You might be asking yourself, what are adaptogens? Maybe you’ve heard about them or have seen someone post about them on Instagram. Maybe you’ve wondered if they really are all they're cracked up to be, and if they actually work. Hopefully after reading this post you will understand Adaptogens a bit better and be able to answer the question of why we at Kite have steeped all of their botanical goodness into our organic sparkling teas!
But first, if you are new to the brand and what Kite is,let’s start by introducing ourselves! Kite is a botanical beverage company, with a mission of helping people use the wisdom of plants to find more balance and well-being in their lives. The business was built on the philosophy that individuals are yearning for a deeper connection to the natural world as a way to cope with the damaging effects brought on by chronic stress.
At Kite, we know that botanicals have the potential to enhance our resilience to stress - helping to restore within us a state of balance and well-being, so that we can show up fully in our lives!
Adaptogens are a class of plants that help to adapt and build resistance to stress we face in our day-to-day lives.
Specifically, they have the capacity to improve our reaction to stress by normalizing cortisol and other hormones, and by decreasing levels of fatigue. It is these “adaptogenic” properties, amongst others, that set adaptogens apart from all other plants and herbs.
This brings us the answer to the next question “why do I need adaptogens?”
Truth is, we can all admit that stress is an unfortunate part of our lives, and it's true now more than ever before (hello, 2020!). In addition to understanding why we need Adaptogens, let’s dive into the past to understand where they came from and what they are traditionally used for.
Adaptogens have been used as Functional Botanicals for thousands of years in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to bring the body into a state of balance, also known as “homeostasis”.
Some adaptogens are more well known such as Ginseng & Tulsi, whereas others are becoming more and more popular. Some of the more common adaptogens include Ashwagandha, Moringa, Rhodiola, Schizandra, Holy Basil (Tulsi), Maca as well as the mushroom adaptogens Reishi and Cordyceps.
What sets adaptogenic plants apart from other herbs and plants? And, makes themsospecial?
While all plants provide us with nutrients, energy and many other things that make us feel good, Adaptogens have the power to decrease our sensitivity to stress, resulting in stress protection, or what is sometimes referred to on a more esoteric level as “adaptive energy”.
Additionally, they have been known to help with the following:
Adaptogens bring us back into balance and alignment by helping our bodies build resistance and become attuned to handling the negative effects of stress. They exhibit “neuro-protective, anti-fatigue, anti-depressive, anxiolytic, nootropic and Central Nervous System activity,” (Panossian & Wickman, 2010).
Adaptogenic plants work at the molecular level with the nervous, hormonal (endocrine), and immune systems to re-regulate how we adapt to our environment, meeting the demands of different types of stress.
Our bodies are like machines, where each part is holistically interconnected. Adaptogens have the ability to bring the body into a state of balance by understanding what it innately needs.Other plants that are often used therapeutically often hold either stimulating or inhibitory effects, but adaptogens are more bespoke - regulating the system to its unique needs.
While at this point you may be intrigued and want to explore the world of adaptogens, you might be wonderinghowyou can incorporate them into your everyday lives. With so much health information available today, we understand that this can get quite overwhelming! The good news is, you can incorporate adaptogens in many different ways, with a variety of options catering to your specific needs and lifestyle.
As an example, Tulsi leaves (an Adaptogen found in Align), is very commonly used as a daily tea in India, where it is very well known to have health balancing and even spiritual properties. Ashwagandha root, (another Adaptogenic root found in Unwind), is commonly used as a regenerative tonic in both a tincture and tea format (tinctures are a form of herbal extracts that are created by steeping the plant/herb in a mixture and extracting the active ingredients and concentrating them as a liquid). Of course, with Kite Sparkling Teas we have steeped in all of the Goodness, similar to a heavily brewed herbal tea or "infusion".
A more modern way to consume adaptogens is through the consumption of a concentrated pill or supplement tablet. This way, plants/herbs can be made into powder form and added to food such as smoothies or oats. Adaptogens can also be used in cooking by grating or chopping the whole plant.
Alas, like many good things, adaptogens taketimeto show their benefits. Their wisdom isn’t an overnight fix all for health concerns - they need to be taken over a period of time to feel the benefits. Like many things, they are just one piece to a broader holistic lifestyle, and they take time to build up in our systems in order to truly support our well-being.
It’s Time To Unwind!
Panossian A, Wikman G. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010;3(1):188-224. Published 2010 Jan 19. doi:10.3390/ph3010188
Winston, D., & Maimes, S. (2007). Adaptogens: Herbs for strength, stamina, and stress relief. Rochester, Vt: Healing Arts Press.