Stress often feels unavoidable, but is it possible for the body to learn to adapt? Adaptogens, a classification of plants long used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to help the body fight the effects of stress, show promise of assistance.
“A lot of people are stressed, and that’s manifesting in skin issues, not being able to focus, or anxiety and depression,” says Olivia Esquivel, a Palm Beach native and owner of Southern Pressed Juicery, a plant-based restaurant with locations in South Carolina and Texas. After researching questions and complaints from customers looking for a solution, Esquivel discovered adaptogens. This year, she launched Wildcrafted, a collection of organic adaptogenic supplement blends for enhancing energy, brain, and beauty.
The herbs, roots, and mushrooms work by normalizing the function of the pituitary, adrenal, and hypothalamic glands to lower cortisol, and therefore balance hormones, mood, metabolism, and the immune system. “Basically, [they’re] adapting to what your system needs to make sure that your mind and body are on point,” Esquivel explains. She recommends adding a quarter of a teaspoon each day to coffee, tea, or a smoothie.
Critics are quick to point out that adaptogens only put a band-aid on the root of the problem: persistent stress. “It’s a fix, and that’s why [adaptogens] are so popular,” admits Esquivel. “You can try to create more mindfulness in your life, but a lot of the things we’re dealing with are out of our control. We have to evolve with the times, and our bodies need help catching up.”