As busy women caring for others, we often feel stretched to our limits by stress. Changing seasons and fluctuating weather conditions can take a further toll on our bodies.
What if I told you there was something easy and quick that you could take to support your system?
Well, it’s true, and they’re called adaptogens.
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are plants, including some herbs and mushrooms, that do just what they say. They help your body adapt to stress and changing conditions by supporting the production of stress-related neurotransmitters and hormones. These herbs are known for improving vitality, longevity, and energy. In addition to being antistress, adaptogens have some impressive side benefits (depending on the herb):
- Improved brain function
- Better thyroid health
- Increased fertility and libido
- Improved immune system function
- Decreased inflammation and pain
- Enhanced liver detoxification
While all adaptogens improve energy, they fall into two categories: stimulating and calming. .
What Do I Do with the Adaptogens?
If you have no idea what these herbs are or how to use them, you’re not alone. But, fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are three easy ways to use adaptogens — and it takes only minutes of your time.
- Herb tea
- Medicinal mushrooms
Let’s consider each one.
You may not have even realized that teas were our first medicines. In the pioneer days before modern medicine, in addition to growing fresh food for the table, every woman had a medicine garden filled with herbs that she used to care for her family. Women passed down their remedies to the next generation.
I grow many medicinal herbs in my own garden, including the adaptogen holy basil. I can testify that it makes a very delicious, healthy tea.
We don’t, however, have to grow herbs to enjoy them. We can find them online or in the grocery store or health food store in the tea section. Here’s one example from the excellent Traditional Medicinals line of teas. This one is called Warming Vanilla, and it features Eleuthera as the main adaptogen player. In their lineup they also offer several other adaptogen teas including Organic Reishi Mushroom with Rooibos and Orange Peel tea, Organic Licorice Root tea, and Organic Tulsi and Ginger tea.
Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts in an alcohol base. These are stronger than a cup of tea; consequently, you only need a dropperful added to 2 ounces or more of water or tea. Look for these in a health food store or online. Here’s an example of one from Herb Pharm.
Medicinal mushrooms help improve your immune function. They include reishi, maitake, shiitake, turkey tail, cordyceps, and chaga, just to name a few. Some medicinal mushrooms can be eaten simply by cooking them, such as oyster, shiittake, lion’s mane, and maitake. Other mushrooms like turkey tail and reishi are too tough and bitter to be eaten cooked and need to be consumed as a tea, soup, powder, or tincture. Often grocery stores will carry a display of dried medicinal mushrooms in the produce department.
Along with the regular button and portobellos, health food stores usually have at least a few fresh medicinal mushrooms including shiitake and oyster. If not, try them in a form as suggested above. I’ve included an example of chaga available from Amazon.
How I Use Adaptogens
- Last year I found chaga tea “granules” at a farmers market in Naples, Florida. These are versatile because you can brew them with coffee, add them to hot water for tea, or, as I do, add them to other herbal teas as they are steeping.
- I also frequently purchase shiitake mushrooms at Whole Foods and sauté them for a few minutes in olive oil or butter and then serve them with scrambled eggs. Delicious!
- I take different tinctures including lemon balm, thyme, and holy basil. I alternate them, depending on if I’m using them for stress or for sickness. I’ve made mine from plants in my garden but also buy tinctures too.
- I drink quite a bit of herb tea. Truth be told, I have a cabinet filled with loose and boxed teas, many purchased and some fresh or dried from my garden. I drink it every day.
What Will You Try?
As with anything, if this is all new to you, just choose one adaptogen to take in the form that will be easiest for you. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying too many things at once. I’d love to hear what your choice is, or if you already take an adaptogen, let me know which one and any suggestions you have on how to use it.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product, I may earn a small amount of compensation from that purchase. Thank you for supporting our ministry. As always, this post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Consult your doctor before adding any natural herbs or supplements to your diet.
I used the book Body into Balance by Maria Noel Groves as a resource while writing this post.