Best Adaptogens for Energy

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A couple of words that you may be hearing a whole lot recently are “adaptogen” or "adaptogens.” Adaptogens have long been hailed as being very beneficial natural substances that can provide you with various health benefits.

For a long time, people have thought adaptogens were just another fad or craze to hit the health world. However, as evidence suggests, adaptogens may indeed be beneficial. We will take a closer look at the evidence for these benefits below

There is more research being performed on various adaptogenic substances every year, and the results are proving to be quite positive. One of the benefits that adaptogens may have is that they can help provide you with energy. Today, we want to take a closer look at what exactly adaptogens are, what their various benefits are, and how they help with energy.

We'll then also take a closer look at some of the best adaptogens for energy that you can legally purchase. If you constantly feel tired or generally fatigued, you’ve come to the right place! The adaptogens we're about to look at today may just give you the energy boost you need.

Key Takeaways

  • Adaptogens are a set of natural herbs, mushrooms, and plants that have a balancing effect on the human body, closely related to homeostasis.
  • As you will see further below, these adaptogens have potentially dozens of different benefits for the human mind and body.
  • Your immune system, energy levels, physical performance, pain and inflammation, sleep, and much more may all benefit from a variety of adaptogens.

Click here to see what some of the best adaptogens for memory are.

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are a special set of mushrooms and herbs that are said to have a balancing effect on the human body. They are naturally occurring substances said to have a variety of health benefits. Adaptogens are supposed to be able to help people recover from environmental, mental, and physical stressors, while also restoring homeostasis in the body.

Adaptogens may be able to adapt to the functions of your body's needs, which means that the very same adaptogens may have an energizing effect on one person while having a calming effect on another.

The reason why some people may be skeptical of adaptogens is because they are considered nonspecific. This means that their influences and effects are very widespread. Adaptogens can affect many different systems in your body.

The difference is that adaptogens appear to go where they are needed, and provide you with benefits that your body requires, as opposed to non-adaptogenic drugs and herbs, which always fill specific roles and target certain areas of the body or mind every single time. 

The bottom line is that adaptogens are naturally occurring substances that can help the human body achieve balance, deal with stress, and reap many other benefits.

Adaptogens work in the body by affecting two of the most important bodily control systems. One of these is the HPA Axis, which includes your endocrine, immune, nervous, digestive, reproductive, cardiovascular, and blood sugar processing systems.

The second is the sympathoadrenal system, which helps to manage your flight or flight response as well as how your body deals with stress. By working with both of these bodily systems, adaptogens have the potential to provide you with many different benefits.

Thanks to their interactions with these systems, adaptogens are said to be able to help control things like cortisol levels, energy levels, the immune system, the adrenal glands, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and more.

Adaptogens Benefits on the Human Body

Although there is more research required to figure out exactly what all of the different benefits of various adaptogenic substances are, there are also some pretty strong indications of what these benefits may be. Let's take a quick look at exactly what adaptogens may be able to do for your mind and body.

  • One possible benefit of adaptogenic substances is that they can help to support the function of the immune system, so your body is better able to fight off infections and diseases. Overall, some adaptogens may increase the resilience of the human body.
  • There are some studies that show that ginseng, for instance, may be able to help increase resistance to viruses and bacteria when used in combination with vaccinations.
  • There are also some adaptogens that are said to help release nitrous oxide and are often therefore used as treatments for erectile dysfunction.
  • Adaptogens may also be able to help protect your liver from many different toxins, therefore preserving the health of your liver.
  • Adaptogens may also have benefits for your brain and neural function. They are thought to have neuroprotective properties, which may help to protect your brain from developing various diseases such as Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimer's disease. For people who are prone to developing these diseases, adaptogens may slow down their progression.
  • The next potential benefit of adaptogens is that they may be able to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. They may impact various neurotransmitters and hormones in your body that affect mood and how you feel.
  • There are also adaptogens with calming and sedative effects. This means that some adaptogens may be ideal to take before bedtime, as they could help you get a night of better sleep.
  • Another potential benefit of adaptogens is that they may have anti-inflammatory properties, which means that they could help reduce general inflammation and therefore pain. For instance, adaptogens may be able to help reduce the symptoms associated with arthritis.
  • Adaptogens may also have the potential to help reduce oxidative stress in the body.
  • Adaptogens may also be able to help lower blood sugar levels, particularly in people who have diabetes.
  • Some adaptogens may also be able to help improve mental and cognitive function. They may have beneficial impacts on problem-solving skills and memory, as well as overall cognition.
  • Another possible benefit of adaptogens is that they may help increase energy levels. Some adaptogens are said to help increase mental and physical endurance, reduce fatigue, and be stimulating in nature.

