by Dr. Will Cole
Anyone who knows me, knows I am obsessed with adaptogens. And I am definitely not alone! Almost every health-centric coffee shop and restaurant has been infiltrated with adaptogens. If you look up any health-related hashtag, you’ll find colorful pictures of adaptogen-fueled elixirs and tonics.
So what’s the craze all about? Adaptogens are a variety of herbal and plant medicines that work to rebalance different areas of the body. They are generally safe for everyone and can offer support to multiple different aspects of your health. As a functional medicine practitioner, adaptogens are one of my go-to tools for improving a patient’s health in addition to my own.
However, just like supplements, no one needs to take every adaptogen in existence. It’s important to look at which adaptogen works best at supporting your particular health problem, and choose from those options. These are often available in powered form making it easy to add these into your regular smoothie, tea, or elixir, or you could even add them to food!
With each season, your health can require different support to go along with the sometimes dramatic temperature and weather change your body has to deal with. Like with any supplement, it is important to work with your doctor to determine what will be the best for your particular health case and make sure to listen to how your body is responding.
Even though the weather has yet to catch up, we are currently on our way to warmer temperatures. Spring is earth’s revival; everything turns green again and plants begin to bloom. It is also the season when allergy sufferers need to load up on their allergy remedies.
Thankfully, there are many natural remedies available so you can avoid the pharmacy. Many studies have shown that red ginseng is a powerful anti-allergenic. One study proved red ginseng’s ability to lower allergy-induced nasal inflammation as well as symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, and itching.
Long days and warm weather have us spending more time outside. This added sun exposure is great for boosting vitamin D levels, which is essential for our body to thrive. However, it can increase free radical damage which can lead to wrinkles.
Keep your skin youthful by looking under the sea. My favorite oceanic adaptogen, pearl – yes, the same pearls that are used for jewelry – can be crushed up into an extremely nutrient-dense powder. It is loaded with amino acids as well as antioxidants which work to reverse free radical damage and repair damaged cells.
Cold and flu season starts its attack as soon as the temperatures begin to drop. During this time you’ll want to bring in extra immune support. Astragalus is an antibacterial and antiviral root adaptogen that can boost immune-regulating T-cells. Keep this with you to ward off any sniffles that start to creep up.
The start of this season can be a time for increased coziness and relaxation. But days on end being stuck inside can quickly become depressing. In fact, between 20 and 35 percent of people struggle with mild to severe forms of seasonal affective disorder, commonly referred to as SAD.
Other than the lucky few who live in a sunny climate year-round, the winter blues is something that everyone likely deals with at some point. Mucuna pruriens is a powerful mood-booster due to its high levels of L-DOPA, which is a precursor to dopamine. Elevate your mood by include this into your morning coffee, tea, or smoothie.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.