Adaptogenic Teas & the Wellness Opportunity

(Photo by: Tirachard Kumtanom /

In this age of the novel coronavirus and a strong focus on wellness, adaptogenic teas are a welcome trend and an opportunity for tea businesses of all kinds, from product manufacturers to retailers. In fact, the industry is seeing more and more adaptogenic tea blends on the market as consumers seek natural substances to reduce stress, provide a sense of calm and reap a variety of health benefits.

Adaptogens are natural, botanical substances and include substances such as Tulsi Holy Basil, Ashwaganda, Rhodiola and Maca – or more common adaptogens such as Turmeric and Ginger. They balance, restore and protect the body from physical, biochemical and mental stress.

The strength of adaptogens is in their ability to produce what’s called a “non-specific” response. For example, if the stress your body encounters tends to spin you up, the adaptogenic response will help keep you grounded. Conversely, if the stressor brings the body down, the adaptogen’s effect would be to provide a lift.

Adaptogens work with many physiological systems in your body, with an emphasis on regulating the adrenal glands, which is where stress hormones are produced. This is the key to how they help reduce stress, maintain energy and reduce fatigue.

Although the term “adaptogens” has only been used for about 70 years, there’s a vast amount of research that’s been done on tea and many of the best known adaptogenic herbs, citing their many wellness benefits.

It's important to note that tea itself is an adaptogen. In fact, the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, is the single most consumed adaptogen on the planet. Tea is refreshing while being only mildly stimulating and can produce a state of well-being in the body and mind. L-theanine, an energizing amino acid found in tea can provide a balanced boost while promoting clarity and focus. Tea’s active ingredients are polyphenols. They’re both an antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory in their effects, serving as natural defense mechanisms, helping to mitigate the body’s stress response. The antioxidant capability in tea polyphenols makes it a first-line adaptogen, meaning it can help with immunity, thus preventing the body from even encountering an incoming stressor. It makes sense to combine tea with other adaptogenic herbs to help achieve a more targeted benefit for the desired response function. 

On the whole, tea works synergistically, improving the effects of other adaptogens. When used together, tea can support the function and beneficial effects of adaptogens in the sympathetic nervous system’s response to stress, thus enhancing balancing effects.

Turmeric herbal tea, for example, is a popular option that many are familiar with and that’s available everywhere right now – including grocery stores and trendy cafés. Ginseng is another common adaptogen that’s blended with tea. Look for Ginseng oolongs – a popular epicurean energy boost in China. Other beneficial adaptogens are routinely coupled with tea and tea beverage products.

If you’re looking to sell adaptogenic teas at your retail establishment, they’re available from almost every major tea company in North America. Look for “functional tea blends” or adaptogenic teas from companies like The Tea Spot, The Republic of Tea, Organic India and many other brands. There’s even an adaptogenic supplement powder from Four Sigmatic, which you can blend in your coffee, tea or smoothies any time of day. The Tea Spot also recently launched a Flu Figher adaptpgenic tea. And many tea companies offer wholesale, co-branded or private label opportunities and can help you develop your own apaptogenic tea blend. Overall, now’s the time to look into adaptogenic teas and wellness opportunity, if you haven't already.

Maria Uspenski is the founder and CEO of The Tea Spot, whose mission is to empower healthier living through the everyday enjoyment of whole leaf tea. The Colorado-based company's model of social entrepreneurship incorporates its mission to foster health and wellness through loose leaf tea with its 10% for Wellness program. Ten percent of all profits are donated in-kind to cancer and community wellness programs. Uspenski is also the author of Cancer Hates Tea, published by Page Street Books, and she was recognized as the “Top Tea Health Advocate” at the 2017 World Tea Conference + Expo. She is often featured as a social entrepreneur and certified tea and fitness nutrition expert, in addition to be a sought-after speaker on tea and wellness. To learn more about The Tea Spot, visit Wholesale, OEM/private label, corporate gifting and co-branding options are available to organizations and brands, including grocers, specialty and health and wellness retailers, hotels and spas, among others.