In our second part on ’The Power of Adaptogens’ – we feature TULSI SPIRIT and talk with founder Elita to bring you: Everything you need to know about how to choose and consume adaptogens, to support optimal health and true wellbeing.
Traditional medicine made modern
In traditional Chinese medicine, the belief is that a person achieves optimal health when the body is in balance and the energy can flow freely. The Ayurveda also emphasises that health is a state of balance between mind, body and consciousness. So, it’s not surprising that these ancient medicines, that recognise that plants are highly intelligent, bring us to the adaptogens.
The actual term ‘adaptogen’ is actually quite new. It was established after extensive research was conducted in Russia in the 1940s. These experiments investigated ways to help Russian pilots, submarine crews and athletes increase their stamina. When they exhausted conventional methods, they looked to traditional cultures to see which plants were commonly used to survive harsh and challenging circumstances and found the adaptogens.
Adaptogens are known to increase the body’s ability to resist stress and its damaging effects that are well known to us in Western cultures. When taken consistently, they accumulate within the body, slowly enabling it to restore the balance. Maybe that’s why they’re becoming so popular in a world where stress is related to countless health issues.
How adaptogens actually work?
Adaptogens balance the hypothalamic-pituitary endocrine axis. Simply put, this means that in the long term, adaptogens work with your stress response system to help your body to produce less stress hormones. Adaptogens also contain quality polysaccharides and beta-glucans in abundance. These compounds feed the body’s long-term energy storage and are rich in natural immunostimulants that balance the immune system.
How to choose adaptogens?
When reading the different descriptions, many adaptogens can seem very similar in their benefits, but each adaptogen has its own unique identity. So, one might work better for you than another. This is why it might require trial and error to find your personal favourites.
Although many will feel the effects instantly, it may also take a while before you notice any changes. It’s worthwhile sticking to an adaptogen for at least a month or so before trying a different one. Of course, if you’re experiencing any discomforts, it might be a sign this particular adaptogen and you are not best fit for one another, and you might want to seek professional advice.
When buying adaptogens it’s crucial to check things like; Where were they grown? You want herbs that are grown in their native environments and mushrooms either sustainably wild-harvested or grown in clean rooms.
Is it raw?
Most adaptogen powders contain heat-sensitive enzymes, yet many adaptogens are sold as extractions which means they’ve been heated up, losing some of their qualities.
Is it full-spectrum or just a certain part of the herb/mushroom?
When taking adaptogens, always look for the whole plant/mushroom rather than supplements that pick and choose parts that are considered ‘potent’. That’s because all the different parts of the plant work in synergy to assist digestion and absorption of the active components.
Let’s dig right in – how to choose adaptogens?
- Start by identifying the challenges you have, imbalances you feel or goals you’d like to achieve. Journaling is a really useful way to identify and record these.
- Now that you know what you want to improve, find the adaptogens that’ll help you achieve those desired benefits (i.e. do your research!).
- Now you’re taking these adaptogens, tune in! Really listen to how your body feels when taking the adaptogens and record it in your journal! This is the best way to identify which ones best fit you.
How to consume adaptogens?
I believe that the best way to take adaptogens is by adding them to everyday meals. This allows you to harvest their wonderful qualities without the feeling of ‘taking a supplement’. Just add 2g (or half a teaspoon) to your coffee, breakfast, lunch or raw treats and trust them to do their work.
As featured inside Thrive Magazine – Summer 2020, featured as a promotion with Tulsi Spirit >>