5 Herbs for Adrenal Health

by: Amber Klampferer, ND

The adrenal glands are two glands that sit on top of the kidneys. The adrenal glands help to regulate stress, among a variety of other important functions. While stress can be a healthy response to certain acute stimuli, it can be detrimental when experienced in the long term.

Two classes of herbs are beneficial to address chronic stress; adaptogens and nervines. Adaptogens are “substances that increase a state of ‘nonspecific resistance’ against multiple stressors.”(1) Essentially, adaptogens help the body to remain in a state of balance via a variety of nonspecific ways. Nervines on the other hand, generally help support and nourish the nervous system. Generally, nervines exert more of a sedating action while adaptogens may be more stimulating in nature.

5 Herbs for Adrenal Health

  1. Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis): Schisandra is also known as the “five-flavor berry,” as it is said to contain all flavors, including sweet, sour, salty, unami, and bitter. This adaptogenic herb helps to regulate a variety of organ systems, including the GI tract as well as the immune, cardiovascular, immune, nervous, and respiratory systems.(1)

  2. Milky oats (Avena sativa): This nervine is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and calcium, which help to nourish the nervous system. They are indicated for stress as well as for nervous system weakness or exhaustion associated with depression.(2)

  3. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): The name Ashwagandha translates to “the smell and strength of a horse,” as it can improve strength, (male) fertility, and vitality. In clinical studies, this adaptogen has been shown to be beneficial for heart health, promoting longevity, diabetes, pain relief, and brain function among other benefits.(1)

  4. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): A part of the mint family, this nervine’s Latin name Melissa means honeybee, as it was used historically to attract bees. Medicinally, this plant can be beneficial as a mild antidepressant, for anxiety, and to increase the brain’s resistance to stress.(3)

  5. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): This adaptogenic root has been used medicinally for centuries in the Middle East and China. Its Latin name translates to “sweet root,” which accurately describes the flavor of this herb. Licorice possesses a variety of medicinal properties, including but not limited to being anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antioxidant, immune-modulating, and hepatoprotective.(1)

Working with a Naturopathic doctor can help determine whether you might benefit from any of these herbs. To learn more click the link in our bio to schedule a FREE 15-minute call with one of our experts to discuss your concerns.

*Remember to consult a qualified healthcare provider before starting any form of medication, including herbs.


  1. Ayales A. Ritual Wellness Adaptogens: Herbs for Longevity and Everyday Wellness. Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. 2019.

  2. Hoffman, D. Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press. 2003.

  3. Marciano M. Melissa officinalis. TheNaturopathicHerbalist.com. Accessed April 29, 2022. https://thenaturopathicherbalist.com/2015/09/13/melissa-officinalis/.

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