April 2023 THE BREWERY - London Better for the People and the Planet

Adaptogens’ appeal

everything-you-need-to-know - 03/12/2021

Adaptogen ingredients are natural substances, such as plant extracts or mushrooms, held to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functions.

The concept dates back from the 70s when former Soviet Union conducted various studies on herbs in order to increase the resistance and performance of its soldiers at the peak of Cold War. Even though these studies have been dismissed for various methodological flaws and companies are still banned today from using the term adaptogen for marketing purposes in the EU, we see an increasing interest for adaptogen plants. The rise of the clean beauty movement has led consumers to turn to natural ingredients to find potent and safe products and adaptogens seem like nature’s remedy to our contemporary concerns

          From the inside out

Ashwagandha, Reishi, Prickly Pear Cactus extract, Turmeric, Ginseng, Holy Basil, Phellinus Linteus, Wild Thyme, Aloe Vera, Licorice Root, Rooibos, Maca or Moringa are a few popular plants and mushrooms labeled as adaptogens. These ingredients have been, and are still, heavily used in Oriental and Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years. In the West, their use first appeared in the wellness industry and especially in supplements, promising to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance mental performances, boost immunity and balance mood. Adaptogens are also entering the beauty industry with skincare products using these same ingredients. Clean beauty brands such as Herbivore with its Emerald Oil, Youth to the People with its Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream or Kora Organics with its Turmeric line, are just a few using herbs and mushrooms with stress relieving and body restoring properties.

          More than what meets the eyes        

The reason for adaptogens’ popularity might even go beyond the promised physical and mental benefits they offer. Of course, consumers want potent products, and stress and its consequences on the body and skin is one of their main concerns, but they also are looking for something more. What they like in these ancient remedies and primitive ingredients is the philosophy that goes with them. Knowing that an ingredient has been used for hundreds of years, that it was sourced by tribes and indigenous people, and that it has an impact on the body and mind as a whole gives it extra appeal. It also shows, if we needed more proof, that the frontier between the worlds of wellness (physical or mental) and beauty is blurring a bit more.

Choosing the right ingredients has always been a key to success for companies in the beauty industry and while the Clean Beauty movement shone a light on safety, we now see a stronger pull for ingredients with an ancient history or compelling legacy.

Monia MERABET, founder of WeOutWow

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