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Posted by Naturopath . on

For centuries, particular herbs have been used to lower stress and boost energy. These herbs are commonly referred to as the adaptogens.

The adaptogen herbs support the adrenal system, and help our body ‘adapt’ to a variety of physically and emotionally stressful situations. It is believed these herbs work by helping the human body cope with stressors, by decreasing the perception of stress, as well as altering a persons stress response once it has began.  

Adaptogens also have the added benefit of boosting energy levels, unlike a caffeine or sugar hit that drops you 20 minutes later, adaptogens offer a healthier, slower, more consistent release of energy which is more sustainable.

One of the most well researched and impressive adaptogenic herbs is the Eastern European Rhodiola rosea. And busy Sydney based Naturopath, Lisa Costa Bir is a big fan: “It’s definitely the one to take if your body and mind need a little lift since, it has been shown to greatly reduce levels of cortisol (our stress hormone)”.

Rhodiola is a complex herb, as it can assist people who are exhausted, fatigued, depressed and anxious, but can benefit athletes too.

In a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial, a single dose of rhodiola was given one hour before exercise, starting with a warm up, and the results were recorded.

What was discovered was rhodiola ingestion significantly decreased heart rate during the warm-up and the participants completed the time trial notably faster.

These results suggest that single dose Rhodiola ingestion decreases heart rate response to submaximal (moderate) exercise and appears to improve endurance exercise performance by decreasing the body’s own perception of effort.  Meaning the body is adapting and coping to this physical stress in a more sophisticated manner.

Could rhodiola be the next big edge for marathon or long distance runners?

Please consult your doctor, naturopath or nutritionist before adding or changing any of your supplements or medications.

To ask Naturopath Lisa Costa Bir, any questions about adaptogens, find her on Facebook at





Honor Tremain - Nutritionist and Health Writer

Honor is a qualified naturopathic Nutritionist and health writer. She is very passionate about nutrition and health, and has been working in the field for almost 20 years.  Honor is the head nutrition writer for the multi-national Fitness First magazine, which won best app for an iPhone & tablet device in 2011 for the ‘Magazine excellence awards’.  Honor also has her own ‘Ask Honor’ column and weekly health article in the APN newspapers for The Fraser Coast Chronicle and Observer in QLD.  She designs weight loss meals and menu’s for Sydney based food manufacturer Core Food Concepts.   Honor has lectured and supervised the Nutritional medicine students at one of Sydney’s largest Natural therapies college’s- Nature Care College.  You can follow her and many of her articles on Facebook at:





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