To be an adaptogen, herbs have to be three things:
1. Non-specific – meaning their effects are body-wide not aimed at specific organs or body systems
2. No side effects or contraindications – deemed harmless to the body
3. Non-toxic to the body’s physiological functions – helping to bring the body back to equilibrium
Within that broad definition, there are different types.
Some adaptogens—like Asian ginseng, eleuthero (or Siberian ginseng), rhodiola rosea, and maca—stimulate the body, enhancing mental performance, mojo, and physical stamina.
Others, like reishi, ashwagandha and holy basil, help calm the body and soothe the adrenals when they’re super stressed.
Astragalus is another one that’s become popular lately, thanks to its health promoting qualities.