A Beginner's Guide to Adaptogens

2.23.2020

Today I wanted to share with you everything you need to know about adaptogens. I'm sharing my experience with adaptogens, the most common adaptogens, how to use them and what they do. This is a great beginner's guide to adaptogens and will give you a starting point if you're interested in using these magical healing powders! I'll also give you some recommendations for where to buy them and a few books I've loved on this journey. 




I'm sure you've seen the word adaptogen floating around the web lately boasting claims of balancing hormones, giving energy, and providing an overall feeling of well-being. If you haven't, that's okay, you're in the right place! 

First, what are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are a type of medicine that's been around for hundreds of years and used in Aryuvedic medicine practices. This form of medicine comes from plants, herbs and mushrooms and can help aid in hormone regulation and balance. They can help not only in hormone regulation but restoring and protecting our bodies by how it responds to stressors. In short, they adapt (hence the name) to help your body cope with stressors from inside or outside. When I say inside stress this can come from sickness, food intolerance, inflammation, and fatigue. These adaptogens usually come in the form of powders but can also be found in capsules. Some companies even sell blends of the powders (such as Moon Juice). 

How to use adaptogens
These healing powders can be used daily and are often used in drinks. I like to use mine in my coffee/tea, smoothies, and mixed with warm non dairy milks before bedtime. They can also be used in foods (such as homemade energy balls!). What you use and how you pair them depends on the taste and characteristic of the adaptogen being used and what you're using it for. . 

This can all seem very overwhelming at first. I know when I first started researching them I didn't know which to buy first, mainly because I wanted them all. I started by purchasing a few books first to read even more in depth on what adaptogens worked for what. I love THIS book - Super Powders. It's simple, yet thorough. She gives a great breakdown of the adaptogens and what each is used for. She provides recipes as well at the end of the book. I like to use this book as a reference because of the way she breaks down each adaptogen and their use. Another great book I recommend is THIS one. After I read the books I thought about my weak areas - when I say weak areas I mean areas in which I can improve upon or areas I struggle with. For me this was fatigue, stress, mood and anxiety. So I looked for the adaptogens to help in these areas to start with. 

I won't list every single adaptogen here because truthfully I'm still learning. I will share my experience with the few I've tried along with a few recipes I use daily.

Ashwanganda: reduces stress/anxiety, lowers cortisol. This may be my favorite so far and my most used! Ashwanganda can increase energy when taken in the morning and when taken at night can help you fall asleep. Be careful though because until you are used to the taste it can be awful and bitter if you use too much. I like to use 1/2 teaspoon with coffee in the morning or moon milk at night.

Reishi: balances blood sugar and mood and boosts immunity. I'm big on immune support especially during cold and flu season (and especially having 3 kids who go to school daily) - this was a no brainer for me. I like to use this in my coffee (1/2 - 1 teaspoon).

Maca: boosts energy. I'm all about the energy boosts! This may be a favorite of mine so far, as the taste is a bit sweeter. I love putting this one in my coffee, matcha, and chai tea lattes. It also goes well in smoothies because of the sweeter taste.

Moringa: reduces anxiety, antioxidant, digestive support. I love to pair this with a morning matcha, it goes so well. 

Where to buy
I have been able to buy a few locally (Maca, Spirulina, and Moringa) but the others I had to purchase off of Amazon. Remember I'm in Germany so depending on where you are you may be able to purchase local at a health food store. I know there are popular companies such as Moon Juice and Sun Potion. Amazon has great options.

I love adaptogens and really think they are amazing! As with most herbal remedies results are not immediate but happen over time. They work gently and adapt to your body's needs. According to Katrine Van Wyk (Author of Super Powders),  it's good to take a break one day a week or even a week a month and they should also be rotated every few months. I say pick one that has the benefits you are looking for and use it for a few weeks and examine how you feel. If that works, then move on to others. 

Here are a few recipes I use that I enjoy - feel free to add in whichever adaptogen suits you best and adjust for your taste. (Also, the books above have great recipes as well and you can also find a plethora of recipes on Pinterest as well!)

Simple Adaptogenic Latte
1/2 tsp Ashwagandha
1/2 -1 tsp Maca
Espresso Lungo (or coffee)
Steamed non-dairy milk (however much you want, I like to use oat milk or unsweetened almond)
Cinnamon & Cardamom 
Add powders first, then coffee and milk - you can blend or use a milk frother (like I do when I'm being lazy) and top with Cinnamon & Cardamom
(you can also sweeten with organic honey or coconut sugar if you're used to a sweeter coffee. You can also subtract the steamed milk and add in ghee or MCT oil to make it bulletproof coffee - I'd definitely use the blender to make it more of a latte if you do that)
*If you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen this a few times!*

Simple Matcha Latte 
2 tsp Matcha 
1/2 tsp Moringa 
1 tsp Maca 
1 cup non-dairy milk (steamed)
small amt of warm water
Honey
Cinnamon
Add powders first and mix with the warm water to dissolve. Add in non-dairy milk. Froth (if you want) and sweeten to taste. Top with cinnamon.

Easy Moon Milk
1/2 tsp Ashwagandha
1 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardomom
Ghee (I'll be honest, I don't measure, but start with a small amount and go from there)
honey to taste
Heat non-dairy milk (microwave if you're short on time or the stove), add in powders, spices and ghee. Stir until dissolved. Sweeten to taste and top with additional cinnamon. This is my nightly drink. I literally crave this every night! 

All of these can be adapted for your taste - add more of one spice if you don't like another - whatever makes you happy! 

Have you tried Adaptogens?? 




**If you are taking medications please check with your doctor as some herbs are contraindicated with some medications! 





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