Natural healers

What are Adaptogens?

Find out what adaptogens do and which ones work best.


Adaptogens are natural bioregulators found in plants and herbs and they help the body resist physical, chemical and biological stressors. These stressors cause damage to our bodies’ digestive and immune systems and, in the case of acne, hamper wound healing. Adaptogens can help boost your body’s natural defence system.

According to the primary definition of adaptogens, these substances must meet three criteria: 

  1. adaptogens must be non-specific and must assist the human body in resisting a wide range of adverse conditions, such as physical, chemical or biological stress. These may include environmental pollution, climate change, radiation, infectious diseases, and interpersonal disharmony. 
  2. adaptogens must maintain homeostasis in humans, that is, these substances can offset or resist physical disorders caused by external stress. 
  3. adaptogens must not harm the normal functions of the human body.

Which adaptogens are often found in skin care products?

Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng)

The ashwagandha plant has many benefits such as lowering oil-spiking cortisol levels. It also works as an effective spot treatment as it’s antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and reduces inflammation.

Gastrodia Elata Root Extract 

This traditional asian root from the orchid family has potent antioxidant properties. An anti-wrinkle ingredient, it slows the signs of skin aging and helps reduce the visibility of any discoloration due to sun damage. 

Glycyrrhiza Uralensis (Licorice) Root Extract 

This anti-inflammatory and overall skin improver helps  brighten and tone skin. Licorice root is packed with potent antioxidants that overpower harmful free radicals. One of its compounds, Glabridin, helps reduce inflammation and even discoloration. In the case of acne, its licochalcone concentration helps regulate the sebaceous (oil producing) gland.

Indian Gooseberry (Amla)

Gooseberries are known to promote liver health, decrease inflammation and reduce cholesterol levels. Extracts from this fruit have also been found to increase collagen production and speed up wound healing. 


Lycium Chinese Fruit Extract 

Also known as Goji Berry or Chinese Wolfberry, this powerful antioxidant softens and conditions skin, helping to reduce the signs of ageing. As with all adaptogens, it helps defend the skin against environmental damage.

Maca (Peruvian Ginseng)

This South American adaptogen is known to calm the mind, boost stamina, and increase sex drive. It’s also a proven hormone regulator, making it a powerful ally for acne sufferers. Containing high doses of vitamin C, it has protective properties, particular with regards to UV rays. 

Paeonia Suffruticosa Root Extract 

Alternative names are Cortex Moutan or Mountain Peony, this rich source of antioxidants has a cooling effect on skin while reducing the appearance of redness. It moisturizes and brightens, reviving dull ageing skin. 

Panax Ginseng Root Extract  

Considered the ultimate adaptogen, Korean ginseng or true ginseng helps boost moisture in the skin, improve blood circulation and prevent the development of line and wrinkles. 

Panax Notoginseng Root Extract (Sanchi Ginseng)   

Sanchi ginseng contains protective qualities that help your body adapt to its environment. It is an adaptogenic skin conditioner and antioxidant that improves blood circulation, re-balances hyperpigmentation and counteracts the signs of stress that contribute to degeneration of the skin. 


Poria Cocos Extract 

Derived from the Fu-ling mushroom, this soothing, antioxidant-rich extract promotes blood circulation and boosts the skin’s ability to hold water thereby improving skin elasticity and creating a plumping effect. 


Rhodiola rosea (Arctic Root/Golden Root)

Known to help manage stress, fight fatigue, stimulate skin, and support circulation and cell turnover. With its high concentration of antioxidant polyphenols and proanthocyanidins, this adaptogen provides added oxidative protection, fighting off premature aging.

Salvia Miltiorrhiza Root Extract  

Also known as Red Sage, this natural anti-inflammatory calms and soothes sensitive skin conditions. As well as strengthening the skin barrier, it reduces the appearance of ageing.


At a molecular level this vine plant’s berry extracts target two chemical processes linked to skin healthy aging: collagen XVII and ladinin-1. 

Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract  

Scutellaria Baicalensis, or “golden herb”, soothes sensitive and acne-prone skin while reducing redness. It also protects the skin against any environmental stressors that may cause discomfort or premature ageing. 


This herbal concoction contains three fruits that are native to India: bibhitaki, amalaki, and haritaki. Together they are known for their anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Triphala has been found to have skin protecting effects – both at surface level and within the dermal layer – helping it recover from injury and even boosting collagen production.

Clinical results with the Hi-Function Foundation

The adaptogens in the Hi-Function foundation are proven to improve the appearance of skin by 10%. Discover how the adaptogens work together with niacinamide in the formulation.