How Adaptogens Benefit Energy

There are various ways in which adaptogens benefit energy levels, although more research is required to confirm these claims. However, there are promising indications that adaptogens can indeed increase your energy and stamina levels.

  • One way in which adaptogens may help increase energy levels is by functioning as stimulants. An example of a stimulant is caffeine, although adaptogens are much healthier.
  • Also, adaptogens may help increase your energy levels by regulating various neurotransmitters and hormones in your mind and body. Specifically, we are talking about mood-regulating hormones. Adaptogens are thought to be able to help decrease depression, with fatigue being one main symptom of depression. Therefore, if adaptogens can help decrease depression and regulate your mood, they should also help provide you with a mental boost.
  • There are also adaptogens that can increase overall physical endurance, bodily endurance, and physical stamina. This is why some athletes take adaptogenic substances; they are thought to help increase overall physical performance.
  • By supposedly creating a state of homeostasis or balance in the human body, adaptogens may be able to help boost your energy levels by allowing the body to function in an optimized manner. Adaptogens may be able to help prevent your body from wasting energy due to certain systems being overactive or underactive, such as your immune system.
  • Some adaptogens may help you get a better night's sleep. Of course, if you want to have energy during the day, sleeping at night is the number one way to do so.
  • Interestingly, adaptogens are non-specific, which means that many of them function in the exact way that your body needs them to. For instance, some adaptogens may be able to help reduce cortisol levels, which should therefore help reduce stress levels. However, cortisol manages the "fight or flight" mode, characterized by energy and feeling alert. There are also indications that some adaptogens can increase cortisol levels, therefore increasing your energy levels.
  • On top of providing you with more energy, adaptogens may also help increase your metabolic rate. The faster your metabolism is, the more calories your body burns in a set amount of time. Calories are your fuel, so the more calories you burn in that amount of time, the more energy you will have in that period of time.

Best Adaptogens for Energy

Now that you know what adaptogens are, what possible benefits they have for your mind and body, and how they affect your energy levels, let's take a look at some of the very best adaptogens for energy that you can purchase.

Schisandra Berry

Schisandra chinensis is a vine that bears fruit, and here you'll find reddish-purple berries that have five different tastes, including sour, bitter, sweet, salty, and pungent. Although these berries and their seeds are generally not eaten, they have been used for medicinal purposes in Russia and Asia for many centuries. It is thought to have a variety of health benefits.

What are the Benefits?

  • This berry is thought to be able to help block the formation of excess amyloid beta peptides in the brain, which is directly linked with Alzheimer's disease. There is another study that shows that these berries may be effective at reducing the risks of developing (or slowing down the progression of) various neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
  • study performed on the livers of mice showed that the extract of these berries contained antioxidant effects that showed positive results in terms of toxic liver damage. It may have beneficial effects for people with cirrhosis and hepatitis.
  • Research indicates that the Schisandra berry is effective at relieving various symptoms associated with menopause.
  • Several studies show that these berries may also have antidepressant effects, although these studies were performed on mice, not humans.
  • These berries may also have a variety of adaptogenic properties and may be able to help induce a state of homeostasis in the body, while simultaneously reducing stress and increasing energy levels.

Best Way to Take Schisandra Berry

One of the best ways to take the schisandra berry is to take one teaspoon of dried powder and mix it in with your favorite fruit juices. You may also add it to your herbal brews, coffee, and other beverages. If possible, you can always take the fresh berries, although these are exceedingly difficult to find.

