Why Adaptogens are Better Than Coffee

Why Adaptogens are Better Than Coffee

Aaah, coffee. It’s no surprise that the blessed nectar we anticipate every morning, is the leading beverage worldwide (after water). It improves cognitive function, alertness, and mood, making it an ideal morning drink. Studies have associated coffee with protection against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease (1), so what’s not to love? Unfortunately, some of us rely too heavily on coffee to keep us fueled all day, masking low energy, stress, and brain fog. Coffee can be addictive, and too much can make you jittery, cause heart palpitations, anxiety, panic attacks, and interfere with sleep (2).

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the energy boost and cognitive enhancement of coffee WITH adrenal support for sustained energy and an increased ability to handle stress? In comes adaptogens! Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that, when used as medicine, help the body to adapt to, and protect against, stressors of all kinds—physical, mental, and chemical (including environmental toxins and radiation). Adaptogens do not harm the body (although individuals may have sensitivities to specific herbs). Adaptogens interact with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis; comprised of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain, and the adrenal glands on top of the kidneys. These glands secrete hormones involved in the stress response. Adaptogens strengthen the HPA axis giving the body a steady supply of energy while improving physical and mental recovery from stress (3,4). They also improve function of the immune, nervous and endocrine systems, and protect against chronic inflammation, atherosclerosis, neurodegenerative cognitive impairment, metabolic disorders, cancer, and other aging-related diseases (3,4).

Through our work at Zoi Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, we developed an herbal formula for our patients that provides the extra energy boost of coffee with the added benefits of adaptogens. Fos™ | Energy & Resilience is a fast absorbing liquid herbal formula comprised of adaptogenic herbs and available for direct purchase from Zoi Medicinals™. What does the science say about the herbs in Fos™?

Siberian Ginseng Root (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is a main ingredient of Fos™|Energy & Resilence. One study tested over 6000 individuals (aged 19 to 72) with stressful occupations and showed that ginseng improved their capacity for physical and mental work in all cases (5). Other studies indicate it assists in healing of nerves and wounds, strengthens the immune system, has anti-cancer properties, can stabilize blood sugar, decrease blood pressure and lessen the symptoms of menopause (6).

Astragalus Root (Astragalus propinquus) has been shown to increase strength and stamina, stimulate the immune system, reduce side effects of chemotherapy, prevent and treat heart disease and improves symptoms of diabetes (7).
Schisandra Fruit (Fructus schisandrae) is used for cough and lung symptoms In Chinese medicine, and studies suggest it improves liver function and helps menopausal hot flashes and sweating (8).

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) may improve anxiety and mild depression, reduce fatigue and improve physical and mental performance (9).

Goji Berry or wolfberry (Lycium barbarum) modulates immune function, has anti-tumor effects and antioxidant activities (10). It may also benefit weight loss and blood sugar balance, and increase testosterone and male fertility (11).

Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera) is also known as “Indian ginseng”. Studies suggest it can control anxiety and stress, and reduce fatigue and pain (12). One study showed that it decreased inflammation better than hydrocortisone (13).

Jujube Fruit or Chinese date (Ziziphus jujube) has been shown useful for insomnia and brain function, boosts the immune system and digestion, and has anti-cancer effects (14).

To take advantage of adaptogens, purchase Zoi Medicinals™ Fos™ | Energy & Resilience herbal formula. It is best taken daily, and long-term for maximum benefit. Sign up for Zoi Medicinals™ Membership to receive your monthly Fos™ supply automatically.

  1. Butt, M.S., Sultan, M.T. 2011. Coffee and its consumption: benefits and risks. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Apr;51(4):363-73. doi: 10.1080/10408390903586412.
  2. Winstonm, A.P., Hardwick, E., Jaberi, N. 2005. Neuropsychiatric effedts of caffeine. Adv Psychiatric Treat. 11:6. November 2005, pp. 432-439. https://doi.org/10.1192/apt.11.6.432.
  3. Ducharme, J., 2018. What Are Adaptogens and Why Are People Taking Them? Time Magazine online. February 28. https://time.com/5025278/adaptogens-herbs-stress-anxiety/.
  4. Liao, L., He, Y., Li, L., Meng, H., Dong, Y., Yi, F., Xiao, P. 2018. A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chin Med, 2018; 13: 57. doi: 10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9.
  5. Panossian, A., Wikman, G. 2010. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals. Jan 3(1):188-224. doi: 10.3390/ph3010188.
  6. Hulzen, J. 2017. Eleuthero: 12 potential health benefits. Medical News Today online. 23 August 2017. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319084.php.
  7. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center online. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/astragalus.
  8. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center online. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/schisandra.
  9. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center online. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/rhodiola.
  10. Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. 2011. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton, FL:CRC Press/Taylor & Frances.
  11. Luo, Q., Cui, X., Yan, J., Yang, M., Liu, J. Jiang, Y., LI, J., Zhou, Y. 2011. Antagonistic effects of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides on the impaired reproductive system of male rats induced by local subchronic exposure to 60Co-γ irradiation. Phytother Res. May; 25(5):694-701.
  12. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center online. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/ashwagandha.
  13. Mishra, L., Singh, B.B., Daagenais, S. 2000. Scientific Basis for the Therapeutic Use of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha): A Review. Alternative Medicine Review. (5, 4):334-346. 10.1002/ptr.3314.
  14. Shoemaker, S. 2019. What is Jujibe Fruit? Nutrition, Benefits, and Uses. Healthline online. Ausgust 23, 2019. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/jujube.