As we approach the third summer since the beginning of CoVID-19’s international pandemic, feelings of fatigue and stress are very normal. What we once thought of as a seasonal disease has turned into a global wildfire that we simply have to wait to burn itself out. With no end of the pandemic in sight, the hope to return to normal has faded away for many people. While these three years have felt long, endurance in hard times is nothing humanity is unfamiliar with.
The reason that we are so successful as a species is wholly through our incredible ability to adapt. 10,000 years ago, when food became scarce and tribal warfare reigned, human beings adapted to grow our own food rather than hunting and gathering, allowing us to begin to specialize and develop tools and technology. Fast forward 11,000 years, we faced the Bubonic Plague–– The single most deadly pandemic seen in human history, killing an estimated 40% of the total population of Europe. Our adaptations, both in our technology and our immune system, have allowed us to survive. Our adaptations continue to carry us safely through the pandemic today, with technologies such as masks and air filters improving, and vaccines teaching our immune system how to identify and fight CoVID-19.
Adaptation is something seen across all of life. Some would even say that adaptation is the definition of life! In plants, every characteristic was specially developed by nature for a reason. Oak leaves fall off and change color in the fall due to the plant reabsorbing the chlorophyll in the leaves to prepare for the winter. Orchids have beautiful flowers to attract insects to their center to spread pollen. Coffee plants adapted caffeine to paralyze any bugs that try and eat them. Red sea kelp produces the red coloring to protect themselves from the harsh UV damage of the sun from sitting out in the open all day. Adaptations over time gave us all the beauty and diversity in all of life’s kingdoms!
Thanks to our intelligence, we can look out into nature and pick and choose adaptations we see as helpful for us and use them to our own benefit. Almost all modern medicines today are derived from compounds observed in nature. Penicillin is a remarkable adaptation by the Penicillium fungus to fight off competing bacteria. By isolating and refining this adaptation, we have learned to use it for ourselves, where now penicillin is regarded as one of the greatest discoveries of humankind! To continually improve our own lives, it is important to look to nature for more ways to adapt.
For thousands of years, plants known as “adaptogens” have been used for their wide range of positive effects on human well-being. The plant compounds found in adaptogens were developed to benefit the plant but can be harnessed by humans through supplementation. One such adaptogen, known as Rhodiola rosea, developed its powerful compounds by natively growing on mountaintops in northern Asia and Europe, subject to cold, aggressive conditions. Though the plant has been used for thousands of years in ancient medicine, only recently has the herb been under scientific scrutiny. It has been found that the compounds in this herb significantly increase energy levels, lower stress, and support the body’s ability to heal itself!
If the pandemic is overwhelming and you are having trouble adapting to the new normal, no problem! Try adding the adaptations in Rhodiola rosea in our Energy Kare to your life, to see if it helps you through these tough times!