Adaptogens Explained: How to Increase Your Overall Wellness
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is woody shrub plant that typically grows in dry climates. The medicinal part of the plant most commonly used are the roots, which are dried and ground into a powder. The plant root is considered an adaptogen (thinking “what on earth is that?” keep reading) and has commonly been used to reduce stress, enhance memory, boost immune function, and relieve inflammation. The root powder has an earthy flavor but is very well incorporated with cinnamon, cocoa, or baked goods. Heck, I may even try it in a smoothie soon! Stay tuned for that feedback — FEEDBACK: does not hide well in a smoothie….. wouldn’t recommend.
What’s an adaptogen? Just another nutrition buzz word thrown around like “cleanse”, “fast”, “kept diet”, yada yada yada. But what does it even mean? Adaptogens help the body “adapt” to your body’s responses to stress and improve your body’s response to stress in general. They are usually prescribed when stress levels in the body are high and regulate mechanisms in your body that deal with that stress. And the cool thing about them is that they bring your body back to homeostasis – the cool middle zone where things work properly. So if your levels are high, or if they’re low, they can be leveled out using adaptogens. Other adaptogens include ginseng, licorice, maca, and reishi.
Why are people taking it? Anxiety relief (woo hoo!), reduced inflammation in the body, enhanced fertility, brain function and immune benefits.
Where do I buy it? You want to make sure you are buying from a reputable brand, who tests their products for accuracy and truly are providing you with that they say they are. Transparency in supplement companies is a HUGE deal! Do your research, people. You also want to look for the scientific name (Withania somnifera) on the product you are purchasing. This is just another way to check for accuracy and make sure you are receiving the plant with full benefits. For ashwagandha, I have been told Star West Botanicals is the way to go.
How do I use it? Since this is a medicinal plant, you want to be very specific with your portions and intake in order to have enough to receive benefits or to not have too much to where it’s harmful. Most trials suggest about 1 gram/day to have benefits! You can get these benefits from FOOD. How cool is that.
“Okay so I bought it and know how much but how do I eat this stuff…”
Well, I’m glad you asked. I was shown how to make these ashwagandha energy bites during my time at American Botanical Council. Lemme tell you, these are GOOD. The flavor of Ashwagandha is hard to hide (hint, don’t try it in a smoothie), but I’ve created a few recipes that are great to eat on their own here on my website! They energy bites also make a great pre or postworkout snack, if you’re in to that. Or just a great lil sweet for daily use and BIG benefits. My suggestion, add even more ghee or grass fed butter for a less dry, more satisfying (in terms of keeping you full…okay and happy) product.