the skinny on adaptogens

In these days of stress and our “go go go” lifestyles oftentimes we need a little help to make it over the hurdles.  

We all know the power of eating a high quality nutrient dense diet full of vegetables, fruits, pastured, high quality proteins, and healthy nurturing fats.  What happens though when nutrition just doesn’t go far enough to combat utter exhaustion?

Enter adaptogens!  

These treasures are our path to finding and maintaining balance. 

Adaptogens are defined agents that increase the bodies ability to adapt to environmental and internal stress by strengthening the immune, nervous, and glandular system. Adaptogens enhances an organism’s resistance to stress, disease, and environment, as well as normalizes metabolic functions and increases metabolic efficiency. An adaptogen is a botanical that greatly improves your body’s ability to adapt to stress no matter the stressor; times of illness and dysfunction, a hectic schedule and late nights, or really any other extreme condition that would threaten its homeostasis.

Adaptogenic herbs grow all over the world and many withstand extreme conditions in order to survive; hot, cold, high altitude and intense radiation from the sun.  These high vibrations are imparted in the one that ingests them encouraging strength and resilience. They encourage adaptive energy at a cellular level and are non-toxic with little to no side effects. They produce an overall normalizing effect on the body by enhancing the bodies natural balancing capacity bringing the body back into a natural homeostasis.

Adaptogens are tonics that have the power to alleviate weaknesses in the body. They have amphoteric properties that can normalize organ function. They  are so powerful that they can slow down the aging process due to the ability to alleviate the psychological aging factors that contribute to oxidative stress. They can reduce inflammation.  

Adaptogens may not be the fountain of youth but they can help you defy aging every step of the way!

So what can you expect from taking an adaptogen?

·       Increase longevity and rejuvenate the body

·       Nourish the internal organs and balance hormones

·       Boost libido, mental health, and immune health

·       Suppress cravings by supplying the body with the energy it needs

·       Strengthen and protect the energy and vibrations of the body

·        Create harmony and balance in the body

·       Increase oxygenation of muscles and ligaments and increase lean muscle mass

·       Support mental clarity

·       Slow the biological aging process

·       Burn belly fat

There is an adaptogen for every health need.  Burning the candle at both ends and straight down the middle?  Adaptogen!

Want to have glowing skin?  Adaptogen!

Need to boost your libido and balance your hormones? Yep, you guessed it… Adaptogen!

Below you’ll find some of my favorites:

He Shou Wu– a rejuvenative root that nourishes hair, skin and nails as a powerful beauty food.  It’s also longevity food as a kidney jing tonic.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine the kidneys are like the battery packs of the body, the energy reserves of the body.  If the kidneys and liver (did I mention it supports the liver as well?) are functioning at optimal level, the skin glows and that keeps us young!

Ashwaganda– balances mood and energy levels, improves memory and mental capacity, can help support sleep and even boost sexual function (by helping balance hormones).  This helps regulate serotonin levels which can, in turn, help regulate other neurotransmitters.

Mucuna Puriens– amazing for cognitive function this awesome source of L-dopa, a precursor to dopamine which helps to balance neurotransmitters, this herb uplifts and opens up the heart center, can enhance and balance mood, and promotes sound sleep.

Ashitaba– rich source of Vitamin B-12 and is known in Japan as a beauty and longevity food.  This gives my skin it’s special glow as a blood tonic helping iron levels stay balanced without the need for potentially toxic iron supplements.

Pine pollen– activates, nourishes, and harmonizes the body and brain on many levels. It is is considered to be dual directional hormone-balancing for men and women and serves as a bio-available source of B vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and contains natural androgens (such as testosterone) which when maintained at healthy levels, enhance energy, sex drive, and an overall sense of positivity and well-being.  It can improve cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol and boost immunity.

Cordyceps mushrooms– indeed other medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, maitake, shitake, Lion’s Mane, and Coriolus have benefits too, but Cordyceps support the lungs and oxygenation of the whole body, which in turn enhances brain function and acuity, athletic endurance, circulation, energy levels, libido, muscle tone and immune function, and may support the whole system in responding and adapting to stress with more resilience.   I like the Myco-Immune blend from Thorne as a liquid extracted well and preserved in alcohol.

Rhodiola– one of my favorite brain extracts with anti-viral properties perfect for anti-viral protocols, it is a traditional Taoist herb and Qi (energy) Tonic. It grows in the wild in high-elevation, extreme conditions, and is an extremely resilient and fierce plant, indicating how it may enhance the body’s ability to absorb oxygen and support longevity, endurance, healthy weight, mood, and focus! 

All of the above links (save for the super mushroom blend from Thorne) are from an amazing company called Sun Potion.  This transformational food company produce the industry’s best cold water extracted herbs by far!  My favorite addition to my morning coffee (and yes, I do have a cup of coffee every morning) is their Anandamide blend which is really high quality cacao (we are talking about 1 tablespoon, beauties, so it just so happens to be raw…… it’s still delicious!), ashwaganda, mucuna puriens, a beautiful mushroom blend and Vitamin E rich Tocos among other herbs (even moringa) with cinnamon and cayenne.  I add in a few other adaptogens, stir in some coconut oil and coconut cream and voilá, super coffee!!!

You may wonder why Maca isn’t on my list.  It is definitely a hormone balancing adaptogen that helps some people and I do love my Macaccinos from time to time but I use it more when ashwaganda or other adaptogens are too strong.  If you find Ashwaganda too much for you, that’s when it’s time to call in Maca.  LOVE it, but not enough to make my favorite list!

What are your favorite adaptogens?  If you have experience with them, I’d love for you to share with our group.

Wishing you health, wellness & beauty,


4 replies
  1. Vanessa
    Vanessa says:

    I know maca is ultra popular, but for some reason, it gave me two periods in one month and made me feel like I was constantly on my cycle (tender breasts, slightly crampy). Royal Jelly affected me similarly (minus the multiple periods) but also made my bottom and inner thighs feel bigger (!!) and flax and evening primrose also make me feel hormonal. I’d love to hear any thoughts on why I might be reacting so strangely (afraid to take Vitex and Shatavri for same reasons), as I’d love to take something to nourish/balance my hormones. Gracias!

    • thedetoxdiva
      thedetoxdiva says:

      It sounds like you have a very serious estrogen dominance issue that would need to be addressed before any adaptogens can be taken that can alter the estrogen progesterone ratio. Flax (incidentally) is estrogenic. It’s not necessarily a magic pill (er, supplement) that can be taken to balance your hormones if it is something else going on affecting those hormones.


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