Let's talk ADAPTOGENS!
Adaptogens are my favourite family of herbs because of their powerful capabilities. If you're unfamiliar with adaptogens, basically they're a class of plants used for their healing abilities to balance, restore and protect your body as a whole. I like to think of them as little miracles. They were granted their name because of their distinctive ability to adapt their function according to your body's need. An adaptogen doesn't have a specific action, nor does it target a particular body region. Instead, it benefits the body as a whole and can respond to any influence or stressor that it needs to. So amazing!
Under a variety of conditions, our bodies are incredibly resilient and adaptive. However, it cannot accomplish the demands of whatever happens to be thrown its way without proper nutrition and physiological support. Stress and even fatigue seem to be a massive struggle for most people. It can profoundly impact our mental health and quality of life. Chronically elevated cortisol levels can affect every system in the body, such as burnt out adrenal glands, overstressed digestive tract, rapid ageing, anxiety, cancer, chronic fatigue, common cold, hormone imbalance, irritable bowel disease, auto-immune disorders, thyroid conditions, and weight loss resistance.
For this reason, I always make sure to incorporate adaptogens into my diet every single day. These rejuvenating plants improve and recharge the health of our adrenal glands, counteracting the harmful effects of stress. Cells are accessed more energy and the ability to eliminate toxic byproducts to help the body use oxygen more efficiently. The more cellular energy we have, the more likely we can boost the adrenals and strengthen the ability to cope with stress, anxiety and fatigue.
When an adaptogen has completed its job, the herbs are eliminated/ absorbed into the body without any side effects. They work slowly and gently, so you must be patient because healing doesn’t happen overnight. However, with my experience over the years and witnessing changes within my clients, I can firmly say, the benefits are undeniable, and the effects are long-lasting.
Here are 7 of my favourite adaptogens.
Ashwagandha: The Soothing Adaptogen
The easer of anxiety, depression and sleep issues. It has immuno-modulating effects that boost the immune system and aid the body in lowering cortisol levels. Ashwagandha can balance hormones and reduce the impact of chronic stress and adrenal fatigue. These essential qualities make this herb super effective when it comes to supporting the adrenal glands.
How to Use Ashwagandha:
Blend a teaspoon into a smoothie or latte. This is the ashwagandha powder I use.
Astralagus: The Stress Buster
Astralagus increases the amount of anti-stress compounds our bodies use to prevent and repair stress-related damage. By reducing the ability of stress hormones like cortisol, astralagus boosts immunity and shields the body from the effects of stress.
How to Use Astralagus:
20-30 drops into your morning juice or smoothie. This is the Astralagus tincture I like.
Medicinal Mushrooms: The Immune Nourishers
Funguses with antioxidant properties include Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Lions Mane, Turkey Tail, Shiitake, and Maitake mushrooms. Each has adaptogenic, anti-tumour, and immune-enhancing properties.
How to Use Medicinal Mushrooms:
Add a scoop to your smoothies or add it to your coffee or latte. Four Sigmatic has a wide range of different mushroom blends - check it out here.
Holy Basil (Tulsi): The Vitalizer
Referred to as the "elixir of anti-ageing," holy basil helps fight fatigue and stress, boosts the immune system, and regulates blood sugar, blood pressure, and hormone levels.
How to Use Holy Basil (Tulsi):
In a warm cup of tea. This is the Holy Basil tea I use.
Ginseng: The Energizer
There are different types of ginseng. Panax, Siberian and Korean Red. Which ever one you choose, you can’t go wrong. This herb does it all, from increasing mood, decreasing stress, improving mental function, alleviating sexual dysfunction and boosting the immune system. It's also great for people who want an extra boost of energy without the jitters of caffeine.
How to Use Ginseng:
20-30 drops of ginseng to your morning juice or smoothie. Here you can find Korean Red and Siberian Tinctures.
Rhodiola: The Anti-Anxiety Adaptogen
Rhodiola contains a phytochemical called salidroside. This phytochemical is known to decrease anxiety and the effects of ageing. Other benefits include suppression of the production of cortisol, increased levels of stress-resistant proteins, restoration of normal patterns of eating and sleeping after stress, resistance to mental and physical fatigue, and protection against oxidative stress, heat stress, radiation and toxic chemicals. Additional research has shown this adaptogen can protect the heart and liver, increase the use of oxygen, improve memory and longevity, as well as aid in weight loss.
How to use Rhodiola:
Either powder or tincture form. Add a 20-30 drops into your morning juice or smoothie, or add a teaspoon of powdered rhodiola into a smoothie or latte. This is the Rhodiola tincture I use.
Maca: The Beauty Adaptogen
Maca is the ultimate beauty adaptogen. It's known for its powerful hormone-balancing properties, especially for promoting glowing skin. When our body undergoes stress (from lifestyle, chemicals, pharmaceutical medication, pesticides, etc.), it can often show up in our skin, causing acne, rashes, and swelling. Maca powder is a great way to help regulate your cortisol and in return, make you feel, and look, beautiful. It's packed with vitamin C to help support the immune system, and it's also great for sex drive, sustained energy and balancing female hormones.
How to use Maca:
Blend 1/2 tsp into your latte or smoothie. This is the Maca powder I use.
Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not designed to diagnose, treat or cure. We are all unique, for your individual health concerns, it is essential to discuss these with a Holistic Nutritionist or relevant health professional.
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