9 Adaptogenic Herbs You Should Know About + Adaptogenic Latte Recipe
You’ve probably heard of adaptogens before, but what are they? Adaptogens are herbs (and some mushrooms) that support the body’s ability to accommodate varying physical and emotional stresses. They literally help the body to adapt, adjust and recalibrate itself depending on our emotional and physical surroundings. So, for example, they can help calm in times of stress. They can bring peace to a racing mind in the middle of the night. They can give clarity when everything around is in turmoil. They can give energy when we are tired.
When humans were evolving, our stress hormones were released when we had interactions with wild animals, had to quickly move out of our home ranges, or had to fight to stay alive. Our stressors today are different from our ancestors in that they are not physical nor are they tied to survival. We are more chronically stressed by environmental toxins, unhealthy food, jobs, relationships, noise, technology, grief, and lack of sleep, leading to deep emotional stress that is constant. With prolonged stress, you can have all kinds of adrenal dysfunction and disease.
Thus, adaptogenic herbs are used to support one’s energy and better handle stress by helping to modify and regulate hormone production and flow. Adaptogens modulate the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands and - as biological response modifiers (BRMs) - also help to restore the body’s innate immune function.
By regulating our response to stress and replenishing our deeper immunity, adaptogens help to:
Improve overall well-being
Regulate the hormonal balance
Optimize organ function
Reduce stress response
Improve blood sugar levels
Reduce inflammatory cortisol levels
Improve cholesterol ratios
Types of Adaptogens
There are MANY different types of adaptogens so I will go over nine of the most common (I’ll talk about medicinal mushrooms in another post) and their potential benefits.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Reduces stress and anxiety
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus): Combats fatigue, boosts immune system
Eluethero root (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Improves focus and staves off mental fatigue
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Reduces stress
Maca (Lepidium meyenii): Boosts energy and mood, enhances sex drive, supports healthy libido and women’s reproductive function, balances hormone levels
Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea): Staves off physical and mental fatigue
Schisandra berry/Magnolia berry (Schisandra chinensis): Boosts endurance, mental performance, and working capacity
Tulsi/Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum): Reduces physical and mental stress, stress-related anxiety, and depression
Turmeric (Curcuma longa): Boosts brain function and reduces depression, reduces inflammation
A Word of Caution
For those with autoimmune diseases or who are immune-compromised, these herbs are not recommended as many of them have immune-stimulating properties that can throw the immune system out of balance. It is best to speak with your doctor and/or holistic health care provider before beginning to take any supplement or herb.
How to Use Adaptogens
Adaptogens can be taken in many forms - pills, powders, teas, tinctures, salves, and capsules. Sipping adaptogenic teas or combine tinctures with water are an easy way to ingest the herbs. You can also buy them in powder form to spice up everything from smoothies and soups to oatmeal and broths. Capsules are also available if you’re looking for a therapeutic dose.
If you’re looking for an easy way to bring adaptogens into your life, here’s a great adaptogenic turmeric latte (it also has medicinal mushrooms for extra benefits).
Adaptogenic Turmeric Latte
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
What You’ll Need
½ tsp. fresh turmeric, chopped OR 1 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. fresh ginger, chopped OR 1 tsp. ground ginger
10 oz. dairy-free milk milk of choice (I like this coconut milk - use 4oz. coconut milk + 6 oz. filtered water)
½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 scoops Vital Proteins collagen peptides
1 tsp. maca powder
⅓ tsp. lion’s mane mushroom powder
⅓ tsp. chaga mushroom powder
1 tsp. MCT oil
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. honey (optional)
Blend all ingredients together in Vitamix or high-powered blender until hot. Alternatively, simmer all ingredients on low heat in a small saucepan until hot. Or mix all ingredients together and use the frother on an espresso machine! You can also blend lightly and pour over ice for an iced latte.
Looking to add an herbal regimen to balance the stress in your daily life? I can help with that. Click here to schedule your FREE Learn to Thrive Discovery Session!
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