What are adaptogens?
The concept of adaptogens was originally created in 1947 to describe a substance that may increase resistance to stress. Adaptogens are herbs and medicinal mushrooms that help balance, restore and protect the body. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions and have gained popularity in recent years due to their use by herbalists and nutritionists.
How they work
They help our bodies respond to any influence or stressor, normalizing our physiological functions by interacting with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands, both of which are involved in the body’s response to stress. Adaptogens may tweak hormone production and physiological responses to stress to ensure that your body – from your mind to your immune system to your energy levels – functions as it should. Basically, they adapt the where you are and help you cope with internal and external stressors.
When we think about stress, we automatically think about the external factors, such as work, family, time management, etc. But there are also things that can be happening inside that our body still responds to as stress. Things like inflammation, exercise recovery, lack of sleep, food sensitivities, sickness, toxic overload, etc. So incorporating adaptogens can help our bodies cope with these stressors and perform at a more optimal level.
How to use Adaptogens
- Use 1 – 2 at one time, but no more than 3 at one once
- Add them to recipes (rather than water) – many have strong taste
- Choose one that supports how you’re feeling and where you are in life
- Change it up, don’t use the same formula every single day
They are easy to incorporate into your life. Add them to a morning porridge or in smoothies and smoothie bowls.
So what about the adaptogens Vacherin are using?
Ashwagandha (withania) [not to be used in pregnancy]: When taken in the morning, ashwagandha can increase energy, but at night it can help you fall asleep. Other properties that ashwagandha can support the immune system, inspire vigour and strength, harmonize mind, body, & spirit, reduce the effects of mental, emotional, and physical stress.
How to use it: ½ teaspoon in foods
Maca (yellow): increases stamina, elevates mood, helps to balance hormones in men and women, supports fertility and healthy libido.
How to use it: ¼ to ½ teaspoon in foods
Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng): is an excellent adaptogen for athletes because it supports endurance, shortens recovery time, and appears to protect the immune system during hard training.
How to use it: add ½ teaspoon in foods
Reishi Mushroom: is one of the most potent adaptogens available to modern society. Reishi helps to improve stress relief, it’s immune modulating and it’s anti-inflammatory.
How to use it: add ½ – 1 teaspoon in strongly flavoured foods
Astragalus: helps to boost immunity and it buffers the effects of stress and also prevents stress-related damage in the body by increasing the amount of anti-stress compounds we produce. Astragalus may also reduce the ability of stress hormones (like cortisol) to bind to receptors, making their effects on the body less extreme.
How to use it: add ½ teaspoon into smoothies
Cordyceps: are an immune system enhancer and they help to prevent aging and support longevity and youthfulness. Cordyceps are also used as a rejuvenation tonic that is often used by those who are recovering from illness, extended periods of stress, and general feelings of fatigue.
How to use it: add ½ teaspoon in smoothies
Chaga: is a mushroom that has strong immune enhancing properties, it has incredibly high levels of antioxidants and phyto-nutrients which are slowing down the aging process and it has also exhibited antiviral properties
How to use it: add ½ – 1 teaspoon into a smoothies or porridge or brew into a tea with ginger and lemon
Rhodiola: has been shown to improve our ability to absorb oxygen and it may facilitate mental clarity, promote creativity and stamina, help immune strength, support weight balance, as well as longevity and focus.
How to use it: add ½ teaspoon into a smoothies or porridge