Nootropic Adaptogens to beat Anxiety and Stress

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Our world has never been so quick and fast-paced. But with speed, we also have stress and anxiety as our constant companions. While regular medicines have their benefits, many people are looking back in time for alternative solutions to manage their symptoms. One class of natural ingredients stands out from the pack: adaptogens. This class of natural substances is known for their remarkable ability to help the body adapt to stress.

What Are Adaptogens?

Before modern science and medicines, humans studied and experimented with plants to help us heal and improve our physical form. As far back as 3500 BC, the Chinese were meticulously cataloguing medicinal plants, many of which continue to be essential components in the practice of traditional Chinese medicine today.

Among these numerous medicinal plants, a select few started standing out for their extraordinary capacity to help humans manage both physical and mental stress. As ancient cultures and healing systems expanded them, these potent herbal remedies came to be known as “adaptogens.”

Fast forward to the 1950’s and the first adaptogen that was studied by modern methods was Panax Ginseng.

The modern definition of adaptogen is best described in terms of their three primary characteristics:

Non-specificity: An adaptogen produces a broad-spectrum, non-specific action and works in a general way to help the body fight off physical challenges like tiredness and even stress from the environment or from chemicals.

Normalisation: Adaptogens can bring imbalances in bodily functions back to normal, whether those imbalances are caused by stress or other factors.

Non-toxicity: Adaptogens are generally considered safe for long-term use and do not produce harmful side-effects when consumed in reasonable amounts.

In nature, the plants that make up adaptogens have developed compounds to allow them to thrive in harsh conditions, fend off insect threats, and detoxify themselves from harmful elements in the soil. These compounds have developed these mechanisms naturally and humans can use these compounds to our advantage when managing the symptoms of our own stress.

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How Do Adaptogens Work?

Adaptogens work by interacting with the body’s biological systems to help you handle stress more effectively. Primarily, they influence two major systems responsible for the body’s stress response: the HPA axis and the sympathoadrenal system.

HPA Axis: When stress hits your body, a complex set of interactions starts between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the adrenal glands in the brain. These organs communicate to produce hormones like cortisol, which help the body manage stress. Adaptogens can help modulate this axis, ensuring that the body’s stress response is balanced and not excessive.

Sympathoadrenal System: This system releases neurotransmitters like adrenaline, which prepare the body for quick action in stressful situations (‘fight or flight’ response). Adaptogens help to stabilise this system so that you’re not constantly on high alert, which can be draining over time.

Adaptogens help to balance out the hormones and chemicals that the body produces in response to stress. They act like a thermostat, reading the current stress levels in the body and adjusting bring things back to a balanced state. This helps you feel less anxious, more focused, and better able to cope with physical and emotional stress.

By interacting with these systems, adaptogens can also contribute to improved mental clarity, increased physical performance, and a stronger immune system. They offer a holistic approach to enhancing the body’s ability to adapt to stressors, thereby promoting overall well-being.

Adaptogens for Anxiety

Adaptogens for

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. Numerous studies have shown its effectiveness in reducing stress and anxiety. In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, participants who took Ashwagandha showed a significant reduction in stress-assessment scores compared to those who took a placebo [1].

At Neurologica, SWITCH, SLUMBER and FLOW have been formulated with an optimal dose of Ashwagandha to help with stress management and restore balance in the body. In SWITCH, Ashwagandha has been uniquely combined with NAC (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine). NAC supports the body in making glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. This powerful combination helps the body process and remove excess cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone that can manifest as anxiety.

Rhodiola Rosea

The people of Russia and the Scandinavian countries have used Rhodiola for centuries to treat anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Native to Europe and Asia, Rhodiola Rosea has been extensively studied for its stress-reducing properties. Research indicates that it may help to improve symptoms of stress-induced burnout and reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone [2].

In an unprecedented twist, Neurologica has combined shilajit, co-enzyme Q10 and Rhodiola in IGNITE. This unique combination of natural ingredients is designed to stimulate ATP energy in the mitochondria of the cell. The numerous researched benefits of Rhodiola, including the potential to alleviate fatigue [3], help make this a particularly useful combination for sustained energy, without the consequences of artificial stimulants.

Adaptogens for Stress

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm has been used for centuries as a tea to help calm nerves and anxiety. It is also classified as an effective adaptogen, predominantly used for alleviating stress and minimising the occurrence of panic attacks. Its active ingredient, rosmarinic acid, contributes to anti-anxiety benefits by obstructing the GABA transaminase enzyme. This action helps maintain optimal levels of GABA; a neurotransmitter crucial for mood regulation.

Rosmarinic acid also acts as an anti-depressant in the brain. It achieves this by reducing the activity of the enzyme known as mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 (Mkp-1) and by increasing levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). These processes collectively support the production of dopamine, further enhancing mood.

Lemon Balm also contains eugenol, another key compound that acts as a potent antioxidant. Eugenol effectively neutralises free radicals that could otherwise cause harm to brain cells.

Lemon Balm is included in Neurologica SWITCH because it doesn’t make you drowsy. When combined with magnesium biglycinate and L-theanine, you get an effective anti-anxiety blend without the drowsiness or dullness.


Ginseng is one of the most well-known adaptogens and is highly regarded in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Studies have found that Ginseng can improve mental performance under stress and help to balance cortisol levels in the body.

Ginseng has been studied for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [4][5].

As a nootropic, ginseng is has been shown to improve memory and suppress stress.

Panax (Asian) ginseng has been used in Neurologica SWITCH for these benefits. Added to this, it has been studied as an antidote to fatigue help enhance physical performance by increasing energy production in cells. This means that SWITCH is an effective calming stack that also improves cognitive performance.

Cordyceps (medicinal mushroom)

Medicinal mushrooms have started growing in popularity and have also been classified as adaptogens, since they have shown potential to help the body manage stress.

Research results have been encouraging and scientists continue to study how Cordyceps may help the body adapt to stress.

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The advent of modern science is confirming what traditional medicine has known for centuries: adaptogens possess unique properties that can help manage stress and anxiety. While they aren’t a replacement for professional medical advice and treatment, they can be a useful addition to your wellness toolkit. Always consult your healthcare provider before incorporating adaptogens into your routine.

By incorporating adaptogens into your wellness strategy, you’re not just alleviating stress and anxiety but also embracing a natural and holistic approach to health. In an age where stress is almost inevitable, adaptogens offer a promising, natural way to manage it.


  1. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62.
  2. Kasper S, Dienel A. Multicenter, open-label, exploratory clinical trial with Rhodiola rosea extract in patients suffering from burnout symptoms. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2017 Mar 22;13:889-898.
  3. Lekomtseva Y, Zhukova I, Wacker A. Rhodiola rosea in Subjects with Prolonged or Chronic Fatigue Symptoms: Results of an Open-Label Clinical Trial. Complement Med Res. 2017;24(1):46-52. doi: 10.1159/000457918. Epub 2017 Feb 17. PMID: 28219059.
  4. Baik IH, Kim KH, Lee KA. Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Antithrombotic Effects of Ginsenoside Compound K Enriched Extract Derived from Ginseng Sprouts. Molecules. 2021 Jul 5;26(13):4102. doi: 10.3390/molecules26134102. PMID: 34279442; PMCID: PMC8272189.
  5. Hyun SH, Bhilare KD, In G, Park CK, Kim JH. Effects of Panaxginseng and ginsenosides on oxidative stress and cardiovascular diseases: pharmacological and therapeutic roles. J Ginseng Res. 2022 Jan;46(1):33-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2021.07.007. Epub 2021 Jul 26. PMID: 35058725; PMCID: PMC8753520.