Plants can help us to better deal with the stress we are exposed to on a daily basis. Sometimes a chamomile tea or a bath with lavender oil can work wonders. But then there are plants (and other organisms) that have a very specific stress-reducing effect in our body and can therefore also help to 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, although modern studies often prove them to be effective. The term adaptogen is defined as biologically active plant compounds that are intended to help the organism adapt to increased physical and emotional stressful situations. Adaptogens have long been valued in both TCM and Ayurveda. There are also many adaptogens hidden among our natural products. These include these:
Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera, as its botanical name is, is one of the best-known adaptogenic plants in Ayurvedic medicine, having been used medicinally for more than 3,000 years and rich in chemical botanicals, can calm brain function, reduce swelling caused by infection, lower blood sugar levels and boost the immune system. Ashwaganda is also used to increase testosterone levels and male fertility, as well as gain muscle mass. The plant also has positive effects in the psychological area and can alleviate depression and strengthen memory. Also known as Indian ginseng, the small, evergreen bush is primarily used 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. Especially as a powder, the ground stem and roots of Ashwaganda find their way into the diet in a similar way to food supplements.
Unfortunately, the definition of adaptogenic plants leaves out an important group of organisms that can support our body in a variety of ways: fungi. One of the best known and most popular among medicinal mushroom experts is Cordyceps. While in truth there are many different species of Cordyceps, Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris are the most commonly used in the context of alternative medicine. The former has a long tradition in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but has not yet been 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 body and mind is Shatavari, a relative of asparagus known in biological jargon as Asparagus racemosus. This plant from India's Ayurvedic healing tradition also has secondary plant substances that increase mental performance and have an effect on the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Like other adaptogens, Shatavari roots also help against tiredness and fatigue. In addition, Shatavari is good for a balanced hormone balance and female fertility.
As one of the most popular medicinal mushrooms, the shiitake mushroom is a component of many dishes - it is particularly at home in Asian cuisine.There it is used a lot in soups - the 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 nutmeg
- some freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp coconut oil or ghee
- 1 tsp honey
Mix all the ingredients and heat up together. Enjoy in peace and let go of all stress.
Legal consumer information
German and European case law wants to protect consumers from supposedly misleading claims. The statements made here refer to the original Ayurvedic and TCM texts. This knowledge, which has been handed down for thousands of years, is based on experiences that are passed on from generation to generation. It should not be claimed that the products described here have any effect in the sense of western medicine. All products are dietary supplements; they are not medicines and have no medicinal effect. If you are ill and need medical care, please contact your doctor or pharmacist.