adaptogens 101

adaptation is critical.

adaptation is arguably the most important foundation to modern health and wellness. our environment is changing much faster than our mind-body can physiologically adjust or update. for example, stress is a biological response designed to help us fight or run from danger. stress response can't be updated as easily as computer software and is being smoked by the speed at which environment, technology, information and social structures are changing. this is why modern dysfunctions are dominated by anxiety, poor sleep quality, inflammation, toxicity, nutrient deficiency and weakened immune system.

adaptation at the rate we experience change requires mindfulness and work. there are many ways to help your mind-body adapt to the ever-evolving world we live in. a powerful way to promote adaptation is through supplementation with adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms that help decrease biological sensitivity to stress, helping maintain balance and efficiency. we will continue to experience internal and external stress, this is guaranteed. adaptogens help prevent a dramatic biological response to stress to protect our nervous system, cellular integrity, energy and resources. a 2009 pharmaceuticals journal publication on the effect of adaptogens on the central nervous system calls this protection the "stress protective effect".

there is no lasting progress in any health, wellness or performance goal without a balanced nervous system. stress management should be at the core of all holistic protocols to avoid maladaptive resource allocation.

to make things happen in life, you're going to experience stress, uncertainty, fear and curveballs. health, wellness and performance is largely influenced by our ability to navigate these inevitable obstacles and push forward without accumulating the damages of chronic stress.

stress pushes your mind-body into the sympathetic nervous system to respond to a perceived threat. if the stress response is consistently being triggered, the consequence becomes maladaptive as resources are literally diverted away from the processes that define health, wellness and performance. by design, stress changes the mind-body from a proactive to a reactive state. proactive (parasympathetic) processes like digestion, detoxification, cellular and tissue repair, learning, neurogenesis, etc. are given less resources in order to prioritize reactive (sympathetic) state. this is fight or flight or freeze and it's only designed to run for a short period of time in response to a perceived threat. when stress is chronic, your mind-body doesn't return to a proactive state of resource allocation. instead, more energy is used to fuel fight or flight (or freeze) and less is given to the immune system, building new brain cells, repairing tissues, absorbing and processing nutrition, learning, etc.

the mechanisms of adaptogens.

calming stress reponse. controlling cortisol.

adaptogens reduce cortisol and minimize time spent in the sympathetic state by preventing over reactions to stress. this is accomplished through modulating / calming the HPA axis (the system that coordinates fight or flight or freeze response). you will still deal with stressors on a regular basis, but adaptogens help “buffer” your stress response so pressures of daily life don’t trigger the release of stress hormone. this helps you stay calm and collected when dealing with adversity or pressure. this also applies to common daily stressors that perpetuate chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system. calming the HPA axis reduces the your mind-body's unnecessary stress load, giving you more bandwidth to process more productive challenges.

conceptual graph by roots apothecary.

if you've studied stress, you have probably seen a graph like this. adaptogens act like a "buffer" to help keep stress response from pushing deep into the sympathetic state. this is called the "stress protective effect", and it's the most studied and published benefit of adaptogens.

adaptogens also keep the mind-body from dipping deep into exhaustion following a stressful event. basically, tension and exhaustion are not as dramatic with a therapeutic adaptogen routine.

notice the baseline of the adaptogen curve starts and ends higher than the baseline of the non-adaptogen response. this is the "stimulatory" effect of some adaptogens that helps increase baseline energy levels. you will see a lot of companies and research explaining this difference in baseline as the primary energy benefit of adaptogens, but this isn't true over time. the real benefit of adaptogens on energy levels are noticed with a consistent routine as the stress protective effects of adaptogens limit the amount of time the mind-body spends in the sympathetic state of resource allocation. the more time you spend in the sympathetic state, the more energy you're burning and resources are diverted to

conceptual graph by roots apothecary.

stress is energy intensive and hugely impactful on how the mood-body uses available resources. in this graph, you can start to see the cumulative impact of a repeated stress over a period of time. you can probably relate to a time in your life when things were significantly chaotic. maybe you got thrown to the wolves at a new job, or you went through a rocky period in a relationship, or you over trained through an injury, or you hustled through finals week. whatever the situation, you can probably relate to abnormally high periods of tension followed by fatigue. you can probably remember, instability in your energy, mood, mental capacity, etc.

stress response is often illustrated as a buffer that protects you from feeling high tension and the following exhaustion from a single stressful event, but this isn't super helpful for illustrating chronic stress over time which is the far more damaging form of stress. high stress in a single incident or a short period of time isn't that big of a deal, because that's how the system is designed to operate. the real problem comes with repetitive activation of stress from every day life. if this stress is not managed, it will push your mind-body to spend more time in states of high tension and exhaustion than a balanced state that also prioritizes parasympathetic processes.  

conceptual graph by roots apothecary.

