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If you’ve been in a trendy grocery store recently, you’ve probably come across an aisle of brightly colored canned drinks from brands you likely have never heard of. They have botanical ingredients like elderberry or mushrooms that pop up on the label and tout the ability to calm, energize or help you focus. Don’t worry—Pepsi and Coke aren’t rebranding. These cans are all adaptogen drinks, a popular health-nut approved type of fizzy beverages that are jam-packed with herbs and developed in the hopes that they’ll make your body and mind feel calm.
These ingredients have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries, but the term “adaptogen” wasn’t introduced to the science world until the 1940s thanks to a scientist from the USSR. For something to be considered an adaptogen it must meet three criteria: It has to help the body fight off physical or mental stress, it has to have the ability to bring your body back to homeostasis (calm) and it can’t cause any harm to the body’s normal functions.
How do adaptogens work? Well, according to Healthline, these herbs essentially “hack” your body’s stress response and stabilize your hypothalamic, pituitary and adrenal glands. Basically, if you’re in fight of flight mode, sipping on this remedy can bring you back to your normal, non-stressed mode.
Along with this de-stressing ability, adaptogens have also been found to have anti-fatigue and anti-depressive effects. They can also help stimulate your central nervous system, so those focus claims could be more accurate than you think.
Now, there isn’t a ton of data out there on adaptogen drinks, but a 2010 study found that adaptogens also can help increase mental clarity, improve lung function and decrease symptoms of fatigue and exhaustion. A 2018 study found that adaptogens can help close your adrenal gland to diminish the amount of stress hormones released when your body is feeling overwhelmed and can boost the production of cortisol to relieve stress and help with sleep.
So, what are the best adaptogen drinks out there? There are a bunch to choose from, many of which have different purposes, flavors and ingredient lists. Whether you’re on the hunt for a non-acoholic drink for your Dry January endeavors, or want to explore the world of adaptogens to help with stress, anxiety or sleep, you’ll be able to find a bevy that fits your needs.
We rounded up the best adaptogen drinks for stress, calmness, sleep and energy below.
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Well + Collagen Boost Superdrink Mix
Take your adaptogens on the go with you using these mixers. They work like flavored water packets in that all you have to do is dump the goodness into a glass of h2O and ready to get sipping. Zolt offers a variety of flavors developed to meet a number of health needs. Our eyes are on this collagen-boosting recipe that incorporates skin and hair-loving ingredients like vitamin C, Zinc and hyaluronic acid with energy-boosting goodies such as tremella mushroom.
Recess Variety Pack
Recess infuses its sparkling water with real fruits and a combination of hemp, ginseng and L-theanine to create a concoction that calms. The brand built its drinks with the purpose of resetting in mind—any time you’re feeling overwhelmed during the work day or a little too anxious at night, drinking one of these could help you clear your mind and feel at ease.
Try a 12-piece sampler for $50 and test out the peach ginger, blackberry chai, pomegranate hibiscus, black cherry, coconut lime and blood orange flavors.
Hey Well Energy + Focus
If you continuously finding yourself needing an afternoon pick-me-up, quit turning to your coffee maker and grab one of heywell’s Energy + Focus cans instead. The sparkling strawberry lemonade flavor will bring your taste buds back to life, while a mix of berry antioxidants, ashwagandha and organic caffeine will do the same for your brain.
Moment Botanical Water
Drink your meditation with this soothing botanical water. It’s formulated without caffeine or added sugars, and has a blend of adaptogens, fruits, spices and flowers that taste great, according to reviewers. For those moments where you can’t find tranquility on your own, this can will help get you there.
You can have your coffee (and adaptogens) and drink it, too. This energy-boosting superfood coffee drink is “the health and wellness version of an iced mocha” according to the brand. It has everything: monk fruit, cacao and chaga—a mushroom full of sustenance.
Nooma Energy Sports Drink
If you’re on the pre-workout train, you know how satisfying it can be to get a boost of energy and adrenaline in before a big workout. This organic alternative will give you the same feeling, minus any excess sugars. A mix of caffeine from coffee beans and electrolytes from coconut water pair up with adaptogens like ginseng and ashwagandha to create a mix of energizing and body-boosting ingredients that won’t leave you drained once the rush wears off.
Full Moon Dust Box
An assortment of flavors formulated to boost everything from your sex drive to your brain’s energy are packed into this six-pack of adaptogen mixes. To sip on these, all you have to do is combine the flavor packet with some water and use a shaker or blender to help it fully dissolve.