If you’re interested in herbs, tonics and remedies, you may have heard of adaptogens.
Over recent years, it’s a term found in more and more ingredient lists and marketing materials. But are adaptogens for real? Can they really do what they say they do? Today, we’re going to separate fact from fiction.
Before we begin, it’s important to explain what an adaptogen is. Here’s the dictionary definition:
According to this general definition, this covers lots of ground. Perhaps our definition will break it down better for you.
Adaptogens help your body cope with external stressors, toning your body and keeping it balanced (normalizing your adrenal response) when under stress. They improve your body’s adaptability and they do what your particular body needs them to do.
It’s hard to avoid stress, we get it, we live in it too. We do our best to manage stress in our own ways - walks, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, etc. But if your ability to cope with physical, mental and emotional stressors is low, those external stressors can become internal illness. This is why adaptogens are a powerful preventative medicine leading to a greater sense of well-being.
Take your wellness into your own hands rather than the conventional way many of us were taught - tackling symptoms after the fact. Adaptogens work on the whole body, with non-specific actions. Because of this, they also need time to work their magic. It can take a few weeks to notice their effects.
Although plants and herbs are a bedrock of modern medicine, they haven’t always been used in an ethical manner. People looking to turn over a quick buck often advertise them as a “cure all” panacea with miraculous effects.
Beware of companies from using “tricksy” marketing to imply dubious health benefits in their products. For example, energy drink companies prominently label adaptogenic ingredients such as ginseng on their bottles. Often upon closer inspection, there’s only trace amounts of ginseng within the beverage -- whatever health benefits may be derived from natural herbs are quickly overruled by high fructose content.
As with anything health-related, it’s important to consult with licensed clinicians about whether a particular adaptogen is right for you.
Tea is most known in the West as a tasty recreational beverage consumed at social gatherings. So it often comes as a surprise to many of us when we learn that tea is a traditional Chinese medicine. Tea’s traditional purpose in China (as well as other Asian countries) is as a medicine, and it’s been used as a herbal remedy for thousands of years!
Scientific consensus now affirms the health benefits of tea. According to Harvard Medical School:
The main health-promoting substances in tea are polyphenols, in particular catechins and epicatechins. Lab and animal studies say these molecules have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Harvard-led studies of large groups of people over time have found that tea [lowers] risk for diabetes and possibly cardiovascular disease.
Harvard Medical School has a caveat. Modern embellishments like sugar and other sweeteners can cancel out the health benefits of tea. If you’re looking to appreciate tea for its health benefits, stay away from that excess sugar!
At Amoda, we recognize that not only is tea a great treat, it’s a great health product too. Our teas are sourced entirely from organic plants with no artificial flavours or fillers. We believe in health, wellness, and great taste!
We like to take our adaptogens in powder form and blended with matcha, healthy fats and, on occasion, an indulgent homemade nutmilk. You can start by choosing an intention for your adaptogens - improving skin, hair and nails, boosting immunity, fighting fatigue or increasing libido. Do your research to discover the best adaptogens for your particular intention(s).
The adaptogens we use in our blends are the functional mushrooms reishi, chaga and cordyceps, maca (we choose gelatinized for easier digestion), Siberian ginseng (a.k.a eleuthero), schisandra berry, and pine pollen.
Add those powders to your daily matcha and blend with coconut butter or another healthy fat.
Want to keep it simple? Try one of our adaptogenic elixir blends instead.