this graph illustrates the increasing imbalance in tension and exhaustion from poorly managed stress over an extended period of time. this trend can be obvious to those experiencing it, but more often, our clients don't notice this trending imbalance until they're in a dysfunctional state. at this point, multiple mind-body processes are dysfunctional like digestion and vagus nerve connection, immune system, circadian rhythm, neurotransmitters and neurogenesis, protein synthesis and more. you can try to address all of these problems individually, but without a solid stress management protocol, any results will be short lived.

adaptogens and stress management practices play a critical role in maintaining balance and healthy resource allocation over time. the longer chronic stress goes without course correction, the more energy and resources are diverted to sympathetic state and less to proactive states. this erodes the health of all other systems. digestion suffers, inflammation increases, nutrient adsorption declines, sleep is disrupted, mood declines, mindset becomes less productive and more.

expanding bandwidth.

states of high tension or exhaustion don't leave much mental or physical space to take on new challenges or even process each day's information through a productive lens. high tension and exhaustion is unsustainable and will wear on your quality of life. by reducing the time spent in states of high tension and exhaustion, adaptogens create more mental and physical bandwidth.

use this increased adaptogen bandwidth to make some lifestyle updates. don't just sit on this extra bandwidth, use it to cultivate mindset, implelemnt processes and organize in your daily life in a way that will reduce your stress load and increase productivity. this doesn't necessarily mean work harder at your job. increased bandwidth can be used to spend more time with friends and family, start training for that spartan race, carve out time to read each night, start meditating, start keeping a journal or do something that you feel will add value to your life. don't use adaptogens as a crutch, use them as a tool.

strengthening cellular resilience. stress inoculation.

with consistent use, adaptogens like ashwagandha act like a workout for your cells that strengthens resistance to oxidative stress, strengthens mitochondrial health and repairs damaged proteins that would otherwise weaken cellular function. this cellular workout, called stress inoculation, stimulates the production of molecular chaperones like HSP70 (70-kDa heat shock proteins) that protect the body from physical consequences of ongoing stress like inflammation, oxidation, and dna damage. this benefit, through stress inoculation, is called the hormetic effect of adaptogens and greatly improves endurance and resilience under stress.

popular adaptogens. IN DEVELOPMENT.

click for more information.


master adaptogen. stress resilience. adrenal balance.

ashwagandha is a grounding adaptogen and nervine (nerve tonic) that is used to calm ruffled nerves. ashwagandha assists healthy thyroid and adrenal function, supports both mental and physical stamina, and promotes a healthy response to stress by reestablishing our intrinsic adaptive capacity. ashwagandha works it’s magic heavily through actively regulating the hpa axis to support adrenals

reishi mushroom

immune support. stress resilience. liver + kidneys. overall wellbeing.

reishi is very diverse in benefit with high anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and immune boosting properties. reishi is considered an adaptogen for its ability to calm the fight or flight response, strengthening resilience in both physically and mentally stressful situations.
reishi is additionally known for its potential benefits to the kidneys and liver by reducing inflammation and reducing erosion of the nephron outer membrane (decreasing kidney permeability).

reishi’s immune supporting properties are well rounded, including promoting the innate immune function, humoral immunity, and cellular immunity. in particular, reishi extract may improve the function of B and T lymphocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells.

cordyceps mushroom

physical + mental endurance. inflammation.

cordyceps is known for supporting mental and physical performance and is especially popular in the athlete community. this mushroom (which is technically not a mushroom) supports healthy adrenal function through its stress protective effects (as an adaptogen) while increasing ATP and VO2 (peak oxygen uptake during exercise). cordyceps is highly recognized for helping improve acute and chronic fatigue and is often paired with lion’s mane to promote creative focus. studies have associated cordyceps supplementation with increasing activity of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) making it a powerful anti-oxidant as well.

panax ginseng

energy. immune system. blood sugar.

cordyceps is known for supporting mental and physical performance and is especially popular in the athlete community. this mushroom (which is technically not a mushroom) supports healthy adrenal function through its stress protective effects (as an adaptogen) while increasing ATP and VO2 (peak oxygen uptake during exercise). cordyceps is highly recognized for helping improve acute and chronic fatigue and is often paired with lion’s mane to promote creative focus. studies have associated cordyceps supplementation with increasing activity of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) making it a powerful anti-oxidant as well.


mental and physical endurance. mental clarity. mood support.

rhodiola rosea is used to strengthen mental and physical stress resistance helping to promote mental energy and a clear, calm thought process under challenging conditions. this flowering plant is shown to support an increase in endurance through improving VO2 max and increasing the concentration of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in skeletal muscles. the adaptogenic, herb also has been shown to support mental fatigue such as from exam type stress. this is attributed primarily to its ability to influence levels and activity of monoamines and opioid peptides such as beta-endorphins.


physical endurance. liver support. detoxifying.

schisandra has a long history of use in traditional chinese medicine to treat liver conditions, stomach disorders, and as a tonic to improve vitality and it is commonly used to support fatigue and sleep. two main compounds express this adaptogenic quality: schisandrin and gomesin. schisandrin has been studied for its ability to protect the nervous system against stress, while gomesin boasts anti-inflammatory power. researchers have studied these compounds for positive effects on the liver—specifically, the supporting role they play in liver detoxification.


