Adaptogens are a group a herbs that have been getting a lot of press recently. They are amazing and powerful healing herbs especially when used correctly.
Adaptogens are a group of non-toxic herbs that produce non-specific effects and help our body respond better to stressors. When our body is able to respond to stress in an optimal and healthy way we see less impact on our adrenal glands and nervous system, a more positive outlook on life and this allows the body to become more resilient.
These special herbs are thought to "adapt" their function to meet your bodies needs (hence the non-spefifics effects) and have a normalizing impact upon things such as energy, oxygenation, performance and libido. They can stimulate or relax as the individual needs. In Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine these herbs tend to fall into a category of tonic herbs. They are known to help optimize the bodies mental and physical performance and make better use of energy production and recovery during states of rest.
There is no real substitute for healthy lifestyle choices, such as limiting technology usage, adequate exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a wholesome diet, and practicing stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and gentle stretching, but these herbs are an amazing addition to help supplement and boost these healthy lifestyle choices!
These adaptogenic herbs are safe to be taken over long periods of time, and effects are usually seen after a month or so of regular intake, even though many people notice beneficial impacts before that amount of time. These herbs can make a big difference for a condition known as “Adrenal Fatigue” a condition that correlates best in Chinese Medicine to Qi deficiency. These herbal adaptogens work to help support the bodies generation of Qi, sometimes translated as our vital life force energy. When the body is overworked and stressed out often aspects of our Qi gets depleted and these herbs can really make a difference not only in the short term but with our long term energy and vitality. ,
Meet the Herbs
American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius)
This is an adaptogenic herb at its finest. It is extremely helpful to boost energy in a grounded and efficient way, unlike substance like consuming too much caffeine which can leave you jittery and tired. Research has been done to show that ginsenosides, specific compounds found in American ginseng may stimulate the immune system, making the body more resilient against disease. It has been most researched in areas such as Diabetes as it has been shown to lower blood sugar levels.
In TCM it is known as Xi yang shen, and falls into the category of herbs that tonify the yin. It enters in the Heart, Kidney, and Lung meridians with its cold nature and sweet slightly bitter flavor. It helps to benefit the Qi, generate fluids and nourish the yin especially of the Lungs.
AMERICAN GINSENG BENEFITS
Improves reaction time
Promotes stress reduction and calmness
Natural stimulant/ fights fatigue
Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)
This amazing herb, commonly known as Indian ginseng, is a plant in the Solanaceae or nightshade family. It helps to enhance our resilience under stress, fortifies adrenal function, regulates digestion and eases anxiety. It can helps manage energy levels and is not a cardiac stimulant. This herb is a great ally for safe and effective mood support, energy boosting, and stress management. It helps to support the adrenal function and normalize cortisol levels while promoting greater levels of sustained energy and longer deeper sleep.
Ashwagandha is also considered on the of the chief herbs in Ayurvedic medicine that falls within the Rasayana, or rejuventative category, now known as adapogens. Rasayana is a Sanskrit word meaning the Path of essence. Within Ayurvedic medicine these herbs are considered to boost vitality and lengthening ones lifespan. Portland Ashwadangha Farm provides this adatopgenic herb in a tincture form or Moon juice has a great powdered ashwagandha!
Helps boost energy
Promotes restful sleep
Regulates and boost digestion
Improves stress/ anxiety
Regulation of blood sugar levels
.Promotes health cortisol level
Cordyceps Sinensis (Chinese caterpillar mushroom)
This unique herb, also known as Dong Chong Xia Cao (A mushroom that grows on the back of a caterpillar, weird right?!) is a highly valued adaptogenic herbs that is used in TCM to restore the Kidney organ-meridian system, particularly the Kidneys yang Qi. It can help to combat adrenal fatigue and stress. It is also know to help increase libido, immunity, enhance physical performance and endurance.
Increases energy/ stamina
Improves respiratory function
Benefits the kidneys and renal function
Fights chronic fatigue/stress
Protects heart health
Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosis- Siberian ginseng)
This powerful root is best known to improve one’s physical performance, increase stamina, endurance and enhances the bodies ability to recover from injury and disease. It has been used to regulate blood sugar levels, increases blood flow to the brain and supports immune function.
In TCM it is known as Ci wu jia, of course falling into the tonifing category- tonify the Qi. It is warm in nature, spicy, slightly bitter and enters into the Spleen, Heart and Kidney meridians. It is traditionally used to tonify the Spleen and Stomach Qi, boost digestion, and warm the Kidneys. It can also calm the Shen and invigorate the good.
