According to Dr. Frank Lipman, MD, integrative medicine expert, founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City and best-selling author, “adaptogens are a unique group of herbal ingredients used to improve the health of your adrenal system, the system that’s in charge of managing your body’s hormonal response to stress. They help strengthen the body’s response to stress and enhance its ability to cope with anxiety and fight fatigue – slowly and gently, without jolts or crashes.”

It’s no secret that herbs can work wonders for your health; just think about ancient Chinese medicine and herbal medicine…those practices have bee around forever for a reason, and if you’ve ever tried an herbal remedy then you probably know they really can and do work. So how do these adaptogen herbs work, exactly? It all goes back to the reason you have stress in the first place—cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that increases when you are faced with a stressful situation, and when those hormone levels are elevated you experience a “fight or flight” response, which can cause extreme stress. Dr. Axe explains “elevated cortisol levels and chronic stress can affect every physiological system in your body, including your thyroid and adrenal glands.” Adaptogens work because they “help balance, restore and protect the body,” essentially helping your body to respond to stressful conditions in a healthy way.

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