Adaptogens are a class of herbal plants thought to have many health benefits. They’ve been used for centuries in traditional Eastern medicine to ease stress, improve energy levels, and balance the body’s hormones.
Now, each adaptogenic herb has a slightly different function, and so far, experts have been able to find at least 70 types of adaptogenic herbs.
Hence, the best adaptogenic herb for you depends on the specific issue and symptoms that you’re experiencing, as well as on the kind of solution you’re looking for.
To help you decide, we’ve compiled a list of the 9 best adaptogenic herbs you can use to balance your hormones and how to incorporate each adaptogenic herb to your diet in a natural and healthy way.
Read along to learn about:
- 9 Adaptogenic Herbs for Hormone Balance
- Other Ways to Balance Hormones
- Adaptogenic Herbs FAQs
9 Adaptogenic Herbs for Hormone Balance
Adaptogenic herbs have been used in traditional medicine as early as World War II.
But only now they’re trending and being massively marketed to the public.
Well, only recently did adaptogens go through rigorous scientific research and were proven to have healing properties on the human body.
Without further ado, here are our top adaptogenic herbs and adaptogenic products for hormone balance:
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that can be traced back to around 6,000 BC, when it was mentioned in Ayurveda, India’s famous ancient medicine.
This hormone balance herb is specifically beneficial for boosting your thyroid function and stabilizing your mood. It’s also known to balance cortisol levels, increase energy, improve concentration, reduce blood pressure, lower sugar levels, and overcome symptoms of depression.
How to Take it
The easiest way to use Ashwagandha is to take it as a supplement. We’d recommend trying out our Organic Ashwagandha capsules for a 100% plant-based and non-GMO product, made out of highly bioavailable nutrients.
Take one to three of these vegan pills a day, depending on your exact issue and needs.
Not sure if you’re experiencing signs of a hormone imbalance? Then, head over to our guide on 27+ common hormone imbalance symptoms, to help identify them sooner.
Known for its use in Ayurvedic healing, Ashwagandha has been used for over 3,000 years to help reduce stress. It does this by:
- Normalizing your stress levels and mood
- Promoting speedier relief from cortisol and adrenal fatigue
- Boosting your immune system with this powerful adaptogen
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#2. Rhodiola Rosea
Russian and Scandinavian countries have been using Rhodiola for centuries to treat symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, and depression. More recent studies in test tubes and animals suggest Rhodiola can protect the body from specific health conditions, such as cancer and diabetes.
How to Take it
When picking a Rhodiola supplement, make sure to look for brands that carry a USP or NSF seal, such as Gaia Herbs.
Take 2 capsules a day in between your meals, but not before bedtime as the capsule can have a slightly stimulating effect.
Maca is an adaptogenic plant that grows in the Andes mountains, in Peru. It’s been traditionally used to increase libido, enhance fertility, and improve energy & stamina. Maca can also help relieve menopausal symptoms, as well as boost sports performance & overall mental well-being.
How to Take it
You can choose between incorporating Maca powder into your diet, (e.g: in your favorite smoothie, oatmeal, energy bar), or using it as a supplement.
We recommend taking 1-2 capsules a day, from our naturally-grown Organic Maca.
#4. Holy Basil
Holy basil has been shown to be a great natural antidepressant, to help people sleep better, as well as decrease exhaustion, and stress. The adaptogen is also high in antioxidants and nutrients such as vitamin A and C, zinc, iron, and calcium, all of which protect and vitalize your body against toxic chemicals.
How to Take it
One way you can take holy basil is by making its leaves into tea. Add 2-3 tablespoons of brewed basil into hot water, let it steep for 5 minutes, and you’re done!
Basil does have a bitter and spicy flavor, though, so you can always go for a supplement instead.
If you want to know more about hormone balancing drinks and how to make them in your home, head over to our guide on 7 natural drinks to balance hormones.
Turmeric is an adaptogenic herb filled with natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that fight cell damage, ease stress levels, and reduce the body’s overall inflammation. The adaptogen is also known to boost serotonin and dopamine production and help you sleep better at night.
If you want to learn about the connection between hormone imbalance and insomnia, check out our insomnia and hormone balance guide to learn how to ease it.
How to Take it
A healthy and delicious way to take turmeric is as a drink. All you have to do is add ¼ of turmeric, milk, and a sweetener of your choice into a saucepan, simmer it in medium heat for 10 minutes, and enjoy!
#6: Siberian Ginseng
Traditionally, Siberian ginseng was used to prevent colds, flu, and increase energy levels. Recent studies have also found that the adaptogen has a regulating effect on stress, depression, and anxiety symptoms.
How to Take it
Siberian ginseng is available as a tablet, capsule, pure root, and in teabags. 2 to 3 grams per day is enough to benefit its healing properties.
#7: Licorice Root
Licorice root is one of the oldest herbal adaptogens that’s been used as traditional medicine in Greek, Middle Eastern, and Chinese cultures.
The adaptogen’s primary active compound is glycyrrhizin, which contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties can help reduce inflammation, soothe an upset stomach, ease menopausal symptoms, and treat several illnesses such as heartburn, acid reflux, hot flashes, and viral infections.
