Skip to main content

Back to Topics



Adaptogens And Why They Are A Wellness Trend

March 1, 2022

In these anxious times, it’s no surprise that adaptogens, plant-based substances that help the body adapt to stress and other ailments, are set to lead wellness trends in the coming years.

The Adaptogens – Global Market Outlook (2019-2027) report put their market value at US$9.8 billion in 2019, and said it is expected to reach US$19.2 billion by 2027. American grocery chain Whole Foods Market included adaptogens as one of its top food trend predictions for 2021.

Adaptogens aren’t new. For centuries, these herbs, roots and mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine), and Tibetan medicine (sowa rigpa).

What are adaptogens?

“Adaptogens help the body achieve balance and their healing role has been verified over time,” says Grace Yu, a TCM practitioner at Balance Health in Hong Kong.

“Now we’re seeing a revival of these plants, with more people using them to support their health.”

Many adaptogens are known for their tonifying (energy increasing) effects, benefiting the body’s circulatory, respiratory, digestive, nervous, immune, endocrine, and reproductive systems, says naturopathic doctor Melissa Lee at IMI Integrated Medicine Institute in Hong Kong.

“In TCM, they’re known as qi tonics and in Ayurveda, rasayanas – rejuvenating herbs that restore the body’s qi, prana or ‘vitality’ and normalize physical, emotional, and spiritual imbalances,” Lee says.

“Eastern medicine revolves around treating the ‘whole person’ rather than a singular disease, and so herbs that were effective at restoring imbalances, irrespective of the nature of the disease, were highly sought after.”

Examples of adaptogens include: rhodiola; sand ginger; reishi mushrooms, also called lingzhitulsi – or holy basil; American ginseng; the root of a plant of the genus Pueraria, known also as kwao krua or kudzu; schisandra fruit, known also as magnolia berry or five-flavor fruit; ashwagandha – the king of Ayurvedic herbs; and Acanthopanax senticosus, commonly known as cwujia or Siberian ginseng. Read more:

Follow Us