Adaptogens 101

by in Energy, Energy Nutrition, Healing, Tips and Tricks March 16, 2021

You’ve definitely heard this buzz word thrown around your gym, office or even if you follow any health and wellness experts. Adaptogens are so beneficial for health, vitality and wellbeing that it’s hard to ignore the growing number of types and iterations creeping into our health food stores and supermarkets. You’ve come to the right place to get acquainted with the latest superfoods, which actually have already been around for centuries. Taking out the marketing hype, adaptogens refers to a group of botanicals that provide balance in our bodies. As you may know by now, we need balance to support our health and activity levels. Balance means everything aligns, our organs function well, we adapt well to stress and situations that throw us off center. They are non-specific so they work on different systems and parts of our body to create balance, making them super smart and powerful in promoting and maintaining our health. Bonus, they’re non-toxic and totally natural so you can rest assured they are safe to take for longer periods of time without any adverse effects. You may be wondering if you need yet another superfood in your life. Are you a modern human? Then the answer is yes. These humble looking plants and herbs help increase our resistance to stress, anxiety and fatigue. Our bodies are constantly under stress, whether its chemical or biological. Stress is a serious epidemic, our schedules are more demanding, we’re constantly stimulated by notifications, alerts and noise. Our focus is diverted by social media, work, friends, news and global events. Adaptogens are super effective in helping us find our center, helping our bodies stay as healthy as possible throughout the fluctuations of modern life. There are more and more entering our consciousness and hitting our shelves so it’s important to highlight the holy grails of the adaptogen circuit before you get overwhelmed with all the info. Let’s dive in.

Our first notable adaptogen is Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is amazing because it rejuvenates, yet it’s not a stimulant, meaning it won’t tax the system or your adrenals the way caffeine does. It will however, give you a boost in your vigor, strength and vitality. Since its very strengthening at the same time it is calming, it’s amazing for alleviating stress which means it also helps a lot in improving sleep. You only need about a quarter of a teaspoon to reap the revitalizing and strengthening benefits. Add it to a smoothie with banana and cacao in the afternoon for a healthy, powerful pick me up that won’t have you counting sheep when it’s time to hit the hay. The afternoon is also a perfect time to incorporate ashwagandha as it’s a time when we may have lost some calm and balance from our morning routine and need to realign our energies. It does have a little bitter taste to it so make sure to pair with something sweet like banana, coconut nectar, honey or vanilla essence. We want to make adaptogens part of our life so increasing palatability is key!

Maca, grown in the Andes in South America is an amazing plant part of the broccoli family, and is known for vitality. Used for centuries by ancient tribes, maca has even been proven to help with hormonal balance in both women and men. Anecdotal evidence has led many to believe it helps with fertility and sexual energy when used as an aphrodisiac. It tastes nutty and almost malty so it definitely has been one of the more popular and widely available adaptogens on the market. Since it balances hormones it also boosts thyroid health and adrenal function, which are constantly under assault from daily stresses. If you’ve ever looked into maca you may be wondering what the deal is with all the different colors. Red, yellow and black maca have slightly different effects on the body, with yellow being the most common and a great choice as an all-rounder. Red is slightly less common but fantastic in particular at boosting women’s reproductive health, while black is super rare and shines in male reproductive health, boosting circulation and osteoporosis. Get your dose by mixing one teaspoon of your maca of choice into a chia pudding and adding in fresh vanilla bean, cinnamon and cacao. You can also try incorporating it in a smoothie like you would with ashwagandha.

Tulsi or Holy basil is a really important plant in ayurvedic medicine, and has made a name for itself internationally after proving its ability to reduce our natural sensitivity to stress. Tulsi has been found to reduce cortisol levels in the body, fight damaging free radicals and improve blood circulation. It’s so revered in Indian culture that it’s considered good energy to have a holy basil plant in your home. It’s easy to get the adaptogenic benefits of tulsi, just steep a bag of tulsi tea in hot water and drink up! Enjoy in the evening, while you sip, tulsi works to bring equilibrium to your physical body, emotional state and mental wellbeing, basically undoing all of the damage of the day!

If you’ve ever been to Asia, particularly the far east, you may have stumbled across ginseng. Put simply, it’s a tonic herb used for physical and mental rejuvenation and invigoration. It’s so effective in restoring well-being that it has become one of the most popular herbal remedies in the world today. No small claim. It’s been useful in helping boost the function of the spleen, kidney, lungs, and adrenal functions thanks to its active ingredient saponin triterpenoid glycosides. Lab experiments have proven the anti-inflammatory effects of ginseng thanks to its ginsenosides that target various levels of immunological activity. Totally relevant to today’s current events, ginseng has proven preventative effects on various strains of influenza. One study published by the Georgia State University found that red ginseng extract was found to improve the survival of human lung epithelial cells infected with influenza virus. If that’s not enough, red ginseng extract has been proven to reduce the expression of genes that cause inflammation, it basically acts as a natural antiviral. Enjoy the unique bittersweet taste in soups and teas.

We live in a time where it’s easy to inform ourselves and make smarter decisions for our health and wellbeing. The more we are in tune with nature and choosing these botanicals along with whole foods in our diet, the more we thrive in health. Each day we should strive to do our best to feed our bodies the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to achieve its highest potential. When you thrive in health, you vibrate energetically at a higher level and can get more out of every day.


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