ADAPTOGENS 101


WHAT ARE ADAPTOGENS?



Adaptogens are plants and roots. Generally by the time these plants have gotten to us they are dried and/or ground into a powder.

Adaptogens are called adaptogens because they have compounds in them that help our bodies adapt to stress; which is pretty cool, right?! Adaptogens have a direct effect on our adrenal glands, an integral part of our endocrine system. These powerhouses act on our stress hormones, which means they can help our  epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline/noradrenaline), cortisol, and dopamine responses, which in the long run can help prevent burnout and adrenal fatigue.

These adaptogenic herbs can also help us focus, supercharge us with energy, and can even help balance our hormones. These plants are pretty much superheroes, just sayin’!


HOW CAN WE USE THESE SUPERHERO PLANTS IN OUR DAILY LIVES?


Adaptogenic herbs are super simple to incorporate into our very busy lives.

We can add the powdered forms of these herbs to our morning smoothies. You can bake with adaptogens. One type of adaptogen is derived from mushrooms, with these you can make mushroom coffee. You can also add adaptogenic herbs into elixirs. You can even supplement with various adaptogens, as most are available as tablets.


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POPULAR ADAPTOGENS


MACA POWDER:

  • This particular adaptogen is amazing for balancing wrecked hormones
  • I add maca into just about everything from turmeric lattes to pancake batter
  • There are 3 different types of maca root!
    • Red
    • Yellow
    • Black
  • I love to use a blend of all three types
  • You may see gelatinized maca root and plain old regular maca – gelatinized maca is more bioavailable, which means your body will be able to absorb more of the nutrients from it
  • Maca tastes like roasted marshmallows (amazing, right?!)

MUSHROOMS

  • These are not the ‘shrooms that you may have heard of in the past, these mushrooms are LOADED with amazing adaptogenic properties
  • There are a bunch of different types and they all have different effects
    • Cordyceps: are an incredible mushroom that helps with energy. This mushroom is great for pre-workout. Add it to a smoothie or find a brand that makes cordyceps into a powder that you can brew up hot or cold!
    • Reishi: is an incredible mushroom known for its relaxation benefits. This mushroom is great for calming down the nervous system in stressful situations and is also great as an evening elixir, to wind down after a long day and before bed!
    • Lion’s Mane: is incredible for focus. Topher, my boyfriend adds lion’s mane to his bulletproof coffee in the morning and he finds it improves his focus and concentration so much! People feel sharper, have improved memory, and overall brain function on Lion’s Mane.
  • There are a couple things to make note of, for mushrooms, if you suffer from IBS, Hashimotos, Crohn’s Disease, or rheumatoid arthritis certain mushrooms (reishi, shiitake, maitake) may stimulate your stress axis and exacerbate these issues

ASHWAGANDHA:

  • Known as “strength of the stallion”, anciently it’s been used after illness to promote healing of the immune system.
  • Research is now showing that ashwagandha can be used for a number of stress related imbalances in the body including:
    • adrenal fatigue
    • improving thyroid function (boosting your immune system)
    • increasing energy and stamina
    • stabilizing blood sugar levels

Another example of a superhero plant!

TULSI/HOLY BASIL:

  • A plant grown in tropical climates around the globe. It is commonly brewed as a tea and drunk hot or cold.
  • You can also supplement Tulsi as a capsule or find it as an essential oil. Tulsi is also known as holy basil, and has so many therapeutic uses including:
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Balancing blood sugar
  • Balancing hormones
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Overall organ help

Tulsi has a lemony taste to it and is delicious as an iced tea! You can absolutely use tulsi as a preventative herb to supplement to help your body adapt to stressful situations, just like all adaptogens!


WHO SHOULD USE ADAPTOGENS?


  • Anyone who experiences anxiety
  • Anyone who deals with stress on a regular basis
  • Anyone who has sleep issues
  • Anyone who has low energy
  • Anyone who experiences low libido
  • Anyone who forgets things easily
  • Anyone who experiences menstrual irregularities or PMS symptoms

 

Please note that some adaptogens may interact with medications. Please consult with your natural health care practitioner before integrating adaptogens into your health regime.

 

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