without increasing oxygen consumption. Actoprotectors are regarded as a subclass of adaptogens that hold a significant capacity to increase physical performance. Panax ginseng “is a natural source of actoprotectors” that favorably influence physical and mental work capacity, endurance and restoration after exhaustive physical acitivity, while compared with controls.

Read: 7 Tools To Reduce Stress

Astragalus membranaceus. Traditional Chinese medicine pays close attention to the strength of a patient’s general resistance against illness. This invisible protective shield is known as the wei chi or one’s protective energy. Since ancient times, the Chinese have relied on the delicate weed astragalus for strengthening the flow of chi energy through the spleen and strengthening resistance to the “winds” of illness or what we call bacteria, viruses, other pathogens, and toxins.

Cordycep militaris. This high-altitude fungus is thought to confer greater aerobic capacity to the stressed organism. “Acute supplementation with a Cordyceps militaris-containing mushroom blend may improve tolerance to high intensity exercise; greater benefits may be elicited with consistent chronic supplementation.”

References Olsson EM, von Schéele B, Panossian AG. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta Med. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-12. doi: 10.1055/s-0028-1088346. Epub 2008 Nov 18. Ahmad A, Rasheed N, Gupta P, Singh S, Siripurapu KB, Ashraf GM, Kumar R, Chand K, Maurya R, Banu N, Al-Sheeha M, Palit G. Novel Ocimumoside A and B as anti-stress agents: modulation of brain monoamines and antioxidant systems in chronic unpredictable stress model in rats. Phytomedicine. 2012 May 15;19(7):639-47. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2012.02.012. Epub 2012 Mar 26. Sergiy Oliynyk and Seikwan Oh Actoprotective effect of ginseng: improving mental and physical performance J Ginseng Res. 2013 Apr; 37(2): 144–166. doi: 10.5142/jgr.2013.37.144 PMCID: PMC3659633 PMID: 23717168 Katie R. Hirsch, Abbie E. Smith-Ryan, Erica J. Roelofs, Eric T. Trexler, and Meredith G. Mock Cordyceps militaris improves tolerance to high intensity exercise after acute and chronic supplementation J Diet Suppl. 2017 Jan 2; 14(1): 42–53. Published online 2016 Jul 13. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2016.1203386 PMCID: PMC5236007 NIHMSID: NIHMS809731 PMID: 27408987
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