Unless you've been in serious hibernation, you've probably heard the buzz around adaptogens by now. Touted as the cure for everything from stress to mood to energy, the adaptogen craze not only caught my attention but piqued my interest so much that I just had to test them out for myself. Being the wellness guinea pig that I am, I've tried my fair share of trends—from Whole30 to prebiotics to bone broth—so naturally, I had to give adaptogens a whirl.
I'm not going to lie; I was a bit skeptical going into this. I mean, how could ground-up herbs and mushrooms really cure everything under the sun? But after trying them for a month, I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Keep reading to find out what adaptogens are exactly and how my trial experience went.
WHAT ARE ADAPTOGENS?
Let's back up for a second—adaptogens are herbs, roots, and sometimes mushrooms that have been used traditionally in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing and are said to generally help your body handle stress. To find out more about adaptogens, I reached out to the founder of Moon Juice (aka the mother of adaptogen brands), Amanda Chantal Bacon. "Adaptogens are super herbs and mushrooms that work with your body to bring you back to a healthy, optimal state," explains Amanda. "As bidirectional plants, they help your body to adapt based on your own personal needs—offering strength or calm depending on what your body needs."
There are many types of adaptogens, from ashwagandha to reishi to Maca to Rhodiola, all said to have different strengths and targets. So which one is the best to manage daily stress? "It's so hard for me to pick one!" Amanda says. "We formulated SuperYou with a potent blend of four adaptogenic herbs (shatavari, ashwagandha, amla, Rhodiola) that work together to address the effects of stress on the mind and body." And if people are looking to ease into adaptogens, Amanda recommends starting with ashwagandha, which is said to "help prevent against the negative effects of stress while enhancing mental focus."
Per Amanda's advice, my first foray into adaptogens was Moon Juice's SuperYou. I took two per day in the morning alongside my daily Ritual vitamins. They can be taken without food, which is helpful for me because I could take them before breakfast with no risk of nausea. (I've had that happen in the past with other supplements.) I also tested out various Moon Juice dusts like Brain Dust in my coffee for sharper focus and Dream Dust in my evening tea for better sleep. After two weeks of daily adaptogens, I can honestly say that I felt better—nothing drastic, but more balanced overall and my mood remained steady even during a stressful period at work. And after a full month of taking them, I still feel the same way, just generally calmer.
Now as a disclaimer, I've also been eating well, working out, and taking care of myself for the past few weeks, so I'm not sure I can attribute 100% of how I feel to the adaptogens. But typically when I take one small action toward better self-care, it trickles over into other areas and inspires me to do the same in those. Whether that's starting a new workout regimen, cleaning up my beauty routine, or introducing healthier food into my diet, when I up the wellness ante in one realm, I usually feel more motivated to do so in others. So as a whole, I do feel much better after a month of adaptogens than I did when I started, but it could be partially credited to other things as well.
Overall, I think the adaptogens helped balance out my stress levels and maintain my overall mood. Even though I was good about keeping up with my wellness routine in other areas, I think the combination of everything really helped keep me on track and stabilized. I'm definitely going to keep taking SuperYou daily since it contains four of the most important adaptogens for stress, and then occasionally mix in the dusts for targeted purposes when I feel they're necessary.
Adaptogens are something I'll definitely be recommending to my friends when they're feeling burnt out or overwhelmed and are looking for some assistance for managing everything. Like most things, I think they'll work better for some people than others, but it's definitely worth a shot to test out for a few weeks and see if it has a positive impact.