An Easy Guide to Nootropics and Adaptogens: What They Are and How They Work

For a very long time, adaptogen plants have been used in alternative forms of medicine. These plants are known for their nootropic-like abilities to help with a variety of mental faculties, including improving cognitive function, acting as a neuroprotective, and even having mind boosting effects. 

However, you probably have a few questions about adaptogens, such as what are they? How do they work? And are they similar to nootropics products? We are going to explore these answers, so keep reading to find out!

Adaptogens: Taking a Closer Look

The Origins of Adaptogens

To put it simply, adaptogens are non-toxic plants that aid in helping the body resist physical, chemical, and biological stressors. They have been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years. Typically, adaptogens are mixed into teas, cooked into food, or formulated into a convenient supplement tablet. 

Adaptogens also made their way to the Western world in the 1940s, during WWII. Western researchers and scientists were looking into a way to increase the focus and overall performance of pilots and soldiers during the war. What they discovered, and what we continue to see to this day, is that adaptogens are really great for decreasing anxiety and fatigue as well as improving focus and boosting an individual’s mood. 

How Adaptogens Work

One thing that makes adaptogens unique is that rather than focusing on treating any one particular health issue, their job is to strengthen the body’s overall stress resistance. Think of it in terms of exercising: when we work out, we put our body through a manageable amount of stress. With each workout, we increase the stress the body can take by either doing more reps, lifting heavier weights, or running for a longer period of time than previously. Adaptogens actually mimic this concept.

Take a closer look at how the body responds to stress. When we encounter a stressor, such as a loud, sudden noise or some sort of threat to our safety, what happens? Odds are good that your heart rate spikes, your breathing gets shorter or labored, and you might break out into a sweat. That is our nervous system kicking into high gear to release a hormone called adrenaline. It is important to note that chronic exposure to stress can be severely detrimental to health, and make us more prone to fall ill or develop a disease.

However, some stress is actually good for the body, like when you are exercising, as we mentioned earlier. This is because we release beneficial hormones that actually help our body to adapt and heal, rather than put us in a panicked state, like when we’re scared. Adaptogens work in the same way. When we consume an adaptogen, we can expand the amount of time that we are in the resistance phase, as it is an exposure to good stressors. The longer we stay in this state, the more we build up our resistance. While the science can actually get quite complicated, this is a layman’s overview. 

Quick Adaptogens Facts

There are a few quick facts about adaptogens that you should be aware of:

  • In order to be considered an adaptogen, a plant must have a specific chemical compound.
  • These compounds must have some kind of anti-anxiolytic, or relaxing, effect on the body’s central nervous system.
  • By doing so, our bodies can create more of the beneficial, regulating hormones and less of the damaging ones.
  • All in all, adaptogens help our bodies by regulating our endocrine system, or stress response, which increases our overall resistance to harmful agents of all kinds, including physical, chemical, and biological. 
Three ginseng roots on a cutting board

Plant-Based Evidence

So, now it comes down to the real question: what plants qualify as adaptogens? Of the plants we are about to list, many are actually ingredients found in nootropics products, including STACKS. While more research is needed to determine which plants have the most profound adaptogen effects, these listed below have been used for centuries in Eastern medicine.

1. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha Root Extract Powder (Withania somnifera) is found in our nootropics products, and it serves to have a multitude of benefits, including neuroprotective qualities. It can also help to reduce anxiety and stress, improve sleep quality, as well as be a mood-booster. That’s a pretty impressive resume for this fruit-bearing shrub!

2.) Ginseng 

Another contender that has been around for centuries in Chinese medicine, this herb boasts helping to increase neuroprotective and cognitive effects as well as aiding in bolstering overall physical performance. One of the best ways to enjoy ginseng is by having a nice mug of ginseng tea!

3.) Bacopa Monnieri

Here we have another great ingredient of STACKS - Bacopa Monnieri! This is a creeping herb that originates from various parts of the world, including Asia, North and South America, and Australia. Some benefits of consuming this herb include decreased anxiety, improved memory, and a boost to brain function.

4.) Rhodiola Rosea Root

Here at STACKS, we are proud to have this herb as an ingredient in our nootropics products. This is a very powerful herb to help manage stress, including decreasing cortisol’s response to awakening stress. On top of that, it serves to reduce fatigue while simultaneously increasing energy as well as boosting overall cognitive function. 

5.) Schisandra Chinensis

Are you ready to improve your sleep, decrease your blood pressure, and increase your energy? If so, then turn to Schisandra Chinensis, or as it’s better known as, the magnolia berry. It is a vine plant native to forests of Northern China, the Russian Far East, and Korea

Harness the Power of Adaptogens

It is time to feel better and begin increasing your body’s ability to react and adapt to stress. Don’t worry, you don’t have to take all of these supplements individually or hunt them down across parts of the world. Instead, you can order STACKS nootropics

Our nootropics products are simple and easy to use. All you have to do is add a packet of powder to a glass of water once a day, and you’re well on your way to increasing cognitive function, reducing stress, and seeing an improvement in your body and mind’s comprehensive health and well being.