Where to Find Schisandra Berry

If you live in Russia or Asia, you may be able to find the berries themselves, although if you live in North America, finding them online or in a herbal supplement store is probably your best bet.

Ginseng

Ginseng is a plant, the root of which (commonly known as ginseng root) has been used as a treatment in both North America and Asia for many centuries.

What are the Benefits?

  • Ginseng contains a variety of antioxidants that may have the ability to reduce inflammation. Ginseng may also be able to help reduce oxidative stress in your cells. There are studies that show that ginseng has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • There are also a variety of studies that show that ginseng has possible benefits for the cognitive function of your mind and may be able to help improve mood, behavior, and memory. One specific study showed that regular consumption of ginseng for no less than five years was associated with increased cognitive function many years down the line.
  • There is research that suggests that ginseng may be able to help increase the production of nitric oxide, which may in turn help increase blood circulation. In this way, ginseng may be used as a treatment for erectile dysfunction.
  • Studies on animals show that ginseng extract may be able to help increase the number of immune cells while also enhancing antioxidant levels, particularly in the liver. There are also studies that show that taking red Korean ginseng every single day for a total of eight weeks drastically increases the number of immune cells present in the human body.
  • One of the main benefits of ginseng, which is why it is contained in so many energy drinks, is that it can help increase energy levels. This study indicates that ginseng has the ability to reduce symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. Other studies show that ginseng may be able to help increase the energy production in cells, which in turn decreases fatigue. Moreover, some studies suggest that ginseng can help improve overall physical performance.
  • Both in people with and without diabetes, ginseng may be able to help control blood sugar levels. Another study showed that people with type 2 diabetes may benefit from improved insulin sensitivity thanks to ginseng supplementation.

Best Way to Take Ginseng

There are various ways to take ginseng, with one of the most common ways being to take raw ginseng root. Taking up to two grams of raw ginseng root or up to 400mg of extract is suggested, and this is best taken orally. You may also take up to 2 mL of ginseng Inkster up to three times per day.

If you are using ginseng root to make tea, simmer up to six teaspoons of the root for up to 45 minutes in roughly 1 liter of water. There are also ginseng capsules that you can take, in which case it is recommended that you take up to 1000mg of dried and powdered root up to twice per day.

Where to Find Ginseng

Ginseng is a herbal supplement that can be found in many grocery stores, natural health food stores, fitness supplement stores, and even in many energy drinks. This is one of the easiest-to-find and most common adaptogens out there. 

Cordyceps

Cordyceps are currently considered to be some of the most beneficial fungi (or mushrooms) out there. This is a parasitic fungus that takes over the bodies of animals, mainly insects. However, they are perfectly fine to eat, and they have a variety of potential benefits.

What are the Benefits?

  • There are studies that indicate that cordyceps may be able to help increase VO2 Max, or blood oxygen levels, which should therefore help increase exercise performance and physical endurance.
  • Other studies performed on cordyceps show that they may have antioxidant properties, which could also lead to anti-aging benefits. These benefits may also be related to improved memory and sexual function.
  • Perhaps most impressive of all is that this fungus, through various research studies, has been shown to inhibit the growth of many human cancer cells. Studies performed on mice indicate that cordyceps may be able to slow down the growth of tumors.
  • In other studies on diabetic mice, Cordyceps was shown to decrease blood sugar levels. There are also studies that show that people suffering from chronic kidney disease and kidney failure who took Cordyceps on a regular basis experienced increased kidney function.
  • They may also have benefits for your heart health. There are a few studies that show that they can decrease bad cholesterol, plus these mushrooms also contain adenosine, which is a natural substance that protects the heart.
  • Research shows that cordyceps may also have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • They may also be able to help increase energy levels and physical endurance.

Best Way to Take Cordyceps

Although dried cordyceps are fairly hard to find, you should be able to find the powdered form inside capsules. It is recommended to take up to four capsules of 400mg of dried Cordyceps every day, to help provide you with a variety of benefits. This mushroom matcha latte recipe is worth checking out.

