As we begin our journey from mushrooms to the world of adaptogenic herbs, we travel to some of the harshest environments on the globe. From the extreme heat of the Indian deserts, to the frigid temperatures and low oxygen levels of Nepal, these herbal treasures thrive in some of the harshest condition on earth.
Enduring these extremes are what enable them to help us adapt to life's unexpected changes. Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress at the cellular level. They recharge our adrenal glands, recalibrate stress hormones, balance the body's pH and reduce damages caused by inflammation.
True to their name, they adapt their function to the body's specific needs, increasing or decreasing the function of any system, based on what the body needs most. Used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine as Qi tonics, and in the Indian medicine system of Ayruveda as rasayana herbs that improve the vital force of energy in the body. The balancing and calming adaptogens (ie. reishi, ashwagandha, bacopa, holy basil, and schisandra) play a supporting role in many herbal blends because of their anti-stress effects.
Ashwagandha, also called winter cherry, is a highly prized tonic native to India. This evergreen shrub, a member of the night-shade family, produces an exquisite yellow flower and bright red or orange fruit resembling small cherries. Beautiful lantern-shaped pods hold the fruit, but it's the dried roots that are used most for herbal remedies. Variation in extraction methods can change its appearance and flavor; sometimes a dark brown with a sweet nutty aroma and bitter, malt taste.
My favorite way to use an ashwagandha powder is to pair it with coffee or chocolate. Because what doesn't go well with coffee and chocolate?
In India, ashwagandha is held in high esteem as a tonic that promotes youthful vitality and clear cognition; harmonizing mind, body and spirit. A calming, mineral-dense nervine, ashwagandha nourishes both the adrenal and thyroid glands. Rich in antioxidants, it protects the brain, reduces inflammation, improves memory and helps alleviate symptoms of depression. Just by addressing stress levels and helping the body balance stress hormones, ashwagandha can help correct or reduce the severity of a wide range of conditions.
Ashwagandha is one of my favorite herbal treasures and a main ingredient in both Adapt and Enrich!
"All a man needs for health and healing has been provided by God in nature, the challenge of science is to find it."