Best Nootropic Adaptogens
What Are Adaptogens?
Protecting your mental state of being is an extremely important facet of being a balanced human being. People do all sorts of things to keep themselves happy, healthy, and focused throughout their day. And while there are many mindful practices, yoga techniques, and meditation skills which can help improve the mental state, there are also supplements which can help improve mind wellness.
Adaptogens are nature’s organic way to improve mental wellbeing. An adaptogen can be defined as an herbal substance that helps the mind and body adapt to and cope with stress. They are best explained as having the ability to create a normalizing effect on the natural processes of the body, helping the body achieve and maintain a stress-free homeostasis. In short, adaptogenic substances are a staple in holistic healing and help the body stabilize physiological processes.
Although adaptogens have been around for a long time, it is arguable to say their true start of being recognized as stress-relieving and health and balance promoting properties began around eight thousand years ago with Ashwagandha. For this reason, it could be argued that humans have successfully been using adaptogens for around two thousand years. The term “adaptogen” itself was first coined in the 1940s by a sophisticated Russian scientist by the name of Dr. Nicolai V. Lazarev. This man spent a lot of his career studying stress effects within the body, the body’s resistance to said effects, and how certain holistic approaches could diminish the body’s stress response. The term “adaptogen” finds its roots in the Latin phrase “adaptare,” which loosely translates to “to fit and adjust.” The term quickly became associated with substances and herbs which improve the body’s ability to resist stress.
Are There Adaptogenic Nootropics?
Nootropics are substances (natural or synthetic) which help improve performance within the mind or body. And yes, there is such a thing as an adaptogenic nootropic. In fact, perhaps some of the strongest supplements for improving mental well-being are nootropics adaptogens. This is because nootropics already possess the innate ability to improve the body’s performance. Additionally, by definition, adaptogens are natural, which means a nootropic adaptogen is arguably most likely to be accepted by the body and have the greatest impact over the body’s ability to achieve balance, and reduce stress, with as little opportunity for being rejected in terms of effects as possible. All of this also means that while many adaptogens can likely be classified as nootropics, not all nootropics will be classified as adaptogens.
Besides the fact that nootropics are already well-known for their ability to impact the mind, adaptogenic nootropics ultimately improve the body’s ability to fight stress, anxiety, and fatigue. They will also help improve the body’s overall general wellbeing.
What Are the Best Adaptogenic Nootropics?
While there are literally hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of qualifying nootropics when it comes to adaptogenic properties, some are clearly more responsive and effective than others.
Hawthorn is an incredible herb, and it is one of the very few (known) Western herbs with adaptogenic properties. And its adaptogenic effects are powerful, being able to assist in realigning the body, creating balance and ridding the mind of stresses. It is natural, generally considered safe for consumption, and found in some of the most potent adaptogenic nootropic stacks.
Hawthorn remains one of the oldest medicinal herbs known to man, getting its start in Ancient Greece, as well as with the Native American population. Both cultures recognized the herb’s ability to help with the heart. Also known as Crataegus extract, the plant was used as well throughout the Middle Ages of Europe. Even in medieval Europe, it was originally used to combat heart issues.
Hawthorn berry extract is one of the staples in terms of adaptogenic nootropics included in the Piratall formula.
Ginseng (Panax Ginseng and Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Ginseng is a renowned herb in terms of offering adaptogenic effects. It helps support living organisms in a variety of ways, and in terms of being an adaptogen, helps the body achieve optimal homeostasis. It’s adaptogenic properties are thought to come from its ability to affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This results in elevated plasma corticotropin and corticosteroid levels, and ultimately, reduced stress.
The origin of Ginseng can be found in historical the Shangdang district of China during the first century B.C.. The Han dynasty era quickly recognized its powerful medicinal properties. In ancient times, it was used as an anti-aging, energy-bolstering, and aphrodisiac tonic, however, its antioxidant properties were also well-known. It would be used throughout ancient times to treat cardiovascular, kidney, and reproductive issues.
Siberian Ginseng is often considered one of the strongest strains of ginseng, and it is also included in the Piratall adaptogenic formula.
Rhodiola Rosea is a powerful adaptogenic plant which develops in the cold, mountainous regions throughout Asia and Europe. It is very commonly found within the Artic wild regions of these areas. Many studies have indicated Rhodiola’s important properties contributing to overall general mental and physical wellness. It is typically turned to for its ability to reduce stress and fatigue, as well as its ability to increase mental and physical performance.
Rhodiola made its first, recorded historical appearance in 1725. It was extremely popular amongst the Vikings and was used to enhance and bolster mental and physical endurance. It also has a deep history of use throughout Russia and Scandinavia.
