Just as the adrenal glands coordinate with multiple body systems, medicinal herbs that promote adrenal health work holistically and synergistically, benefiting multiple organs. Not surprisingly, adaptogens figure prominently among the ingredients. Just like the adrenal glands themselves, adaptogens help us handle stress: They support the flight-or-flight reactions to temporary emergencies, while also helping the body know when to flip off that emergency switch and relax. Here’s a look at just a few of the herbal supplements for adrenal health. You’ll find these herbal remedies in our online store, as single-herb extracts and as components in our Adrenal Balance formula.
Overview of Adrenal Function
Our reaction to stress begins in the brain, with the hypothalamus signaling the pituitary gland to have a conversation with the adrenal glands, located above each kidney. The adrenal glands respond by adjusting the secretion of such hormones as adrenaline and cortisol and aldosterone. These substances, in turn, set priorities for various actions. For example, they tell the reproductive and digestive systems to kick into lower gears, because the energy used for daily activities is needed for more pressing tasks. When the brain tells the adrenal glands the emergency is over, the adrenals readjust the amount and timing of hormone secretion.
Taking a holistic approach, natural herbal supplements do a good job of keeping the body in balance and preventing imbalances before they happen.
This multitasking adaptogen has been a staple of Traditional Chinese Herbalist for hundreds of years. Modern studies validate the toning powers of astragalus and its ability to regulate the complex brain-adrenal pathways. Astragalus can support cardiac health, enabling the body to extricate itself from emergency situations. It promotes mental focus, so the body can think itself out of that emergency.
Naturopaths note the synergistic effect of combining astragalus with other liquid herbal supplements to support adrenal health. One herb commonly paired with astragalus is licorice root. Well known for its use as a candy flavoring, licorice (the root of the Glycyrrhiza glabra, a perennial legume) can maximize the body’s use of the adrenal hormone cortisol. Like astragalus, licorice also improves mental focus.
The phytochemicals that enable rhodiola to thrive in such stressful environments as salt-lashed Scandinavian cliffs and the frigid wastes of Siberia make the root of this low-growing perennial well suited to helping the adrenal glands handle stress efficiently. This adaptogen is another multitasker, supporting various physiological functions impacted by the adrenal system. It is famed for its ability to boost stamina, which is why Viking marauders regularly ingested it. Like astragalus, it can promote cardiac health and sharpen mental focus. Like licorice, it optimizes the utilization of adrenal hormones.