Your wedding will be one of the happiest days of your life, but that perfect event can often come at a price—your health and wellbeing. Breaking news: most couples feel stressed out about wedding planning at one point in the process. Whether it’s dealing with your future mother-in-law who’s demanding you book her nephew to cater the reception or confronting your bridesmaids who have told you in no uncertain terms that they are not pleased with your choice of dresses, it’s likely that you’ll have stress in the months leading up to your wedding.
There are many effective ways to deal with wedding-related stress, including incorporating a regular exercise routine, scheduling a massage, or even just complaining to a very patient and understanding friend. Another potential useful tool for dealing with stress is the use of adaptogens, which are herbs that help your body to cope with stress.
What exactly are these adaptogenic herbs, and how can they help you cope with the most stressful parts of your wedding planning? Here’s what you need to know about the touted healing powers of these herbs and whether or not they might be for you.
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens have been used for centuries to aide the body in its fight against stressors, whether they be physical, chemical, or biological. These herbs are made from non-toxic plants and can be ingested either by adding them to meals, taken as supplements, or even brewed into juices or teas. Adaptogens are said to help heal everything from anxiety and depression to insomnia as they help combat stress and balance out your body.
Although not many medical studies have been done on the healing powers of adaptogens, their proponents swear by their effectiveness. Because they are made from natural ingredients, adaptogens are safe to try, but you should always consult with a doctor before you make any drastic changes to your health plan, particularly if you have high blood pressure or other underlying health conditions. (In other words, don’t switch out an adaptogen for your regular anti-depressant prescription.)
How Do They Work?
Adaptogens are said to support adrenal function and regulate a more stable balance in your hypothalamus and pituitary glands. These body parts are all involved in your body’s response to the stress that it undergoes—whether you are lifting weights or tackling a project at work that you don’t completely understand. An adaptogen is said to help you “resist” a stressor for a longer period of time, which means that you will feel more energized and less overwhelmed by an internal or external stressor.
Experts say that adaptogens have neuroprotective elements, anti-fatigue properties, antidepressive effects, and can act as a stimulant for the central nervous system.
What Herbs Can I Use?
Now that you know what adaptogens are and how they work, you might be curious to know what kind of herbs are useful for helping your body deal with stress. You can typically find adaptogens in supplement or even in raw form in health food stores, nutrition and supplement stores, or even on Amazon. Be sure to ask for recommendations and read reviews for any adaptogens that you are considering purchasing and using.
Here are some of the more popular kinds of adaptogens:
Asian ginseng is probably one of the more well known adaptogens as it’s said to be one of the most powerful healing plants in the world. Herbalists tout this plant’s ability to restore and strengthen your body’s immune system as well as boost your metabolism. This can be especially helpful when your immune system is running ragged from being extremely busy during your wedding planning.
Side effects: Although ginseng is generally considered safe to take, it’s possible that it could cause insomnia or gastrointestinal issues. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should not take ginseng.
Eleuthero is an adaptogen that helps with your immune system, supports healthy cholesterol levels and helps your heart during stressful periods (AKA, your wedding planning). In addition to helping with your heart health, Eleuthero is perfect for those who have erratic sleep schedules due to stress. It reduces nighttime stirring, but isn’t going to make you feel drowsy during the day.
Rhodiola is actually a succulent (yes, the same adorable type of plant that’s currently gracing your windowsill) and is an adaptogen that helps support the immune system and is said to even improve fertility. Like Eleuthero, Rhodiola helps with stress management and can help protect the heart while you go through stressful periods.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that helps you get high energy levels (you know, what you used to have before you started planning your wedding). This adaptogen can help you stay awake, increase your endurance, and assist with chronic fatigue.