Adaptogens seem to be every where and not just in your smoothie. You might find them in a latte, tea, supplements, beauty products, or your hot chocolate. So, it might leave you wondering what are adaptogens? If you aren’t familiar with what an adaptogen is, it might sound like it’s coming out of a sci-fi movie or something straight from a Transformers cartoon. You might be surprised to find out that some adaptogens have been used for thousands of years for recovery, vitality and longevity.

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are plants that help your body respond, or adapt, to physical and mental stressors. Your body’s response to stress is important because it helps you survive but if your body has been in stress overdrive because of the realities of modern-day life, then it can alter your stress response. Adaptogens aren’t harmful and they won’t cause your body to react in a way they wouldn’t normally. They help normalize your function by supporting the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and immune-neuro-endocrine system. Adaptogens might help lower your cortisol if it’s high but won’t prevent your body from making needed cortisol.

They are generally safe for everyone, but it is recommended you discuss talking to a proficient provider to see how adaptogens can support your wellness regimen. They also aren’t a magic bullet. If you are experiencing symptoms of stress, then it’s important to dig to find causes of stress to remove them.

There is no magic herb that is going to fix your problem; especially since the same symptoms can have different causes. The body is like a Swiss watch with all the different gears impacting the other gears.   I do recommend certain adaptogens more because they have a lot of the constituents many people need to help fuel repairs to the body.

So, what are adaptogens I really like? Here’s 4 that are helpful for many people.

4 Common Adaptogens

1 – Astragalus – This is my favorite herb. I love this herb for feeding the immune response and the many other reasons to love this life changing herb. There are 126 different components in this herb and is one of the most component dense herbs on the planet. It helps with DNA repair and lengthening to help with longevity.  There is still so much to know about how they work together to buffer the effects of stressors. What we do know is this herb can not only support your immune response but also adrenal function, digestive function, blood sugar metabolism, and many other benefits.

Learn more about the benefits astragalus in this video with Dr. Patrick Flynn:

2 – Ashwagandha – This is probably one of the more popular adaptogens out there right now. It has a lot to love about it. This powerful adaptogenic herb not only supports the stress response but also the HPA axis along with immune system function.  Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce stress, help you sleep, improve memory and increase energy. You won’t find this one in our recipes. This herb is known for its bitterness and is better taken as a tincture or in a capsule.

3 – Chaga –  Medicinal mushrooms are potent adaptogens and chaga is the king of mushrooms. Medicinal mushrooms have been thoroughly researched for the various ways they can support a healthy body and homeostasis. Chaga mushrooms are anti-inflammatory and help modulate your immune system. I recommend medicinal mushrooms to everyone and that starts with chaga.

Want to know more about medicinal mushrooms and chaga? Check out this video:

4 – Maca – This superfood is also an adaptogen. Maca root grows high in the Andes Mountains, adapting to many stresses and helping make it a powerful adaptogen. It is known for increasing fertility and libido. It has many other benefits because it is packed with minerals and phytonutrients. Learn more about the benefits of maca to find out why this nutty herb should be in your smoothie.

6 Healthy Recipes with Adaptogens

Chunky monkey smoothie recipe

  1. Happy Hormone Chunk Monkey – If your hormones are happy, it’s a lot easier to be happy. This take on the chunky monkey smoothie has hormone supporting ingredients including maca root.
  2. Chocolate Dream Smoothie – This smoothie is loaded with protein, healthy ingredients and amazing cacao powder. It is the perfect smoothie to add the immune-supporting adaptogen, chaga.
  3. Chavocado Mousse – This healthy, adult version of pudding has no sugar or dairy. It’s a great dessert with healthy fats that also includes the king of mushrooms.
  4. Tymberlyn’s Collagen Latte – Kick start your day and your immune system with this bone broth latte that has chaga and so many healthy benefits.
  5. Dark Chocolate Cherry Bites – Eating healthy can also be tasty and these bites prove it! Dark chocolate is so good for you and these bites that include maca are perfect for a romantic date.
  6. Happy Day Coffee – This coffee is the perfect replacement for your sugary coffee shop addiction. The maca adds a nice nutty butterscotch flavor.

Your Adaptogen Arsenal

So, what are adaptogens and what aren’t they? Adaptogens are a great tool to support your healthy lifestyle and their components combine together to help your body rebuild and repair. Stress is everywhere and adaptogens can help your body’s response. Remember though, there is no magic bullet that can make it okay to constantly stress your body. If you’re experiencing symptoms of stress, it’s important to find the causes and remove them.

Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn