Plants can help us better deal with the stress we are exposed to every day. Sometimes a chamomile tea or a bath with lavender oil can work wonders. Then there are plants (and other organisms) that have a very specific stress-reducing effect in our bodies and can therefore also help strengthen the immune system. Adaptogens are primarily used in the world of alternative medicine and are often plants that have been passed down for many generations, but which also often prove to be effective in modern studies. The term adaptogen is defined as biologically active plant substances that are intended to help the organism adapt to increased physical and emotional stress situations, corresponding to the English word for adapt.Adaptogens have long been valued in both TCM and Ayurveda. There are also a lot of adaptogens hidden among our natural products. These include, among others, these:
Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera, as its botanical name is, is one of the most well-known adaptogenic plants in Ayurvedic medicine, which has been used for more than 3 years.It has been used as a medicinal plant for 000 years and is rich in chemical plant substances that can calm brain functions, reduce swelling caused by infections, lower blood sugar levels and strengthen the immune system. Ashwagandha is also used to increase testosterone levels and fertility in men, as well as gain muscle mass. The plant also has positive effects in the psychological area and can relieve depression and strengthen memory. The small, evergreen bush, also known as Indian ginseng, is used primarily in the context of Ayurvedic medicine in India and on the Asian continent, but is also increasingly being used around the world in the context of alternative and plant-based medicine. The ground stem and root of ashwaganda find their way into the diet, especially as a powder, similar to dietary supplements.
The definition of adaptogenic plants unfortunately leaves out an important group of organisms that can support our bodies in a variety of ways: fungi. One of the best known and most popular among medicinal mushroom experts is Cordyceps. While there are actually many different types of Cordyceps, Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris are particularly used in the context of alternative medicine. The former in particular has a long tradition in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but cannot yet be cultivated and is therefore not suitable for widespread consumption. In contrast, Cordyceps militaris is successfully cultivated on a large scale and has ensured that the fungus is now available globally. Known for its ability to increase physical performance, Cordyceps is also a brain booster and stress reliever that improves brain functions.
Another medicinal plant for the body and mind is Shatavari, a relative of asparagus, known in biological jargon as Asparagus racemosus. This plant from the Ayurvedic healing tradition in India also has secondary plant substances that increase mental performance and affect the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Like other adaptogens, Shatavari roots also help against tiredness and fatigue. Shatavari is also good for a balanced hormonal balance and female fertility.
As one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms, the shiitake mushroom is an ingredient in many dishes - it is particularly at home in Asian cuisine. There it is used a lot in soups - udon soup or miso soup with shiitake.Shiitake contains secondary plant substances, natural antioxidants and valuable amino acids and is also said to have an adaptogenic effect.
Recipe for Moon Milk, a traditional adaptogenic drink from India
- ½ 1 cup cow or other milk
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp Ashwaganda powder (or alternatively another adaptogenic plant like Shatavari)
- 2 pinches of cardamom
- 1 pinch of ginger powder
- 1 pinch of nutmeg
- some freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp coconut oil or ghee
- 1 tsp honey
Mix all ingredients and warm together. Enjoy in peace and let all stress go.
Legal consumer information
German and European case law wants to protect consumers from supposedly misleading claims about effectiveness. The statements made here refer to the original Ayurvedic and TCM texts. This ancient knowledge, which is thousands of years old, is based on experiences that are passed on from generation to generation. It is not intended to claim that the products described here have an effect in the sense of western medicine. All products are nutritional supplements; they are not medications and have no medical effect. If you are sick and need medical care, please contact your doctor or pharmacist.