Rhodiola Rosea is a potent constituent of the Pirate Blast formula, offering an array of adaptogenic effects that help make this nootropic stack so great.
L-Theanine (extracted from Camellia sinensis and other plants)
L-Theanine is a potent adaptogen and classified as an amino acid found in tea leaves. It is known for its ability to aid the body’s healthy stress response. It works by reducing cortisol, a stress hormone naturally produced by the body during anxiety. It also increases brain alpha wave activity.
Being a relatively newer nootropic, L-Theanine was first discovered in 1949 as a powerful constituent within green tea. It would be used heavily throughout Japanese culture, and can be found in nearly all types of tea and a variety of fungi. A more powerful way to utilize L-Theanine through extraction techniques would quickly be unveiled in 1950 working the extraction from gyokuro leaves.
L-Theanine is one of the most effective proponents of the Pirate Chill formula, offering the supplement the opportunity to truly help reduce stress in the mind and body.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is a powerful nootropic adaptogen which possesses constituents that may help reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, improve the immune system, and (most relevantly) reduce stress. The herb is well-known for its ability to create a calming effect in the brain. It has been traditionally used to alter the condition of anxiety and unnecessary stress, helping the body resist mental and physical stress levels.
Ashwagandha is also known as “Indian Winter Cherry” or “Indian Ginseng,” and is an evergreen shrub found throughout India, some parts of Africa, and some parts of the Middle East. Ashwagandha got its start around 6,000 years B.C., being first mentioned in Ayurvedic medicine throughout Ancient India. It has deep-rooted history of being used throughout all of Ancient Indian medicine. The culture used the herb to improve overall health, rejuvenate the system, and improve lifespan.
Many reports exist which have outlined Bacopa Monnieri to have potent adaptogenic effects in terms of reducing chronic stress. It is well-known for its ability to reduce and fight anxiety as well as general stress. Like many other adaptogens, it works by increasing the body’s natural resistance to stress. In addition to these properties, it helps bolster overall mental acuity, which is another reason it is very commonly found in nootropic stacks.
Bacopa Monnieri is a very popular Ayurvedic medicinal herb, having a long history of use throughout traditional Indian healing practices. It has a long history of use dating back as far as the 6th century A.D., and can be found discussed throughout many Sanskrit books including Caraka Samhita, Sushrita Samhita, and Astanga Hridaya. It is a creeping herb and found native in wetland environments throughout Eastern India, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and even the Americas.
Choline, also known as lecithin supplementation, is purported to have strong antistress and adaptogenic functions. It is an essential nutrient for both humans and many animals, and forms as a cation, creating various salts. It is important to maintain proper Choline levels in order to be in good health.
Choline was first described (and discovered) by a scientist by name Theodore Gobley, while he was working in Paris. He named the substance after the Greek word “lekithos,” which translates as “egg yolk.” In 1862, a later scientist, Adolph Strecker, discovered that heated bile from lecithin produced the nitrogenous chemical known as Choline.
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica)
Gotu Kola is a mild adaptogen in terms of brain and nervous system function. However, although it is only considered a mild adaptogen, it has long been used for its other medicinal properties for thousands of years. It is commonly used throughout India for its powerful anti-aging properties, especially when it comes to the skin.
Gotu Kola has a lot of history throughout Ancient India and is still used to this day in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Supporters of the herb claim it has powerful abilities to boost brainpower, promote better liver and kidney function, and heal a variety of skin conditions. The first descript mention of Gotu Kola is found in the Chinese book entitled Shennong Herbal, which dates back to as early as 200 B.C.. This book describes the herb as the “Fountain of Life.”
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Balm has been used as an adaptogen for a long time. It is most frequently used in an herbal tea form. It is known to reduce anxiety, promote calmness, and induce a feeling of serenity. It can help with nervous exhaustion and restlessness, while also offering an aromatic fragrance. Lemon Balm is also used to promote a pleasant mood, which comes from its ability to offer the body rosmarinic acid effects.
Lemon Balm originates in North Africa and the Middle East, although it has also been cultivated throughout Southern Europe. It is a perennial herbaceous plant and belongs to the mint family. The leaves themselves are easily detectable by their natural lemon scent. And the small white flowers which come completely full of nectar make the plant easy to spot. In fact, the herb’s genus is named after the Greek word for “honey bee.”
Ginkgo Biloba possess powerful adaptogenic properties, helping the body rid itself of natural stresses. It works by helping the body handle stressors. It also helps the body counteract the effects of high-stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. Additionally, it can help promote cognitive function, memory, and mental acuity.
