Ladies and gentlemen, I did it. It started with a simple google search “what is Ashwagandha?” The next thing I know, I’d fallen down the rabbit hole and had 6 adaptogens in my cart, I was sucked in eager to try everything. What started this new obsession?
It’s no secret, I am not a coffee person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell, I love the idea of coffee – the ritual of making it – but I do not have the palate for it. I only really started drinking coffee a few years ago, and I realized, I was only drinking it because I enjoy drinking the copious amounts of cream that I was putting in my cup. I LOVE dairy, it just doesn’t love me back. So I went back to my old roots: tea.
I love tea for the same reason I enjoy the idea of coffee. I love the ritual of it: boiling the water, waiting for it to steep . . . I am not a major caffeine junky, but like everyone else, I need a little kick in the morning and my dandelion tea, while great for detoxing the kidneys and liver, isn’t going to add any pep to my step.
As a result, I have been searching for an alternative. Something that will provide health benefits, while increasing my energy and doesn’t tempt me to add heaps of sugar and 1/2 a cup of cream. After falling down a deep internet rabbit hole (hours and hours of research) I stumbled upon an article on adaptogenic herbs. The hook, line, and sinker was that they labeled it as a “potion”. I am such a sucker for magical marketing and once I read that, I knew I had to find out what all the fuss was about.
What are adaptogenic herbs? Ginseng, aloe vera, and rosemary are well-known adaptogens. Adaptogens are natural substances that work with your body and help it adapt to stress. They help you deal with stress and fatigue by working to regulate important hormones. Depending on the adaptogen they can:
- Offer a boost for the immune system
- Support for managing a healthy weight
- Increased physical endurance and mental focus
- Reduction in discomfort caused by poor health
- Encouraging a balanced mood
How do they work? The chemicals that adaptogens contain help to normalize adrenal fatigue. If you’ve taken a yoga class, then you’ve probably heard a lot about adrenal function. Adaptogens calm and nourish and support the adrenal glands and support the processes that are controlled by adrenals: from blood sugar and immune system regulation to hormones and blood pressure. It is important to keep in mind that, while you are going to get an immediate “boost”, the real benefits come from long-term, consistent use.
Think of it this way, stress is a hormonal reaction, if you are stressed out most of the day, it’s going to throw your hormones out of balance and that can affect everything from your digestive system, your mental well-being, and your energy levels. If you know you’re going to encounter stress throughout the day, arm yourself with some adaptogens to counter the stressors.
Now that we have that out of the way, I have found that drinking my morning “potion” does help provide a boost of energy and I handle things like traffic, and annoying emails in a much calmer, composed way.
These are the herbs I take on a daily basis:
- Ashwagandha: Benefits brain health. Protects the brain from degeneration and improves symptoms of Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety.
- Reishi: Helps the immune system, treats anxiety, high blood pressure, hepatitis, bronchitis, insomnia, and asthma
- Cordyceps: Improves respiratory health, increases oxygen uptake, boosts heart health, detoxifies the body, slows the aging process, increases energy, and improves the immune system.
- Mucuna Puriens: Supports a healthy central & peripheral nervous system, helps the body’s ability to handle stress. Is a natural source of levodopa (L-dopa)*. Improves energy and endurance.
Keep in mind, these herbs do NOT taste good. They are earthy and can be strong, so it took some trial and error to find a recipe that I actually enjoyed drinking. Lucky for you, I will save you from the bitter taste tests and provide you my recipe:
My Adaptogen Potion (Or my chai recipe with Adaptogens)
- ½ teaspoon ashwagandha
- ½ teaspoon cordyceps
- ½ teaspoon mucuna puriens
- ½ teaspoon reishi
- ½ teaspoon collagen
- 2 servings of chai: I use Blue Lotus
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla (vanilla powder works too)
- 1 date, pitted
- splash of almond milk
Boil some water, enough for a cup, add all of the above to a blender and blend until smooth and frothy. Drink slowly.
I am not a doctor, nor am I an herbalist or a nutritionist. Please speak with a doctor before incorporating any adaptogens into your diet. Most of my adaptogens are from Sun Potion, I got the reishi and collagen from Thrive Market.
There it is, do some research, find what you think will work for you. There are so many ways to consume adaptogens, you can take them in pill form, or add them to soups, you can make a matcha latte with them. The possibilities are endless. If you try my recipe above, let me know what you think!