Adapt-a-what? | Monica Yates Health | adaptogens, stresss, hormone imbalances


BY monicayates

So the new craze, trend, obsession, whatever you want to call it…is adaptogens. They are a substance that helps the body adapt to stress and help restore balance. These plants have had to survive in harsh conditions ,and they managed to ‘adapt’ to them and still thrive. Are we seeing where the name is coming from?

So in a nutshell, they can be used to also help YOU to adapt to harsh conditions (i.e. being too busy, stressed, work overload and hormone imbalances as a result).

Education and knowledge about these amazing substances goes back thousands of years to ancient India and China. The sort of adaptogens that I use from Holy Mountain have been used as medicines in either Ayurveda or traditional Chinese Medicine and so can be trusted as they have a strong history and credibility.

Now as I have strong a strong focus on stress with my clients and programs and the negative effect it can have on our bodies, I want to explain how these amazing botanicals can help you during stressful times. But as I always say, no herbs, supplements or adaptogens are going to ‘fix’ your problem. Your body isn’t deprived of mushrooms, so mushrooms aren’t going to ‘fix’ you, but getting to the root cause (i.e. stress or lack of time out) and then using these substances on top of fixing the real problem, will help your body in getting back to homeostasis faster. They’re also great to use during times when you just don’t have the luxury of calming the fuck down even when you want to (so for a short term thing) or for glowing hair, skin and nails!

So how do they work?

Studies show[1]that adaptogens exert a protective effect from stress by regulating homeostasis via the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA), and by controlling key mediators or the stress response such as molecular chaperons (like Hsp70), stress activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1), transcription factor DAF-16, cortisol and nitric oxide (NO).

According to an Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism review of studies, Withania resulted in decreased stress, increase antioxidants and improved overall semen quality in a significant number of people. The treatment of Withania also results in pregnancy in 14% of partners

Panax ginseg (Korean ginseng) is great for overall wellbeing and mental performance. The root of it has been reported to have an overall anti-stress action[2], which is great for hormonal balance and keeping adequate levels of progesterone.

Schisandra chensis is another herb that has been found to increase your resistance to physical and emotional stressors[3](emotional stressors are something that I’m CONSTANTLY seeing with my clients that no one else seems to be picking up on as a real problem for hormonal balance!). In a placebo controlled double blind study[4]of several groups of athletes, it was sound that this herb significantly reduced their stress. Heavy physical exercise (HIIT included) increases the amount of cortisol in your body (the stress hormone) and these athletes were tested for stress parameters before and after herbal treatment as well as before and after physical exercise. Both Schisandra and Byronia significantly reduced the level of cortisol in their blood compared to the placebo group.

Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) is an adrenal tonic and it has an amazing ability to slow down cortisol breakdown![5]Perfect for literally everyone these days.

And the last one, for now….

Maca root. It is quite popular and I’ve mentioned it before. It has a strong history of being used as currency during the Incan empire before it would enhance energy and libido. Maca has been described to improve sexual behaviour in experimental animals[6]and traditionally Maca has been referred to as a plant to improve fertility[7]B2  and as an energizer[8].

So whilst this may sound like so many endless options (there’s actually quite a few more but I didn’t want to overwhelm you) you can now buy different adaptogens blended up for you all in the one jar. I’ve started using the ‘universal glow’ from Holy Mountain and LOVING it!! I feel like in the week that I’ve used it, I’ve been less stressed even though I had a lot on, my sleep was more restorative and my skin was less congested (I got this weird ‘new season’ congestion that is going thank goodness). She has other types of blends on her website that I’m yet to try – but I really love her new little brand (the branding is also super pretty) and she’s based in Melbourne and everything is hand blended (which is a triple bonus).

The blends are also super affordable so I would highly recommend trying them and monitoring changes you notice and let me know! I get so happy when you ladies send me your results after trying different things I’ve noticed!

p.s. this is NOT a sponsored post or paid partnership – I truely LOVE Lisa’s products!



[3]Braun L, Cohen M. 2003. Herbs & Natural Supplements: an evidence-based guide. 2nd edn. Sydney: Elsevier Australia.

[4]Panossian A et al. 1999. Effects of heavy physical exercise and adaptogens on nitric oxide content in human saliva. Phytomed 6:1;17-26.

[5]Braun L, Cohen M. 2003. Herbs & Natural Supplements: an evidence-based guide. 2nd edn. Sydney: Elsevier Australia.



[8]G. F. Gonzales, “Biological effects of Lepidium meyenii, maca, a plant from the highlands of Peru,” in Natural Products, VK Singh, R Bhardwaj, JN Govil, and RK Sharma, Eds., vol. 15 of Recent Progress in Medicinal Plants, pp. 209–234, Studium Press, Houston, Tex, USA, 2006. View at Google Scholar

Monica x

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