How to Take it
Licorice root can be used in several ways.
You can add it to flavor some of your foods and beverages, drink it as tea, or take it as a supplement. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends not exceeding 100 mg of Licorice per day.
Astragalus is a traditional Chinese adaptogen that helps protect the body against all three types of stresses: physical, mental, and emotional. It contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that support the immune system, lower blood pressure, treat wounds, prevent colds, and protect the liver.
How to Take it
Astragalus is available in a variety of forms:
- Capsule or tablet
- Injectable form in hospitals
- Tincture (alcohol extract)
The exact dosage you should take depends on what you want to treat, as well as your age and your weight. Work with a doctor or physician to determine the dosage that is right for you.
#9: Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms have adaptogenic qualities that can help you stabilize your hormone levels and reach a state of homeostasis (or balance).
Here are our top 5 adaptogenic mushroom picks and how they can benefit you:
- Chaga, which has many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Shiitakes can slow down an overly active immune system, kill off cancerous cells, lower cholesterol, and lower estrogen production in both men and women. Read our guide on high estrogen in women or high estrogen in men to learn about the causes, risks, and ways to fix the imbalance.
- Lion's Mane supports your cognitive function, clarity, and healthy brain function.
- Cordyceps have been shown to increase oxygen intake within the body as well as boost your energy.
- Reishi, also commonly referred to as the “mushroom of immortality”, has many benefits for your immune system. It increases white blood cells, fights infection and disease, and promotes healthy gut bacteria.
How to Take it
When purchasing medicinal mushrooms, make sure to always pick the ones that are organic and non-GMO. Read the packaging for the specific ratios and dosing instructions.
Women frequently experience hormone imbalance. Check out our informative guide to hormone imbalance symptoms in women to learn why they occur and how to treat them.
Other Ways to Balance Hormones
Using adaptogenic herbs is only one of the many remedies for hormonal imbalance. Other ways you can naturally balance your hormones include:
- Eat a hormone balanced diet. Incorporate nutritious foods such as salmon, avocados, seaweed, probiotics, brown rice, and quinoa into your diet.
- Drink green tea. This healthy hormone balance tea has an abundance of metabolism-boosting and antioxidant properties that can help you increase insulin sensitivity, lower insulin levels, and release cortisol (the stress hormone).
- Exercise regularly. Consistent physical activity is highly linked to hormonal health. It boosts your serotonin, estrogen, and testosterone levels, which, in turn, causes an increase in your mood, memory, sex drive, and overall health.
- Work on stress management. Ongoing stress can be really overwhelming and, if left untreated, it can even lead to adrenal fatigue, high blood pressure, heart disease, and mental health issues. Meditation practices, journaling, talking to friends and family, and taking natural stress relief supplements, can all help effectively reduce your stress.
- Use essential oils for hormone balance. Using them in a diffuser or applying them topically on your skin can help you minimize hormone balance symptoms.
Adaptogenic Herbs FAQs
#1. What Is the Most Powerful Adaptogen?
One of the most powerful adaptogens is Ashwagandha. It provides an abundance of benefits for your body and brain such as:
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Contains anti-cancerous properties
- Reduces cortisol & stress levels
- Boost fertility in men
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves memory, concentration, and brain function
#2. Do Adaptogens Help You Lose Weight Gained from Hormone Imbalance?
Yes, they can.
High levels of stress lead to high levels of cortisol, which stimulates your fat and carbohydrate metabolism and creates a rush of energy in your body. This imbalance increases your appetite and cravings, which cause unwanted hormonal weight gain.
Because adaptogenic herbs have anti-anxiety properties, they can help ease these symptoms, lower your appetite, fight inflammation, and support weight loss.
#3. What Foods Contain Adaptogens?
Foods that contain adaptogens include:
- Reishi and Shiitake mushrooms
- Blueberries and raspberries
#4. Do Adaptogens Really Help with Hormone Imbalance?
Yes, adaptogens are great for treating hormone imbalance.
Adaptogenic herbs help manage oxidative stress in your body, lower your cortisol levels, support your adrenal system, optimize thyroid function, and boost energy levels as well as low libido.
#5. How Long Should I Take Adaptogens for Hormone Imbalance?
In order for adaptogenic herbs to work on your body, you need to use them daily, for at least 2-3 weeks. Ashwagandha, for instance, which is the most commonly studied adaptogenic herb, takes up to 4 weeks to achieve a full effect on the body.
Adaptogenic herbs have been used for thousands of years in many ancient cultures to keep the body healthy, stress-free, and at hormonal balance.
Recently, the powerful benefits of these herbs have seen a “renaissance” - they’re being researched by scientists, as well as being heavily marketed in the form of teas, powders, hormone balance pills, and tinctures.
Specifically, some of the most powerful adaptogens you can use to balance your hormones and strengthen your immune system include:
- Holy basil
- Siberian ginseng
- Licorice root
- Mushrooms such as Reishi, Chaga, Lion’s Mane, and Shiitakes.