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What are adaptogens?


Lemon balm plant

When we are asked about HAELU, we describe it as 'grown-up, non-alcoholic drinks, packed with adaptogens, botanicals, vitamins & minerals, for feel good vibes, without the guilt'. The most common questions we are then asked are: 'What is an adaptogen?' and 'What are the benefits of adaptogens?'



So, what is an adaptogen?

In simple terms, adaptogens are non-toxic, edible plant substances, mostly herbs and fungi, that help our bodies 'adapt' to internal and external stressors.


They can:

  • stabilise mood

  • reduce fatigue

  • improve performance and focus.


These herbs, roots and fungi can help calm the following areas: the hypothalamus (a small region in your brain), the pituitary gland (located at the base of your brain), and your adrenal glands (found at the top of your kidneys, they produce the hormone cortisol).

When we ingest adaptogens, the work with the body to help balance our systems. An example of this would be if you were stressed, and producing too much of the stress hormone, cortisol, adaptogens can assist in balancing this. Similarly, if you were tired and lacking in energy, adaptogens can also give you a boost!

Adaptogens have been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine,. Due to a growth in popularity in recent years, many scientific reports are now able to demonstrate the super powers of these plants.


What are the benefits of adaptogens?

While each adaptogen has its own benefits, the most common benefits are:


  • Reduction of stress.

  • Promotion of an overall feeling of wellbeing.

  • Increased energy.

  • Improved focus and memory.

  • Reduction of fatigue.

  • Reduction of inflammation.

  • Regulation of hormonal balance.

There are more than 70 plants and herbs that fall into the adaptogen category, some which you have probably tasted/eaten without knowing - turmeric in your curry, or ginseng in your tea?

We have been really lucky to work with Kristy Cimesa from Infusion Labs, our Herbologist guru, who helped us create HAELU. Kristy has been our educator in the field of adaptogens helping us choose which ones would work best in HAELU, and replicate the feelings associated with drinking alcohol.


These are our favourites, and have been added to every HAELU to ensure your feel good vibes, without alcohol!


1. Ashwagandha

This small evergreen shrub grows in India, the Middle East and parts of Africa. Its root and berry are used to make medicine, and have been included in Ayurvedic medicine for over 3000 years.

ashwagandha plant, adaptogen in non-alcoholic drink

Ashwagandha is renowned for its ability to:

  • Improve brain function

  • Improve reaction time

  • In Ayurveda, it's also said to slow the ageing process and aid sleep patterns.

Kristy has been using Ashwagandha in her well being formulas for her clients for over 20 years. She says 'Ashwagandha has been added to both Salerno Spritz and Havana Heat as part of our HAELU Happi formula. It is an integral part of the blend to aid relaxation and sociability',


2. Lemon Balm

A perennial herb from the mint family, the lemon balm leaves have a mild lemon aroma. Traditionally known as a 'calmer', Lemon Balm naturally increases your GABA levels. This has a positive effect on your overall mood, including reducing anxiety. Kristy regularly uses it to help treat anxiety and nervous tension.


Lemon Balm also contains rosmarinic acid, which has an antidepressant effect on the brain, boosting mood, and aiding sleep.

Lemon Balm is a central part of our HAELU mix, promoting a chilled non-alcoholic night out, followed by a great nights sleep!


3. L-Theanine

This naturally occurring amino acid is found in tea leaves and some mushrooms.


It is known for its ability to:

  • help you feel relaxed and calm, but without causing drowsiness.

  • aid relaxation by stimulating the production of dopamine and serotonin.

  • reduce the production of stress and anxiety causing hormones.

  • trigger alpha waves, which promote creativity, focus and relaxation.


4. 5-HTP

5-HTP is produced naturally by the body, and also comes from the seeds of an African plant, Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP boosts serotonin levels in the brain, helping you feel calmer and more at ease. It is also said to have a positive effect on sleep and pain sensation.



Research into the benefits of Adaptogens

Adaptogens have been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, although the term 'adaptogen' was not used until the 1940s. As science develops, and people continue to recognise the natural benefits of herbs & roots, more and more scientific research is being conducted into the confirmed benefits of adaptogens. Modern medicine is starting to back up ancient medicine. As they are so complex, there is still a lot to uncover regarding new benefits. At HAELU we are constantly reviewing the scientifically confirmed benefits of our added adaptogens, and researching new ones to add. Making sure that your non-alcoholic drinks and cocktails give you a boost and help you to relax!






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