12 Adaptogenic Herbs to Lower Cortisol and Reduce Stress

Adaptogenic herbs can help to lower cortisol levels and reduce stress in the body. If you feeling low on energy, like it’s hard to keep with all you have going on each day, have trouble sleeping, or feel exhausted all the time you may have an imbalance in your cortisol levels. Cortisol is your hormone responsible for regulating stress. These adaptogenic herbs have been used for years and now there is research backing up their use to help lower or manage cortisol and reduce stress. Read on for my 12 of my favorite adaptogenic herbs to help lower cortisol:

1. Passion Flower

A plant which grows wild in the southern parts of south america. It is a calming agent shown to reduce cortisol levels. Recommended to drink passion flower in tea or as a tincture. [1] [2]

2. Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family, originated in Southern Europe and the Middle East. Lemon balm contains lots of antioxidants and anxiety soothing compounds shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and maintain balanced cortisol. Recommended to drink lemon balm in tea. [3]

3. Ashwagandha

A root plant that can be taken to effectively reduce stress. [4] Health benefits can be derived from the concentration of withanolides, which are anti-inflammatory. [5] In one study, those who took the ashwagandha had a 30% reduction in cortisol levels. Can take ashwgandha as a supplement or powdered to add to meals or beverages. [6]

4. Holy Basil

Native to Asia, is a shrub in, yes, the basil family. [7] Two phytochemical compounds, ocimumosides A and B, are found to reduce cortisol levels. Recommended to take holy basil as a supplement or in tea.

5. Rhodiola

Also known as a golden root, originated in Asia for medicine. It contains a phytochemical known as salisdroside, which is main factor in reducing cortisol levels. [8] Rhodiola rosea is the strain that is the most effective in showing health benefits. Rhodiola also helps to increase energy which can benefit those with depression. Recommended to take rhodiola as tea or supplement.

6. Panax Ginseng

Another adaptogen originated in Asian natural medicine. [9] Panax ginseng helps to reduce stress by blocking the adrenocorticotropic hormone. [10] Can take panax ginseng in supplement or tincture form.

Wondering about your cortisol levels?

7. Licorice Root

Licorice root is a herbaceous perennial legume native to southern Europe and the Middle East. It is used for energy and can aid in cortisol reduction by stimulating the adrenal glands. [11] Licorice is commonly taken as a supplement or tea. Licorice root may increase blood pressure, so ask your healthcare provider before starting.

8. Cordyceps

It is a fungus that naturally inhabits certain insects and caterpillars. They consume a host as a parasite and produce long stems that exceed the species. Don’t worry, when we consume it, it is not harmful to us. Promotes physical activity and reducing stress levels. [12] Commonly taken as a supplement, powder, or tea.

9. Schisandra Berry

Also called, the five flavor fruit, or magnolia berry. Schisandra berry is a vine native to northern China and can be consumed as the whole berries, juice, tea, or as a supplement. Schisandra berry is shown to reduce stress, boost mood and immunity. [13]

10. Reishi

A mushroom with a kidney bean shaped cap. It helps your body adapt to stress, rather than decreasing your levels all together. [14] Reishi can be consumed in various powders and blends, not recommended to be eaten as a whole mushroom.

11. Skullcap

Skullcap is part of the mint family native to North America. [15] Skullcap is great at balancing hormones in the body to help reduce stress and anxiety. It can be consumed as a raw herb, tea, powder blend, or liquid droplets.

12. Chamomile

Chamomile is a common name for daisy-like flowers or plants. Chamomile has been shown to decrease cortisol levels and balance mood better than some medications. [16] It is best to be consumed in tea form.


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