The Evening Standard called them the Superfood 2.0, an “ingredient that could raise energy levels, reduce stress and regulate your hormones”. Frequently mentioned in the media lately, adaptogens have become the new buzzword for health.
They are called adaptogens because they help the body “adapt” to stresses (physical, mental, environmental) in different situations such as a busy lifestyle, lack of sleep, mental pressure or physical stress. In the Far East, adaptogens have been used since thousands of years, for examples by soldiers during combats to improve stamina, strength and reflexes, and to speed up recovery.
Here are a selection of 5 herbs with adaptogenic activities:
1. Ginseng: Asian ginseng root is considered a potent adaptogen to increase mental alertness and resistant to stress. It is also known to enhance libido and help with erectile dysfunction.
2. Holy Basil: A herb from the mint family which is known for its anti-aging properties. This adaptogen is often used for skin care and to reduce acne. Can benefit a poor digestion.
3. Jujube: A red coloured berry, used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since thousands of years to help with anxiety and insomnia. It is known to support energy levels and help recovery. With a natural sweetness, the jujube is certainly the tastiest adaptogen.
4. Reishi: an edible form of fungus used for healing. This adaptogen is known to help fight infections and viruses, relieve food allergy symptoms, and halt tumour growth.
5. Rhodiola: A herb which helps the body dissolve excess cortisol and thus help calm and relax and yet increase alertness. An adaptogen used by athletes and Russian cosmonauts!
Herbs work best when boiled in a pot or infused in hot water to bring out the goodness. A popular Chinese recipe is chicken soup with jujube, ginseng, astragalus and goji, slow cooked for a very long time. However, if you are short on time, simply chew on some sweet and yummy jujube fruits as a snack! Find highest quality jujube here.
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