Adaptogens, The Ancient Superherbs That Restore Skin

By Laura Martinez Skincare Tips

Adaptogens, The Ancient Superherbs That Restore Skin

Heard about adaptogens? If you haven’t, you should.  After all, ancient civilizations have coveted these substances for thousands of years, yet they’ve largely remained a secret to those of us in the Westernized world.  Now it’s about time for us to start paying attention to these natural wonders!

What is an adaptogen?

An adaptogen is a super herb that balances and restores the body, no matter what the body may need.

Who needs adaptogens?

We all do!  We live in a hyper-connected world, with relentless workloads, jam-packed schedules, and multi-tasking on our brains.  Not only do adaptogens increase resistance to stress, but they also improve energy and physical endurance, enhance the immune system and help the body to relax and sleep.  They enhance mood and concentration and can nourish and restore the skin.  Sounds too good to be true, right? 

Why use adaptogens? 

Think about life today, those stressful work weeks, struggling through exams, or a sick baby up all night, and the stress seems to pile on.  Maybe the stress has affected your ability to sleep, your immune system, or your physical endurance levels.  You might find yourself having difficulty concentrating, or even nervous and jittery.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or if you are dealing with extreme long-term stress, you will most likely benefit from an adaptogen boost.  Keeping the body balanced is crucial, and that’s how adaptogens can help you. 

Skin Benefits of Adaptogens

Let’s talk about stress, cortisol, and the skin.  No matter what age you are and what type of lifestyle you live, stress, which is the modern-day norm, has a significant impact on your skin.  Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone, released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Stress can lead to increased cortisol levels in the bloodstream, which in turn wreaks havoc on your skin. The effects of high cortisol levels on the skin are:

  • Increased oil production, meaning oily skin, pore blockages, and breakouts.
  • A dramatic damper on the skin’s ability to produce hyaluronic acid, our skin’s natural internal moisturizer.  This could mean dry skin and wrinkles.
  • Raised blood sugar levels, leading to a process called glycation. Glycation damages collagen and elastin, paving the way for those pesky lines and wrinkles.
  • An impaired skin barrier function, including the skin’s ability to retain water.
  • Have been linked to troublesome skin conditions, such as psoriasis, and rosacea. 
  • A decrease in the skin’s ability to heal.

As you can see, adaptogens are important little skin wonders that help feed your skin. They help:

  • Moisturize
  • Protect the skin from UV damage
  • Prevent premature fine lines and wrinkles
  • Stimulate collagen production

Types of Adaptogens

Golden Serpent Fern Leaf 

Golden serpent fern is native to the rainforests of Central America. It has long been used by the indigenous people as medicine for ailments such as asthma, coughing, and stomach upset.

How it benefits the skin*:

  • Is packed with antioxidants and helps calm the skin
  • Has been shown to inhibit free-radicals formed from UV exposure
  • Can help reduce photodamage
  • May even help stimulate collagen

Did you know? Golden Serpent Fern has been called the “internal sunscreen” because of its photoprotective properties when taken orally.

Matcha Green Tea 

Matcha has been a requisite of traditional Japanese culture for almost two millennia, and still, today is coveted for health, and ceremonial practices. Matcha is made from shade-grown, young, nutrient-rich tea leaves.  The leaves are then picked, carefully aged and ground into a fine powder. Because the whole leaf is consumed, Matcha is superior in nutrient levels to steeped green tea.

How it benefits the skin*:

  • Is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and chlorophyll
  • Increases skin hydration and helps calm inflammation
  • Improves circulation so helps reduces dark circles
  • Overall, it’s a great super herb for the skin

Did you know? Matcha has 3x more antioxidants than regular green tea.

Red Grape Seed Extract

Red grape seed is derived from crushing the small seeds of red grapes. It’s one of nature’s most potent superfoods, supporting the mind and nourishing body, from the inside out. 

How it benefits the skin*:

  • Contains powerful polyphenol antioxidants, such as resveratrol and proanthocyanidins
  • Is packed with vitamins, including vitamin C, essential for building and maintaining healthy collagen
  • Smooths skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Reduces redness and damage to cells during sun exposure
  • Improves skin hydration
  • Is a potent free radical “scavenger” and protects the skin on a cellular level

Did you know? Grapes were first cultivated in the near East, and their use for food, drink, and medicine had spread throughout the region long before the bible was even written. 

Turmeric Root

Turmeric is often known for its role in curry dishesis native to India and is a member of the ginger family.  It’s been used in Indian traditions for more than 4500 years.  The root can be eaten fresh or ground into a powder.

How it benefits the skin*:

  • Contains curcumin, which is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • Helps protect the skin from UV rays
  • Helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Helps decrease the appearance of redness, evens skin pigment and texture
  • Helps prevent excessive oiliness in the skin
  • Helps improve circulation

Did you know? Before turmeric was used in Indian tradition, it was used as a dye for clothing.  You can try it out yourself next time you want to dye an Easter egg yellow!

Goji Berry 

A bright red edible superfood berry traditionally cultivated in China.  Its use in Chinese tradition dates back more than 2,000 years.

How it benefits the skin*:

  • Is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants
  • Contains high levels of beta-carotene, nourishing the skin from within to help improve overall complexion.
  • Helps protect the skin from the free radical effects of UV light
  • Helps protect from oxidation and inflammation
  • Helps promote calmness, decreasing cortisol levels, therefore benefiting the skin

Did you know? Legends report that thousands of years ago, monks in the Himalayan Mountains would boil and consume goji berries to increase health, vitality, energy, and stamina. 


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

  • Jill Knight on

    Is this safe to take while breastfeeding?

  • Katherine Sullivan on

    Is this safe to take while pregnant/breastfeeding?