energizing. physical energy. lymphatic system.

eleuthero is a root that helps restore balance when we’re feeling mentally and emotionally depleted. in other words—it’s seen as a form of plant-based relief for those feeling overworked and rundown. eleuthero helps to normalize and regulate the HPA axis, thus supporting healthy cortisol and inflammation levels. eleuthero is traditionally indicated for fatigue, lack of motivation and drive and in TCM it is considered warming to a "cold and depleted state". its numerous powerful plant compounds, including phenylpropanoid glycosides and polysaccharides, are considered to be responsible for its adaptogenic activity.


immune supporting.

nourishing, supportive, and immune-enanching — basically, astragalus root is like a warm hug from grandma. most notably, the health benefits of this sweet and nourishing herb include: supporting the adrenal glands, immune system, and lungs. astragalus supports strong lungs, helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels already in a normal range, and encourages the healthy production of normal red blood cells, white blood cells, and macrophages—the latter two being essential for immune health.

holy basil

calming nervous system tension. relaxing.  

holy basil (also known as tulsi) is an aromatic shrub used as a way to maintain homeostasis and protect the body from toxins and toxin-induced damage. these functions are also commonly linked to the high content of phenolic compounds and antioxidant properties. it addresses adrenal health and HPA axis balance, the effects of occasional stress (especially when it comes to a healthy inflammatory response), occasional tension, low spirits, and cognitive health. holy basil can also help support efficient digestion and absorption of nutrients from food and is shown to have alterative properties such as aiding in detoxification pathways and microbiome balance.

stress and the reactive mind. IN DEVELOPMENT...

upper brain and lower brain.

living on the edge.

peaks & crashes. mental exhaustion.

roots products & stress. IN DEVELOPMENT

almost everyone can relate to getting frustrated and doing / saying something they didn't think through. the best example of this is


holistic & complete.

1600mg fruiting body mushroom extract / serving. 1x concentrations.

our most well rounded and complete of all roots products, serving the mind-body's many highly dependent systems like stress response, digestion, inflammation, mood, cognitive performance and immune system. the adaptive cacao is made with 1x mushroom extracts that retain most beneficial compounds found in fresh mushroom while harnessing the improving digestibility and absorption of an extract. 1x mushrooms are high in beta-glucan, pre-biotic fiber and trace minerals and are more well rounded in benefit than higher concentration extracts.

the adaptive cacao is also packed with anti-oxidant rich raw peruvian cacao, mineral rich himalayan salt, neuro-protective mct and adaptogenic ashwagandha. acacia fiber and agave inulin are powerful prebiotics that help strengthen your good, low inflammatory microbiome. as your good microbiome strengthens, the bad bacteria gets weaker. the more we learn about optimal health and performance, the more we understand the importance of healing your gut through a balanced microbiome.


focused & specific.

1000mg fruiting body mushroom extract / serving. 8x-10x concentrations.

our adaptive honey is highly specialized with 8x-10x mushroom extracts that concentrate active compounds unique to each mushroom for a more targeted benefit. for example, lion's mane is known for supporting mental clarity, cognitive performance, neurogenesis, neuroplasticity and overall brain health. 1x lion's mane delivers these benefits with a variety of overlapping benefits with other mushrooms like stress reduction, digestion support and moderating inflammation. 8x lion's mane concentrates the active compounds that deliver a more powerful benefit of focus, clarity, neuroplasticity, neurogenesis and overall brain health.

Mushroom Extract - Reishi


siberian ginseng.

1000mg fruiting body mushroom extract / serving. 1:1 + 8x-10x concentrations.

roots mushroom extract powders are blended with 1x and 8x-10x concentrations. harness the wide spectrum benefits of 1x mushroom extracts and the focused power of 8x-10x concentrations. mushroom powders are for those who like making their own stacks and the versatility of using a powder in just about anything. this is also the most cost effective way to supplement with a specific mushroom. if you’re wanting the most holistic and well rounded benefits of mushrooms, you should get the adaptive cacao. if you want the flexibility of making your own mushroom ratios and routines, get the powders.

manifestations of chronic stress. IN DEVELOPMENT

mental & physical fatigue.

amped & tight.

clients in this category carry more of the uncomfortable physical manifestations of stress that can feel like a prison. these physical manifestations include.

  • white knuckling (very tense. jaw clinching.)
  • tightness in chest. inability to take a deep breath.

people in this category also include those who exhibit

  • neurotic behavior.
  • obsessive compulsive.
  • inability to focus on one task and keep your mind wrangled in.
  • impulsive decision making.
  • mood instability.

critical lifestyle improvements to make. IN DEVELOPMENT

better sleep practices.

let food be thy medicine.


live for something.  

a deeper dive into stress pathways. IN DEVELOPMENT

coming soon

stress & adaptogen FAQ. IN DEVELOPMENT

coming soon