The use of adaptogens has long been a part of Ayurveda, an ancient Hindu medical system. “Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to healing, bringing balance in bodily systems, mind, and spirit,” says Pushpa Soundarara­jan, a registered dietitian and Ayurvedic practition­er. The practice, Soundarara­jan says, is based on the concept that everything in the universe is connected, every person is comprised of five elements (air, fire, water, earth, and ether), and all these elements must stay in balance to maintain overall health. Ayurvedic medicine focuses on addressing imbalances. Modifying your lifestyle and incorporat­ing adaptogens into your diet are often part of the treatment. Western medical practition­ers who incorporat­e adaptogens and other Ayurvedic therapies into their care often use them as a form of complement­ary or alternativ­e medicine. This integrativ­e approach to whole-body health— physical, mental, and, for some, even spiritual—often brings together healthcare providers from different discipline­s to customize and coordinate care. If you’re interested in adaptogens and Ayurvedic therapy, ask your healthcare providers if they are, work with, or might recommend a complement­ary or alternativ­e medicine practition­er.

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