What is an ADAPTOGEN?
The definition of adaptogens: they are a natural substance that allows the body to cope with stress and other unwanted effects on the body. They’re called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to your body’s specific needs. They exert a normalizing effect that helps the body and mind come back to centre, homeostasis. These herbs do not express unwanted highs or lows, but simply support your system in dealing with chronic high stress, supports the immune system and normalizes feelings of depression and anxiety.
If taken everyday they will support the adrenal system and act like a herbal 'vaccine' where if high levels of cortisol are released or a virus/pathogen enters the body, the body will be supported and resistant, able to cope with these detrimental invaders. Biologically, they decreases cellular sensitivity to stress.
What can I use it for?
Adaptogens have a long list of health benefits:
- Adrenal Support
- Blood-Sugar Regulator
- Hormonal Balance
- Calm Mental Stimulant
- Post Work-Out Recovery
By drinking this therapeutic herbal tea, your body and mind will be much stronger in dealing with all that life has to throw at you. And don't just take it from me, adaptogens have been used as a natural remedy for thousands of years such as Ginseng in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ashwagandha in Ayurvedic Medicine from India.
My 3 Favourite Adaptogens:
I use three adaptogens that I feel cover all the bases from immune to anxiety and adrenal support. The first is Stinging Nettle, which is a powerful herb in supporting the nervous system, battling anxiety and also has digestive benefits. The best part about this herb is it's very much Canadian, and grows wild everywhere in the spring time!
The next herb is Ashwagandha which is prized in Ayurvedic Medicine for its immune strengthening properties, strong adaptogenic properties, blood pressure and blood sugar regulator, and it is even used for men in supporting the sex-drive! This herb is very beneficial in everyday use.
My third favourite adaptogen is Holy Basil which is considered a sacred plant in India because it has so many therapeutic uses. It is also known as Tulsi. Although it has only become popular recently in North America, it has been grown in India for more than 3,000 years. Along with being a powerful adaptogen it also offers strong antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. This is the herb you want in your rotation during 'cold season'.
Making a therapeutic tea is different than that warm cup of camomile you have before bed. In order for the benefits to be effective, you must brew a very strong tea. Lucky for you, these herbs are not very bitter and are quite pleasant tasting even at such a concentrated level. Go ahead and add some unpasteurized raw honey to boost the anti-microbial benefits and also the flavour. The goal here is two tablespoons of herb to 1 cup of water. The following recipe will yield 1 litre of tea which can be stored in the fridge and enjoyed cold or warm throughout the week.
- Dry Stinging Nettle, 1 cup
- Dry Holy Basil, 1 cup
- Ashwagandha powder, 2 tbsp
- 1 litre of water
- Fill a stainless steel stovetop kettle with water about 3/4 full.
- Bring to just under a boil and add your herbs directly into the kettle.
- Immediately reduce to simmer for 15-20min
- Let cool for about 5 minutes, then strain and enjoy a cup
- To place in a glass jar as I have, make sure the tea is cooled completely before transferring .
- Drink everyday for best results.
Where Can I Buy These Herbs?
I purchase my herbs for a very fair price at Alternative Thinking at Bathurst and Bloor in Toronto. You can also order them online and have them delivered in Canada and the US at this great organic herbal depository in Ontario called Richter's Herbs. Their delivery rate is very cheap.