Where to Find Cordyceps

Quote steps are becoming very common, and you should be able to find them in most natural health food stores, supplement stores, and even in many grocery stores. 

Maca

Maca is commonly referred to as Peruvian ginseng and is technically a cruciferous vegetable related to kale, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. This vegetable has been cultivated for over 2000 years and can survive harsh conditions high up in the Andes mountains. It also has a variety of benefits backed up by science.

What are the Benefits?

  • There are studies showing that maca may be beneficial for sexual performance. A 2019 study showed that this plant can improve erectile dysfunction in mice.
  • Research suggests that maca may be able to help alleviate symptoms associated with menopause, particularly sleep and hot flashes.
  • Maca may also be able to help improve both mood and energy. There are a couple of mice studies that show that this adaptogen can reduce exercise-induced fatigue. There is also another study that shows that maca extract has the potential to reduce fatigue in young women. Yet another study indicates that black maca, when taken on a regular basis for 12 weeks can help improve energy and mood.

Best Way to Take Maca

Maca can be taken in both powder and capsule form, and many people mix the powder with energy bars, baked goods, oatmeal, smoothies, and drinks. It features a fairly nutty flavor, so it works well with other sweet flavors. Although an official dosage recommendation has not yet been established, most of the studies performed used between 1.5 and 3 grams per day.

Where to Find Maca

This is a very common health supplement, and it's something that you should be able to find in virtually every natural foods store, health store, supplements store, and more.

Rhodiola

Here we have a herb that grows in the mountainous and very cold regions of Asia and Europe. The roots of this plant are considered adaptogens, and they indeed have a variety of benefits that are worth talking about. Let's take a quick look at all of the different benefits that the rhodiola root may have.

What are the Benefits?

  • There are some preliminary clinical studies, although they were not 100% conclusive, that indicate that Rhodiola may help to decrease your body's resistance to stress in a variety of ways.
  • Due to the adaptogenic properties it has, rhodiola is thought to help alleviate symptoms associated with fatigue. According to this study, just one week of using rhodiola showed significant improvements in energy levels.
  • According to this study, rhodiola may also be able to help reduce symptoms associated with depression.
  • According to a wide variety of studies conducted on animals, rhodiola may be able to help improve both learning and memory function. Furthermore, it may also have the ability to counteract a variety of mood disorders in people. There is also research that shows that rhodiola may have benefits for age-related diseases.
  • According to this study, rhodiola helps improve exercise performance by reducing the amount of perceived exertion.
  • There are also some studies that indicate that rhodiola may be able to help manage diabetes.

Best Way to Take Rhodiola

Rhodiola extract can be taken in the form of a tablet or capsule, although there are also tinctures available. It is best to take up to 200mg worth of extract on an empty stomach, but not right before bedtime.

Where to Find Rhodiola

This may be one of the slightly harder adaptogenic substances to find, but you should be able to find it online and in a variety of health food stores.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian and Asian cooking, although it also has a variety of potential health benefits, as we're about to discuss below.

What are the Benefits?

  • Turmeric is thought to be a powerful natural anti-inflammatory substance that can help repair damage in your body and reduce short-term inflammation. There are some studies that indicate that when treating inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, turmeric may be even more effective than various anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Turmeric may also have antioxidant properties, and according to a variety of studies, it may be able to help neutralize free radicals.
  • Turmeric may also have the ability to affect BDNF protein levels in the brain, which is associated with Alzheimer's and depression, particularly lower levels of the BDNF protein. There are animal studies that show that turmeric may be able to help increase BDNF levels, therefore positively impacting people with depression or Alzheimer's. There are many other studies which show that turmeric may be beneficial for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
  • Turmeric may be able to help positively impact the function of the endothelium, which is the lining of your blood vessels, with endothelial dysfunction being a major cause of heart disease. There are also other studies which show that turmeric may be beneficial when it comes to heart health.
  • Turmeric may also be able to help reduce symptoms of depression by affecting dopamine and serotonin levels.

Best Way to Take Turmeric

Turmeric is a great spice, and it's super delicious to cook with. We recommend trying some Asian and Indian dishes to see what they tastes like. If you don't like the overall taste of it, you can use some turmeric capsules or extract.