Ginkgo Biloba is considered one of the more “ancient herbs” on this list. It is very commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is one of the oldest living tree species across the globe and dates back as far as the time of the dinosaurs, perhaps even older. This is why the tree has earned the nickname “living fossil.” There is even a Ginkgo tree in China which is reportedly more than 3,500 years old. Still, it only became popular and well-known throughout Western cultures in the late 1600s after a German botanist named Engelbert Kaempfer found the tree growing in a Japanese temple’s garden.
Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus)
Astragalus is very rarely used alone, however, seems to work wonders when used in combination with other herbs to protect the body against disease and illness. It is a potent adaptogen, helping the body rid itself of naturally formed stress. It is also well-known for its use to promote a healthier lifestyle and provides a substantial boost to stamina and endurance. It can help the body fight physical, mental, and even emotional stress, while also containing a number of antioxidant effects.
Astragalus is native to the regions of China, North Korea, and Mongolia. It has a lot of history being used throughout many Asian cultures and is known as the “Yellow Leader” (or “Huang Qi”). The plant is easily identifiable by the yellow color of its inner root. While it was only first described in Western literature in 1753 by a scientist known as Carl Linnaeus, it has been recorded in Chinese medical books which date as old as 200 A.D. for its potent therapeutic effects.
Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is an adaptogen that helps the body fight depression, anxiety, and age-related dementia. It is a member of the many mushrooms which have powerful adaptogenic properties and can greatly help the body maintain balance and reduce negative stressors. It has been suggested that it promotes better daily cycles of sleeping and waking, as well as supporting healthy circadian rhythms and promoting healthy adrenal function. In addition, it can help promote healthy brain function.
While Lion’s Mane is largely cultivated throughout China and Asia in general, it has been found growing in other, surrounding regions as well. It has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is typically used in tea preparations. Also known as “Hou Tou Gu,” the mushroom has been historically consumed to improve brain function, gut health, and to purportedly fight off some cancers. Many Asian monk cultures have been known to utilize powdered Lion’s Mane to improve meditation.
Reishi (Ganoderma lingzhi)
Reishi is another adaptogenic mushroom that helps support the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis. It also helps promote healthy functioning of the adrenal glands. It can boost immune system function and has a molecular structure similar to steroid hormones. Additionally, it is known to increase the stimulation and production of white blood cells.
Reishi is first noted as being used in traditional Chinese medicine more than two thousand years ago throughout the Han dynasty. It is also known as “Lingzhi,” which translates to “mushroom of immortality.” Some other common nicknames include “divine mushroom” and “magic fungus.” Traditionally, it is used to fight viral and bacterial infections, improve cardiovascular function, reduce high cholesterol and blood pressure, as an anti-aging nootropic, and to improve overall well-being.
Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)
The Schisandra berry produces two main constituents which offer powerful adaptogenic properties. It is able to improve the body’s ability to resist and reduce anxiety. It is a stimulating adaptogen, helping the body promote balance and fight mental, physical, and emotional stress. Traditional medicinal use of the herb suggests it is able to protect against nervous system stress, and even holds anti-inflammatory properties.
Schisandra is a vine plant found native to the forests of China and Russia. It is also found throughout Korea and Japan. It is easily recognizable by its magnolia berry fruit, and is commonly called “Five Flavor Fruit.” It has been used for centuries throughout traditional Chinese Medicine and is thought to promote overall “chi,” including energy, virality, and youth.
Using Adaptogenic Nootropics in Your Stack
When discussing the topic of nootropics for the mind, adaptogens are almost always a smart constituent of an effective nootropic stack. They can help massively reduce cortisol levels, stress, and overall anxiety. They help the body maintain homeostasis and produce a more balanced output of natural chemicals. Adaptogens give other nootropics a better opportunity to function and secure their potential effects. With all the history supporting the use of adaptogenic nootropics within a healthy cocktail of herbal remedies, it is almost impossible to ignore their value in holistic herbal healing.
Final Words on Nootropic Adaptogens
In a world where information is widely available and so much is known about such a large variety of substances, it is reasonable to assume some of the best nootropic stacks in the world have been developed. These stacks will almost always include a proper, natural, adaptogenic nootropic. Without a healthy dose of adaptogens, it is arguable the body never has a chance to extract the most out of other nootropics within a stack. For this reason, it is reasonably encouraged that any nootropic stack or supplement include a healthy dose of adaptogens to improve overall nootropic effects.
Our products, especially Piratall, are designed to include appropriate adaptogens which improve the nootropic stack significantly. After all, a large part of producing a balanced, functioning mind, is ensuring the mind is clear of stress and anxieties. Our nootropic adaptogenic formula is built using natural supplements only, and helps the body achieve and maintain homeostasis.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been approved by the FDA. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article is meant for educational purposes only and should be considered explanatory of the research the author has conducted.