Every morning I wake up and add a scope of cordyceps to my cuppa joe or matcha latte. Then take an ashwaganda and rhodiola supplement with my smoothie. When I talk about my love for adaptogens on social media, I always get the “uhh what the h*ll is that?” message.
So, let’s just start from the beginning. What are adaptogens? Adaptogens are a unique class of Chinese herbs. They help balance, restore and protect the body. They help you respond to any influence or stressor making you adapt to stress and lower cortisol.
It’s easy to think of “stress” as an external situation- such as work, life, parenting, etc. However, stress hormones can be released when we exercise, don’t sleep well, aren’t maintaining proper diet, or fighting off illness. When you consume an adaptogen, it targets the area that has been negatively affected and works to return it back to its normal state. They literally adapt to whatever it is your body needs. CAN I GET AN AMEN?!
Now, these herbs are powerful and shouldn’t be taken in large quantities. Especially at the beginning. They are meant to take in about 1/2 tsp portions. They also need time to work so don’t expect phenomenal results on day 1 (they have to ADAPT).
Here are some popular adaptogens and what they are individually used for:
Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful Ayurvedic herbs known to help stress reduction, energy, concentration, and protecting the immune system. I take it in a capsule, but you can use the powder form in your smoothies or lattes. This herb is fat soluble so should be taken with a healthy fat in order to be absorbed properly.
This one is my favorite for energy. A lot of athletes take this herb cause it helps to enhance physical performance. It helps to boost oxygenation of the body and helps extend a workout and increase stamina. I recently started training for a half marathon so I put 1/2 tsp in my coffee every morning before my run or strength training workout. My run time has improved as well as my endurance.
<inserting a moment of silence for this one cause it’s my favorite>
This wonder herb helps with mental clarity, creativity, stamina, immune strength, weight balance, mood and focus. It also lowers anxiety. This is like the mothership of adaptogens. I take it in capsule form every morning. This one is stimulating so it shouldn’t be taken in the evenings.
He Shou Wu
This is your beauty adaptogen. Traditionally used for anti-aging, blood-building, beauty-enhancing and rejuvenation. It can boost the immune system, improve resistance to cold, improve stamina and nourish your endocrine and nervous systems. Great added to smoothies.
When you start taking adaptogens, PLEASE listen to your body! If you notice heart palpitations or feelings of discomfort, then that adaptogen is not for you. Chinese herbs are strong and powerful and, when taken appropriately, are wonderful for the human body.
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