Where to Find Turmeric

Turmeric is something that you should be able to find in virtually every grocery store, online retailer, and health food store.

Tulsi

Tulsi, AKA holy basil, it's both a super tasty herb and a fantastic adaptogenic substance that has a variety of potential benefits.

What are the Benefits

  • Holy basil has the ability to reduce both anxiety and stress, according to this scientific study.
  • According to this particular study, holy basil may also have antidepressant properties. Here is a study that shows that people taking 500mg of holy basil per day felt less depressed, stressed, and anxious.
  • Holy basil is also thought to be antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. In simplest terms, it has the potential to help reduce pain and inflammation and to fight off a variety of diseases by beneficially influencing your immune system.
  • There are both animal studies and human studies which show that holy basil may be able to help prevent symptoms associated with diabetes. There are also other studies that show that the extract of holy basil can help decrease blood sugar levels by significant amounts.
  • There are also a couple of animal studies that show that holy basil may be able to reduce bad cholesterol levels.
  • One very interesting benefit, according to this animal study, is that 200mg of holy basil extract per day can help reduce the number and severity of stomach ulcers.

Best Way to Take Tulsi

There are both capsules and pills of holy basil extract that are available, and these can range in dosages from 300mg to 2000mg . It is generally recommended to take at least 600mg per day. It is also possible to find a central holy basil oil. If you can find it, you can use holy basil leaves or flowers to make tea or other beverages.

Where to Find Tulsi

You may be able to find holy basil in various local supermarkets, particularly Asian supermarkets. It is also easily found online in a variety of health food and supplements stores. 

Shatavari

Shatavari is a type of asparagus, but it's also known as an adaptogen. Let's take a look at the various benefits that it may have.

What are the Benefits?

  • Studies indicate that this asparagus variety has antioxidant properties which may be able to help prevent free radical cell damage and oxidative stress.
  • There are also indications that shatavari has a variety of anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the human body.
  • According to a study performed in 2004, this substance may also be able to help boost your immune system. There is another study that shows that it may be able to help reduce coughing.
  • study performed in 2005 on rats showed that this substance may have the ability to reduce diarrhea.
  • It is also believed that this adaptogenic substance can help induce a state of homeostasis in the body while also increasing overall energy levels.
  • Another potential benefit of this adaptogenic substance is that it may help to maintain blood sugar levels, which is particularly beneficial for people suffering from diabetes.
  • According to this study, shatavari has the ability to reduce symptoms associated with depression.

Best Way to Take Shatavari

The best way to take this adaptogen is either in powder or liquid form, although there are also tablets available. Although there is no official recommended dose established yet, typical doses are around 500mg.

Where to Find Shatavari

This is an adaptogen that you can find in most health food shops, as well as online retailers.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is one of the oldest and most traditionally used herbal medicines in India and surrounding areas. It has a variety of potential benefits that have been taken advantage of for a very long time.

What are the Benefits?

  • As an adaptogen, ashwagandha may be able to help reduce stress levels. There are a variety of research studies that have been performed which indicate that ashwagandha can reduce stress levels. There are also studies which indicate that ashwagandha can reduce anxiety.
  • Another study indicates that ashwagandha may be able to help reduce the occurrence of depression.
  • According to this analysis of research that was performed on 12 separate studies, indications are that ashwagandha may be able to help increase physical performance during exercise. There are also studies that show that ashwagandha may be able to increase blood oxygen levels.
  • There are also indications that males may benefit from ashwagandha through increased testosterone levels and fertility.
  • According to a review of two dozen studies, there was evidence that ashwagandha reduced blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
  • Studies performed on animals show that ashwagandha can help reduce instances of inflammation. There are also human studies which seem to produce the same results.
  • There is also some preliminary evidence that ashwagandha may be able to help improve symptoms associated with mild cognitive impairment. There are also scientific indications that taking up to 600mg of ashwagandha daily for eight weeks led to significant improvements in attention, immediate memory, and general memory.
  • According to this study, ashwagandha is also able to help improve the quality of sleep, which is also confirmed by this review.

