Tea & Coffee Trade Journal - Adaptogenic Teas and the Wellness Market

By Maria Uspenski for Tea & Coffee Trade Journal 


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 retailers to beverage manufacturers. In fact, the industry is seeing 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 Tulsi Holy Basil, ashwagandha, rhodiola and maca – or more common adaptogens such as turmeric and ginger – plus many more. 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 adaptogenic herbs, citing their many wellness benefits. And the market for adaptogenic teas is only growing. In fact, a recent study from Transparency Market Research, based in Albany, New York, says the overall adaptogens market is expected to be USD $10.3 billion by 2020 and estimated to be $23.4 billion by 2030.

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, a balancing amino acid found in tea, can provide a measured 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 Republic of Tea, Organic India and many other brands. There’s even an adaptogenic supplement powder from Four Sigmatic, which can be blended in coffee, tea or smoothies any time of day. The Tea Spot also launched a Flu Fighter with astragalus, honeysuckle, licorice, orange peel, tangerine peel, mulberry leaf, dandelion, red root and ginger, as well as Adaptogenic Chai with roasted dandelion root, chaga mushroom, ashwagandha, rhodiola, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, slippery elm, cascara shells, ginger, raw cacao nibs, cloves and maca; both of which are caffeine-free adaptogenic blends.

Many tea companies offer wholesale opportunities with adaptogenic teas, or co-branded and private label options. Overall, now’s the time to look into adaptogenic teas and the wellness market.

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