I get by with a little help from my friends
Where would I be without my adaptogens? It's not even pretty! I discovered adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms several years ago when I started to dive deeper into nutrition and holistic living, and they're now such a big part of my daily routines.
I'm sure you've heard of them somewhere. They're trending to the degree that they're now even found in Sephora... how cool is that?! This is also a topic that can leave you scratching your head with where to start.
Adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms aren't going to take you on a wild trip... well, not THAT kind of trip. We're talking subtle helping friends for stress, energy, brain power, you name it! They basically help your body ADAPT to situations and handle life with grace and ease! This category of supplements has been around for centuries in most cases, used as old-school medicine before there were pills and pharmacies. Rooted (literally) from around the globe, various adaptogens can be added to your morning and/or evening routine to increase overall wellness and help your body to function more fully. Warning, before you fall down an adaptogenic rabbit hole: learning about how awesome they are may have largely led to my study of Holistic Nutrition!
Here's what you need to know: when adding an herbal supplement to your diet, consistency is key. These may be miracle cures but they aren't necessarily quick fixes. Expect to take an adaptogen for a few weeks on a daily basis to feel the best results.
Next, not every adaptogen works for every person. Just as with food, it's possible that what works for me may do nothing for you, or vice versa. No two humans on the planet are chemically the same on the inside, so the way your body processes anything you put in can vary. Certain adaptogens have become my go-tos, but I've also tried a lot that didn't have much of an impact. It's all about trial and error.
Head's up: quality adaptogens aren't cheap. I've honestly spent a small fortune on supplements in the past 5 years. I now know pretty much what works for me, what I can live without, and what to splurge on. It's taken a while to narrow it down, but it's well worth it.
Blends are best for beginners! If you're totally new to adaptogens, I'd strongly suggest trying out a blend that takes the guess work out of the equation. There are some truly beautiful tonics on the market these days that tell you exactly what to expect from them. My main squeeze is Moon Juice, but you can also check out By Erika Elizabeth or MoodBeli for some dreamy options. Of course, no adaptogen post would be complete without telling you guys about Four Sigmatic, who makes everything you can think of with mushrooms that don't taste like mushrooms. They've been a part of my daily life for probably 5 years and were a total gateway into the world of 'shrooms. Can't handle the powder? You may be more into Hum Nutrition, who makes fantastic supplement blends in capsule form. I had their subscription plan for years before diving in to making my own tonics!
Once you have gotten acquainted with a few adaptogens, you may want to consider buying single herbs in bulk for more bang for your adaptogenic buck. I swear by SunPotion, Mountain Rose Herbs, VitaJing, and Root and Bones.
Remember one more thing... start small. You don't have to use a lot of these potent potions, and you probably won't be into the taste if you did either. The best way to introduce them is slow and steady, and possibly in a smoothie or tea/coffee that's flavored. These things do come from the Earth!
Ready for my cheat sheet? Here you go, just to name a few:
- Immunity: Reishi, Astragalus, Shilajit
- Energy: Chaga, Eulethero, Maca, Shilajit
- Stress/Anxiety: Ashwaghanda, Turmeric, Reishi, Mucuna Pruriens
- Digestion/Gut Health: Burdock root, Tulsi/Holy Basil, Triphala
- Adrenal Support: He Shou Wu, Rehmannia
- Brain function: Lion's Mane, Rhodiola, Maca, Astragalus
- Beauty: Pearl, He Shou Wu, Tocotrienols/Tocos, Schisandra
Now here's the tricky part: most of the adaptogens listed above could go in MULTIPLE categories... and they are practically all anti-inflammatory and anti-aging. AIR FIVES! I love nerding out over these things, so feel free to message me for suggestions if you're totally overwhelmed. I hope that you'll make friends with some of these amazing herbs and see how great you can feel with their loving support.
(image artwork via @jenniferament)