What are they
Adaptogens (a herbal medicine) are defined as “tonifying herbs that have an amphoteric effect on the body, helping to restore normal physiologic function that has been altered by stress.” (Maimes and Winston, 2007).
In other words, they are non-toxic, natural substances considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.
When small doses are ingested over extended periods of time, they improve the health and functioning of your cells and thus your adrenal system- which is the over arching system in the body that is in charge of the stress response.
Since starting the journey with Adaptogens we have learned that adaptogens have a very different effect on every body. Logically : because everybody is different, they will have different influences on your system. For example, Ashwaganda root has long been used to decrease the body’s response to cortisol the stress hormone- the known effects of reducing this hormone are supposed to include strength, resilience and better sleep. Personally I have always been a sound sleeper, so I did not notice this particular effect, but since taking Ashwaganda regularly since 2011 I have noticed much less hot- headedness and stressful behaviour showing itself in my day to day. As a result, I have noticed more strength and commitment because I am not constantly flipping out.
Someone else taking Ashwaganda may notice a serious improvement in sleep, because their cortisol levels are so high that this is the first area where they might notice a serious change.
There is no one right answer to determine which adaptogen will work for you, this journey is largely dependent on you being able to feel things on a bio-hacking, cellular awareness level. There is a link at the bottom to a spotify episode with Adriana Ayales (the founder of Anima Mundi Herbals) that explains this process extremely well.
Another observation is that many adaptogens do or do not suit a particular phase of your life.
When I was not exercising much and experimented with Cordyceps mushroom, a parasitic fungus because it is believed to improve metabolism, muscle tone and reproductive health-- I noticed a severe effect that due to my lack of exerting energy meant I felt constantly hyper and extra aware. It felt like my body was over- oxygenated constantly. That was in 2018.
Since starting to exercise again this year ( 2020 ) and then incorporating Cordyceps sinesis into my adaptogenic routine I have noticed better recovery rates during athletic activity, less muscle cramping and way more stamina.
It pays off to experiment with all types of Adaptogens, we are happy to help in store as well as online but we do recommend that you read up on the topic via the links provided.
We also have an extremely helpful and informative book for sale in store and on-line written by Maimes and Winston which discusses in detail the known and classified Adaptogens.
Why do we provide them?
The founder of bttr. has always had an interest in holistic awareness and health. I started to include Adaptogens in my daily routine in 2011 after suffering from an out of control work / life balance and the resulting effects on mental health.
After 2 years of using Ashwaganda Root and Reishi Mushroom my general health began to improve noticeably. Fast forward 9 years, much research and independent reading later, and luckily many developments in the adaptogens field in the Western World we, at bttr. want to share this experience with as many people as possible - to improve the health and consciousness on a global level.
Many people nowadays suffer from adrenal fatigue and the result of stressful lives can have a detrimental effect on our bodies -- if getting back to the roots and learning how to let plants help us deal and evolve why not give it a go?
There is a great deal of rubbish being printed currently on the 'trendy' aspects of adaptogens, and how most of the substances sold online are a hoax.
Here's a few tips when purchasing Adaptogens, from me to you:
- Use your common sense. If a mushroom / 100 gr costs 4€, its probably not gonna be a good quality mushroom grown organically, and in soil.
- Ask places for the lab reports and proof that what they're selling is independently tested for heavy metals, or other toxic substances that can be found in contaminated soil of countries with different environmental protection laws than Europe.
- Listen to your body. Just because all your friends are taking adaptogens does not mean you need to take them too. Usually our bodies will tell us what they need, we need to re learn how to interpret and listen to the symptoms correctly.
- Only buy from trusted sources. These companies will make sure that the herbs, plants and medicinal mushrooms are harvested properly, grown adequately and not over - harvested. These companies include Sunpotion, Ylumi, This is Grown and Anima Mundi.
If you are unsure, please shoot us an email and we will aim to provide you with all the information relevant to your questions.
At bttr. we pride ourselves on sourcing highest quality ingredients, for the health of the planet and the people. The same is true for the Adaptogens selection on our shelf.
We test everything ourselves before selling anything. You have our word.
Two great sources I refer to frequently:
(Ignore or skip the commercials... Adriana's knowledge is worth hearing)