What Are The Best Herbs To Support The Adrenals?
It's that special time of year again! The holidays are always a stressful time because there is so much going on at once. This year with the added stress of the pandemic, people may be feeling the effects of stress more than before.
Stress is an everyday part of life, but what's not normal is when it becomes chronic and begins to affect day to day tasks. In order to support stress management, we sometimes need external support through nutrients and herbal formulas. Today we're taking a look at a product that is specifically formulated for helping the body and adrenals recover after periods of mental and physical stress.
AdrenaSense is a natural formula used to combat the mental and physical stress that can deplete your adrenals. It is made with a combination of herbs like, Rhodiola, Siberian Ginseng, Suma, Schisandra and Ashwagandha.
Mental and physical stress affects a staggering number of adults. More and more individuals are living busier lives with more commitments, leading to increased stress, both mental and physical. As a result, the human body produces an excess of cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Fortunately, there are herbal remedies that have the ability to counter the negative effects of stress.
Roseroot (Rhodiola rosea) has been shown to have a calming effect, while also being able to energize the body. When people suffering from stress were given rhodiola in an open-label study, they reported a significant improvement. Clinicians rated 67.1% of them as experiencing “relevant global improvement” and only 12.4% of them as having no change. Tests of disability for work/school, social life, and family/home all improved significantly (1).
During the intense stress of final exams, students who took rhodiola during a double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study showed a significant improvement in their grades as well as their mental fatigue and well-being compared to students who took a placebo (2). Other research has also found that rhodiola decreases mental fatigue and aids relaxation, while increasing work capacity, coordination, and general well-being (3).
A double-blind study found that a single dose of rhodiola extract given to cadets who were fatigued and stressed had a significant anti-fatigue effect on their capacity to do mental work (4). Another randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study of rhodiola extract on people suffering from stress-related fatigue showed significant improvement in fatigue and ability to concentrate (5).
Double-blind research has suggested that rhodiola may actually work by changing gears in the brain, shifting it into a higher degree of wakefulness and cognitive performance. The research shows that a single dose of rhodiola increases delta and theta waves in the brain. Increasing delta waves is associated with wakefulness and improved cognitive performance while increasing theta waves is associated with improved memory retrieval (6).
Siberian ginseng, also known as Eleutherococcus senticosus, has been shown in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to reduce heart rate in response to stress and, in women, to reduce blood pressure, suggesting that it helps with adaptation to stress (7). A review of clinical studies on Siberian ginseng in healthy people in normal and stressful conditions found that this herb has the ability to improve mental and physical work capacity as well as quality of work (8).
Research has shown schisandra to be an adaptogen that improves mental performance and increases work capacity (9).
Rhodiola, eleuthero, schisandra combination
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial studied the effect of the above three herbs in combination. A single dose of the three herb combination significantly improved the speed and accuracy of cognitive performance and improved attention in healthy people suffering from chronic stress when they performed stressful cognitive tasks. The researchers concluded that this herbal combination efficiently and quickly improves attention, speed, and accuracy in tired people who are working under stress (10).
Suma possesses possible adaptogenic properties. It is traditionally held to improve resistance to stress, and to relieve fatigue and increase energy. It is used for extreme stress and physical as well as mental exhaustion.
Ashwagandha has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine in India as an adaptogenic herb with the ability to rejuvenate while relieving stress and anxiety. Modern research has confirmed ashwagandha’s ability to relieve both stress and promote relaxation.
Ashwagandha root extract has been compared to a placebo in healthy people with low sense of well-being and high-sense of stress. At the end of the 60-day randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, scores of perceived stress dropped by 44% in the ashwagandha group versus a drop of only 5% in the placebo group. Importantly, levels of the adrenal stress hormone cortisol dropped by almost 28% in the herb group, but by only 8% in the placebo group (11).
Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study also found significant improvement in markers of stress, including decreases in cortisol, and significant improvements in anxiety and well-being in chronically stressed adults (12).