Improves physical performance
Increases oxygen intake/ absorption
Increase fat oxidation
Improves cognitive ability
He Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum)
Longevity, anti- aging and blood building are just a few properties of this adaptogenic herb, also known as Fo-Ti. While it helps to build blood, it also boosts and nourishes the skin, hair nails, and nervous system. It can help reduce cholesterol, promote formation of red blood cells, enhances immune function and improve energy levels. This Taoist herb has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and from a TCM perspepctive it tonifies and nourishes the Shen (spirit) and Jing (essence) and they say keep your hair from turning grey! (Its name- “he shou wu” means “the black-haired Mr. He”) It is a bittersweet herb with astringent qualities that can help with soreness in the low back, insommnia, blurry vision, even blurry vision or dizziness. Sun potion makes a super high quality powder and the packaging is on point!
HE SHOU WU BENEFITS:
Anti-inflammatory/ anti-oxidant effects
Promoting brain health
Reducing cholesterol levels
Treating alopecia/ premature greying of hair
Increases energy levels
Promotes health and well being
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
This herbal tonic is a mushroom that has profound immune-modulting impacts. It is known as the “mushroom of longevity.” It is one of the most researched herbal medicines. It has been used in a multitude of studies about cardiovascular disease, respiratory conditions and cancer research, especially breast cancer. Its pharmacological properties are impressive- analgesic, anti-allergic, anti-asthmatic, anti-bacterial, anti-hypertensive, cardiotonic, expectorant, cognitive, imuunostimulant, smooth muscle relaxant, just to name a few! A product I love is from Vitajing herbals- https://vitajing.com/products/reishi (Use code wild earth for 10% off all orders!)
In TCM it is known as Ling Zhi. It is sweet and neutral in temperature and enters on the Heart, Liver and Lung meridians. Traditionally its main uses were to calm the shen/ spirit, and nourish ones Heart. It helps to boost the bodies Qi and the Qi boosting impacts of other herbs. It is also known to improve respiratory function to stop coughing and wheezing. Read this article more a more in-depth understanding —> Reishi Mushroom
Boosts immune function
Helps improve sleep disorders
Increases digestive function
Improves cardiac function
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
This amazing root helps to increase our adaptability and is considered an anti-fatigue ally and a mental performance enhancer. Rhodiola is an versatile herbs that has been used for thousands of years and is a great choice for those sruggling with adrenal fatigue, qi deficiency or are severely stressed- out. This herbs helps to support your nervous system, lower cortisol levels, increase mental stamina and concentration. Studies have shown beneficial impacts on depression and anxiety.
Boosts memory, cognition and concentration
Increases energy levels/ mental stamina/ physical endurance
Supports cardiovascular health
Increased Libido and sexual health
Boosts immune system
Increases mental stamina/ physical endurance
Schisandra Berry (Schisandra chinensis)
This adaptogenic herbs is known to help improve mental performance. longevity, endurance and improve sexual function. The bright red berries are the medicinal part of this plant, and they are often called the five-flavor fruit or in TCM- Wu Wei Zi.
Within Chinese medicine this beautiful herb helps to create balance within the yin and yang of the body. It is known to help calm the heart and shen, while benefiting the brain, kidneys, liver and lungs. Its flavor captures the five major favors – sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy.
Anti-Inflammatory/ reduces free radicals
Improves Liver function
Boosts digestive health
Improves libido and sexual health
Boost energy level
Helps protect the skin
How do I use them?
These herbs are so versatile and can be used in numerous ways. Many of them tend to have a bitter taste profile, so its nice to find recipes to infuse them into, such as teas, lattes, sweet chocolate treats, smoothies, and herbal elixirs. Make sure to follow the individual herbal products dosing. Often you can find them ground into powders- which makes for an easy application for tea and beverages, tinctures and capsules. Stay tuned- Recipes coming soon! Until then check out this herbal companies blog for some amazing recipes. Root and Bone- https://rootandbones.com/rootandbonesblog.
*These statements/products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease, please check in with a well-versed healthcare practitioner to see if these herbal choices are right for you. All substances mentioned above may be associated with mild side effects depending upon your constitution, so like with any herbs use with caution and make responsible choices.
Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica, Portable Edition. (2015). Eastland Pr.