Best Way to Take Ashwagandha

The best way to take ashwagandha is in pill or capsule form. The dosage is between 250mg and 1250mg per day.

Where to Find Ashwagandha

This is a fairly standard adaptogenic health substance that can be found in most health food stores, online retailers, and even in some local grocery stores.

Moringa

Here we have a plant that has been around for thousands of years and has been used for its potential health benefits for just as long.

What are the Benefits?

  • This plant is extremely rich in antioxidants, with antioxidants being responsible for a variety of health benefits on their own. For instance, this study indicates that taking regular doses of moringa daily can help increase antioxidant levels in the blood.
  • Here we have a few studies that show that taking moringa leaf powder daily for three months helps control blood sugar levels, with this study showing that it can reduce fasting blood sugar levels by nearly 14%. There are also other studies that indicate that this substance has beneficial effects on blood sugar levels.
  • There are also scientific indications that this adaptogenic substance can reduce inflammation.
  • There are also studies indicating that this substance can lower bad cholesterol.
  • Moringa is also said to have beneficial impacts on energy levels.

Best Way to Take Moringa

If you can find the fresh leaves, these would be best, particularly if you want to make tea. Although there are also extracts that are available in powder and capsule forms.

Where to Find Moringa

Moringa can be found in natural foods and supplements stores.

Gotu Kola

Here we have another amazing herb with adaptogenic properties, and this so-called herb of longevity has for a very long time been used in traditional Indonesian, Chinese, and Indian medicine. Let's take a look at the potential benefits it brings to the table.

What are the Benefits?

  • Here is a study that indicates that this adaptogen may be able to help boost cognitive function, especially in people after suffering a stroke. Here we have another study that shows that this substance has positive effects on cognition in mice.
  • Gotu Kola, thanks to both animal studies and human studies, has been shown to have relatively powerful anti-anxiety effects. There are also other studies that show that this adaptogenic substance may be able to help reduce depression as well.
  • There is also research that indicates that this adaptogenic substance can help increase circulation, which should therefore be beneficial for cardiovascular health.
  • There are some fairly old studies that indicate that this substance may be able to help reduce symptoms associated with various sleep disorders.
  • There is a 2014 study that showed that inflammation may be reduced in rats suffering from arthritis thanks to Gotu Kola.
  • This adaptogenic substance is also thought to benefit energy levels.

Best Way to Take Gotu Kola

The best way to take Gotu Kola is by taking 500mg of extract twice per day. It's also possible to make tea using the dried leaves.

Where to Find Gotu Kola

Natural health and supplement stores are likely to stock this adaptogen.

Guide on How to Use Adaptogens for Energy

First and foremost, before you start taking any new substance, we always recommend consulting a medical practitioner first. However, to help increase your energy levels, specifically with adaptogens that may be stimulating in nature, it's usually best to take them at the beginning of the day. Simply put, you don't want to take anything stimulating before bedtime.

That said, if the adaptogen in question helps provide you with more energy throughout the day by helping you sleep better at night, then it may be best to take that adaptogen before bedtime.

What it comes down to is that each and every single adaptogen has different requirements and works best when taken at different times. Some may require you to take them with food, whereas others don't. Your best bet is to do research into the specific adaptogen in question and to always follow all instructions as indicated on the packaging and labels.

How you take them is not of huge consequence either. Some of these adaptogens come in various formats, such as capsules, pills, powders, teas, and beverages, and some can even be found in their raw form. It really depends on what you prefer. 

The important part, more than anything else, is that you maintain a strict regimen. Taking these adaptogens just once or twice every now and again won't do you much good. Take a look at some awesome adaptogen coffees right here!

Can You Take Adaptogens for Energy Every Day?

Once again, this is hard to say, because it really depends on the exact adaptogen in question. Some adaptogens should only be taken for a few weeks, whereas others are potentially safe to take every day until the end of time. You always want to do research into the specific adaptogen in question.

When is the Best Time to take Adaptogens?

Generally speaking, if we are talking about getting energy from the adaptogens, then the best time to take them is in the morning.

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