Adaptogens, the multi-tasking family of herbs and roots, help us “adapt” to whatever situation we’ve got going on. If it’s stress overload, they bring on a calming effect. If we need more energy, they’re right there to give us a boost. Throw in good sleep and help with balancing hormones? Super hero status.
I first learned about adaptogens years ago while seeing an Ayurvedic doctor in New York. I came for digestion issues, but the bigger problem was the stress of living, working, and playing hard in my 20’s. I started with Ashwagandha, a super herb, known for strengthening the immune system, improving energy, and giving you a sense of increased clarity. It worked! Then I started exploring. Next came astragalus, an herb often used in Chinese medicine, and is wonderful for your immune system, protecting you from colds and flu. It also helps with anti-aging by protecting your precious telomeres, which are at the ends of each strand of DNA. When they shorten, DNA damage increases. Astragalus helps to slow down that process.
Perhaps one of my favorite adaptogens is maca. Native to the Andes Mountains, dating back to the Incas and Peruvians, maca is known for increasing energy, stamina, boosting your immune system and libido. Yes, all that. What I also love is that it helps to balance our hormones and should be part of every woman’s “super health kit” when it comes to pre, pendant, and post menopause, as it alleviates and even preempts key symptoms like hot flashes.
Adaptogens can be taken by tincture, supplement, powder, and there are also teas. The photo above is from one of my favorite places, Moon Juice, in LA. This is their “Spirit Dust,” which helps with stress and promotes calm. Warning: once on this site, the sirens will call … so many great things to choose from.
I find that with adaptogens, extended daily use is typically not recommended. For example, I add maca to my smoothie three times per week. For cold and flu season, use of astragalus will be more frequent in the fall. Explore which one might be the right for you — where you are in your life right now — and give it a try!
*Medical Caution: Always consult with your healthcare practitioner before using supplements if you have any health conditions.
Some helpful links!