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, in case you’re wondering what they are.
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 effect me.
- Lion’s Mane
Lion’s Mane is a type of mushroom, which is where this adaptogen is derived from. Lion’s mane can help with brain function and focus. I first started using adaptogens when I was in my fourth semester of nursing school. I had been having a really hard time focusing when I was studying and taking exams so I decided to try using lion’s mane to help me. I definitely didn’t feel an immediate effect but overtime, after drinking lion’s mane daily, I began to feel more focused and grounded. It definitely had an effect on 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 be more present.
There are actually some studies out there about lion’s mane and it’s 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.
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.
Even WedMD 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.
I often enjoy reishi in the evenings because it is believed to have a calming effect which can help with sleep. I also like to bring reishi with me when I travel. I usually just mix 1/4 – 1/2 tsp into a hot cup of tea. These little packets are great for travel too!
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!
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!