Top 5 nootropic adaptogens to conquer anxiety and stress

    Adaptogens are substances that have a natural origin and act to regulate metabolism in the human body. These adaptogens are able to adapt to the body’s needs as it interacts with the adrenal system of the body that manages the response to stress. While nootropics are often used to increase or decrease certain chemicals in the body, adaptogens are used rather to normalize the level of chemicals throughout the body. Research shows that nootropic adaptogens are successful in increasing cognitive functioning, stabilizing moods and improving concentration and stress levels.

    1. Ginseng

    Panax ginseng is an adaptogenic and part of the subgroup actoprotectors, which are believed to decrease the effects of stress while enhancing vitality. As an actoprotector, ginseng acts to improve the brain’s blood circulation and improves the growth of normal cells to strengthen the immune system – both processes that help alleviate stress and anxiety. Ginseng is most effective when taken in the correct dosages which usually range between 100-200mg per day. Always consult a physician for individual dosage needs as side effects could include hypertension, restlessness and disrupted bowel movements.

    2. Ashwagandha

    Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic traditional medicine, also known by the name Indian Ginseng and Indian Winter cherry. This research study shows that it increases energy levels and endurance, while working against exhaustion and fatigue that often heighten conditions of anxiety and stress. In the same study, it was shown to induce an anxiolytic effect to lower anxiety levels experienced in unfamiliar and social environments. It also provides additional benefits in its anti-inflammatory properties, and just 3-6 grams of dried Ashwagandha root per day can have a drastic effect in decreasing stress levels. This nootropic adaptogen is safe for use by children in tonic form, while the dried root can be taken by adults and seniors alike.

    3. Rhodolia Rosea

    Rhodolia is another medicinal nootropic adaptogen that is taken in root form. Clinical trials performed on rats showed that low dosages of Rhodiola rosea administered over a three-week period showed a recovery to normality from induced states of depression. This can be attributed to the phytochemicals contained within Rhodiola that inhibit enzymes which break down serotonin. It is shown to serve as a vehicle for better transportation of serotonin throughout the brain.

    4. Lemon balm

    Lemon balm, also known by its scientific name Melissa officinalis, is part of the mint family. Like its namesake, the leaves have a lemon aroma that produces calming effects. Lemon balm is a popular nootropic that aids in reducing symptoms of anxiety including restlessness, insomnia and fatigue. Lemon balm extract and oil can be added to dishes or used for flavouring, and can also be inhaled as an aromatherapy treatment. A dosage of 600 mg per day is thought to induce a calmer state in adults.

    5. Mucuna Pruriens

    This nootropic adaptogen,also known as the velvet bean, is a herbal drug popular in the ancient Ayurveda medicinal tradition. Velvet beans originate from southern China and eastern India, with the plant having several purposes beyond its adaptogenic properties: the pods are safe for human consumption, while young leaves of the plant are used as animal feed. This study shows that Mucuna Pruriens improved sperm count in infertile men over a three-month period, with a significant reduction in levels of psychological stress. It also encourages neural activity and stabilizes cognitive functioning to effectively lower stress and anxiety levels.

    There are definite advantages to employing Adaptogens to tackle issues with anxiety and stress. When it comes to adding any new medicine or treatment into your life, even those of natural origin such as Adaptogens, it pays to be careful during the initial introduction phase until you are sure that you know the dosages that work best for you.

    As for how often to take these treatments, again this is really going to depend on your own body chemistry. Whilst some people will suggest that Adaptogens are best reserved for big, one off events such as high anxiety around exam time or a busy period at work, many people also happily take them daily to provide effective and long term protection.

    No matter how you use them though, you can rest assured that you have found an excellent, all natural and time honored method to combat stress and anxiety.

    Marcus Clarke
    Marcus Clarke
    Marcus has a degree in psychology, a master’s degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.

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