Adaptogens seem to be becoming trendy.
Ayurveda practices are becoming more well-known with the increases in yoga classes and the boom of the importance of wellness! This is such a good thing! However, you need to know your body and your needs to make sure you are practicing medicine in a healthy way.
Ayurvedic medicine uses adaptogens in its practice as part of the naturally derived and holistic approach.
*If you are already confused and have no idea what Ayurveda even is, click here for a run down.*
As much as I love these new trends and am a believer in holistic medicine, you also should be knowledgable about what you start incorporating into your diet.
Let's get started.
What is an adaptogen?
Adaptogens are herbs and/or plants that help support bodily functions. They are often used in holistic and herbal medicine.
Why use adaptogens?
Adaptogens allow the body to adapt to stress and the physical environment around them. This in turn balances out your hormones.
We all deal with stress from time to time, some more than others. By using adptogens throughout your daily routines, they can speed up the reaction time of your adrenals and quickly lower the symptoms of stress.
*Adrenals are hormone producing glands that balance out essential functions of the human body (stress, metabolism, etc).
Are adptogens healthy?
In short, yes. They are safe to use, too.
However, you need to be aware of your body’s needs. Too much of one adaptogen can result in possible side affects, such as migraines. It is important to research the properties of the adaptogen you are trying to incorporate into your diet.
Some may affect you differently than others, and it is good to talk with your physician before consuming any.
Benefits of Adaptogens:
-increased energy levels
-reducing stress and anxiety
-promoting strong hair and nails
-increased sex drive
-lowering blood sugar levels
-may help in fighting cancer
5 Basic Adaptogens to begin with:
-Tulsi (Holy Basil) :
Promotes healthy digestion, decreases bloating, and helps with memory loss.
My favorite way to incorporate Tulsi is in tea form. Organic India has many tulsi teas of different flavors that are relaxing to drink throughout the day.
*pictured= Organic India's Tulsi Sweet Rose*
Helps reduce stress and anxiety levels, balances out the hormones and improves the immune system.
I enjoy ashwagandha the most before bed in a moon milk or tonic (or try out my hot chocolate recipe listed below). Although it aids in stress relief, it does tend to make you feel tired, therefore promoting a great night sleep.
*Mucuna Pruriens is originated from a bean and claims to help with depression. I was really curious about this one and looked further in to it. It seems that with too much it may cause severe headaches, so I still need to consult with my doctor, and once I find out more I will update this post.
As for now, ashwagandha will be my go to anxiety relief. **Sun Potion offers both products.
*RECIPE FOR ASHWAGANDHA CINNAMON HOT CHOCOLATE*
-1 cup hot water or milk
-1 tsp cinnamon powder
-1 tbsp pure cocoa powder
-1 capsule or 1 tsp of ashwagandha powder
-sweetener of choice is optional
-mix together and enjoy!
Maca improves decreased sex drive, is full of vitamin C to aid in immunity, balances estrogen levels, and gives you sustainable energy levels.
Maca can be found by the root, in capsules, powdered, and tinctures/extracts. Look for maca at local health food stores.
*Ginseng also helps increase energy levels, so test out which one works better with your body and needs.
*RECIPE FOR MACA MATCHA ICED LATTE*
-3 tbsp of Matcha powder
-1 tbsp collagen powder
-1 tsp maca powder
-1 tsp coconut manna (optional)
-1 cup of warm nondairy milk (never boil the liquid with matcha!)
-sweetener of choice
-blend together then place in fridge to cool
-add ice, stir, and enjoy!
Helps to build up muscle mass and stamina, includes anti-aging properties, and are full of antioxidants.
Cordyceps can be taken in pill form or powder form. The powdered cordyceps can be put into coffee, teas, shakes, smoothies, etc.
Real Mushrooms or Four Sigmatic are great places to search for your mushroom derived adaptogens. I carry packets of Four Sigmatic's cordyceps coffee on my travels with me.
*RECIPE FOR ADAPTOGEN PROTEIN SNACK*
-3 tbsp hemp protein powder
-1 tsp lion's mane powder
-2 tbsp raw almond butter
-1/2-1 cup of nondairy milk
-optional: flax, chia, or hemp seeds, dark chocolate pieces, and/or berries!
The main properties of Lion’s mane focus on limiting anxiety and depression, boosting the immune system and building brain tissues. Lion’s Mane is one of the main mushroom adaptogens.
*Reishi seems to be best for lowering blood sugar levels.
*Chaga is full of antioxidants, but Lion’s mane is my overall mushroom favorite.
*The Lion's Mane pictured is from Sun Potion.*
(just mixing 1 tsp into coffee)
There are numerous adaptogens, and frankly I haven’t even tried them all. Since this post is about introducing adaptogens to you, these 5 will get you started!
I listed my favorite ones and the ones I found to be the most helpful for me. Like I said earlier, everyone reacts differently to each. Start with small doses, and one at a time so that you know how it affects you.
Just to name a few others:
Pearl, Astragalus, Bilberry, Elderberry, Rhodeola Rosea, Licorice Root, Gotu Kola, Moringa, Pine Pollen, He Shou Wu, Chlorella, and Triphala.
I cannot wait to journey through adaptogens and their beneficial properties! Be safe, but experiment with what works best for you! I'm here if you have any questions!