What Are Adaptogens and How I Use Them

When I first heard about adaptogens, I was really unclear on what they even were. Then I started to hear words like Chaga, He Shou Wu, and Ashwagandha and it just made me even more confused. In this blog post, I’ll explain a little bit about what adaptogens are and how I use them.

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are basically a type of supplement/plant extract. Adaptogens come in the form of a powder and are derived from different types of herbs and mushrooms that are believed to help the body adapt to stress. The effects of adaptogens can help a person feel more balanced and calm. Below, I have listed a few of my favorite adaptogens, how I use them, and how they affect me.

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane is a type of mushroom, which is where this adaptogen is derived from. Helping with brain function and focus, I first started using lion’s mane when I was in my fourth semester of nursing school. This adaptogen came into my life when I had been having a really hard time focusing while studying and taking exams, so I decided to give it a try.

I definitely didn’t feel an immediate effect but over time, after drinking lion’s mane daily, I began to feel more focused and grounded. I definitely believe that it improved my test scores. Even though I’m not studying or taking exams now, lion’s mane is still one of my favorite adaptogens. It helps me feel less brain fog and just focus on the tasks at hand, which helps me feel more present. 

There are actually some studies out there about lion’s mane and its effect on helping Alzheimer’s patients, which I find amazing. As someone who went through nursing school, I have gained a new perspective on modern medicine. Let’s just say, I’m not a big fan of the pharmaceutical industry and our modern ways of “healing” people. So when I hear about a plant extract and its effects gaining attention in the world of medicine, it kind of makes my heart sing.

How I use it

I typically drink 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of lion’s mane mixed into my coffee in the mornings. It doesn’t always dissolve all that well so I try to add it in when my coffee is still super hot. You can also put it in tea or a smoothie. I try to use it daily. 

Reishi

Even WebMD recognizes the medicinal effects of reishi. Reishi is also derived from a mushroom. I’ve always heard of this adaptogen being used for anxiety but apparently, it has other uses too, like treating infections.

How I use it

I often enjoy reishi in the evenings because it has a calming effect, which helps with sleep. When I travel, I always bring reishi with me to help my body relax in a new environment. Just mix 1/4 – 1/2 tsp into a hot cup of tea or blend it in a smoothie. These little packets are great for travel too!

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is the first adaptogen I ever heard of and it is the only one on this list that is not derived from a mushroom. I guess ashwagandha is some type of shrub. This adaptogen helps with calming, inflammation, and even lowers blood pressure. Ashwagandha also has immune boosting properties and has been found to help with depression and anxiety. I think we could all use a little ashwagandha in our lives! 

How I use it

I use ashwagandha the same way I use the others, just 1/4 – 1/2 tsp mixed into my coffee or tea. It’s a super simple step towards better health and feeling more grounded and human. 

Leave your adaptogen questions in the comments! 

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