It’s well known that unhealthy stress levels have the potential to wreak havoc on our health. Luckily, there are many simple remedies. Maybe opening a bottle of wine and winding down the day with a fizzy bath bomb is your jam, or amping up your oil-infused humidifier and wearing a heated, herb-filled neck wrap to bed. But while these are tried and true methods for some, others trying to function everyday with chronic stress may need a little more help finding relief that lasts.
That’s where adaptogens come in. Although they’ve been used in ayurvedic medicine for centuries, adaptogens are gaining popularity in the West as super ingredients that naturally help your body deal with stress. So if you’ve done your research and want to give adaptogenic herbs and roots a try, consider the following ways to incorporate them into your diet.
Take a Supplement
Adaptogens aren’t just meant to be taken when you’re stressed — they’re okay to use frequently as supplements to help keep your hormones balanced (think six-week cycles to see how your body reacts). Many popular adaptogenic supplements contain ashwagandha, and for good reason. A study concluded that ashwagandha, often referred to as “Indian ginseng,” effectively improved participant’s resistance towards stress as well as their self-assessed quality of life.
Other than ashwagandha, you can find many adaptogenic supplements right in your local grocery store and online, from the powder variety to butters, pills and extracts. We’re not saying they’ll completely replace our beloved Nutella, but these Pearl Butters are incredible on the taste front (we tried the coconut Beauty Butter — YUM), and they’re actually good for you.
Cook With Them
If you’ve ever received one of those fancy spice racks as a gift, look closer for the adaptogenic herb turmeric, a plant in the ginger family. Why should you cook with it? For one thing, it’s excellent for brain health. Turmeric’s main compound, curcumin, was shown to be as effective as an antidepressant, and there’s some evidence that it can increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain (the ones that make us happy).
It’s also easy to cook with thanks to its subtle, peppery flavor. Try adding it to scrambled eggs, white rice or root vegetables for an extra kick of healthiness and a golden hue (it’s how curry gets its classic yellow color).
Love to bake? Try adding maca root powder to pies, muffins, cakes and more. It’s said to have a nutty, butterscotch flavor to it, which is also why people love putting it in smoothies to sweeten them up. What’s better, maca root is nutritious, containing several energy-boosting vitamins and minerals, and was shown to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, particularly in menopausal women.
Brew a Tea
Holy Basil, also known as tulsi, is considered one of the purest adaptogens, and a queen like yourself deserves the “Queen of the Herbs.” Not only is tulsi’s flavor lovely when brewed (reminiscent of clove, mint and licorice), but also it’s got healing properties for anxiousness and poor immunity.
You can simply purchase your own tulsi leaves to brew, or pick up a box of this amazing Organic India tea online or at the grocery store. We highly recommend the Sweet Rose variety (it literally tastes like a cup of roses).
Another great adaptogen for tea is astragalus, an herb native to China that’s known for its antioxidant power. Click here for a great tea recipe using dried astragalus root.
So there you go. We hope you’re well on your way to chilling the f*#k out with adaptogens.
New For You Editors
Lead image credit: Pearl Butter