Adaptogens are plants known in the herbal medicine world for their healing powers. More specifically, these powerful herbs help us respond to stressors by recharging our adrenal glands and changing our cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that, when elevated, can lead to chronic stress, which is why adaptogens help us relax.
Feeling stressed? Check out this list of the most common adaptogens utilized to lower and regulate cortisol levels and decrease symptoms of stress, as well as some recipes to help you introduce them into your diet!
1. Ginseng: Known for improving mental performance and decreasing fight-or-flight reactions
Recipe: Chicken Ginseng Soup
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons diced peeled fresh ginger
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 cups water
- 3 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chicken broth
- 3 cups fresh or frozen yellow corn
- 4 bags ginseng tea or 2 sliced ginseng roots
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic cloves; sauté 2 minutes.
- Add chicken; sauté 4 minutes.
- Add water and broth; bring to a boil.
- Stir in corn and ginseng tea; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Ashwagandha: great for individuals with anxiety
Recipe: Ashwagandha Chocolate
- 1/4 cup Ashwaganda powder
- 1/4 cup maca powder
- 1-2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt in a bowl1/2 cup coconut butter
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 1/2 cup hemp butter
- Mix all ingredients, and pour the mixture into a silicon mini-muffin tray or chocolate mold.
- Place in the freezer to set.
- Store in a cool place.
3. Holy Basil: helps fight fatigue, stress, and regulates blood sugar and hormone levels
Recipe: Thai Holy Basil Chicken
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped Thai chile pepper
- 8 ounces ground chicken breast
- 1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon sweet soy sauce (optional)
- 1/3 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup Thai holy basil
- Steamed jasmine rice
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok at high heat. Stir in the chopped garlic and cook until it is golden brown. Add the Thai chile pepper and stir well.
- Add the ground chicken and cook it just halfway done. Reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms, fish sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, sweet soy sauce, and chicken stock. Mix well.
- When all the ingredients are cooked, add the red bell pepper and the Thai holy basil. Mix well and season to taste with salt. Serve over steamed jasmine rice.
4. Astragalus: increases anti-stress compounds in our bodies and prevents extreme bouts of stress
Recipe: Immune Soup
- 8 cups water
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bulb garlic (at least 10 cloves), minced
- One 1 1⁄2 inch piece of fresh gingerroot grated
- 1 1⁄2 cups salted vegetable soup stock
- 5 pieces sliced dried Astragalus Root
- 2 cups fresh, sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon reishi mushroom powder
- Bring water to boil in large pot. Heat olive oil, sauté garlic, onions, and ginger until soft and aromatic. Add contents of skillet to water. Add broth, shiitake, astragalus, and reishi powder. Simmer covered for two hours.
- Remove from heat, allow to sit for two more hours. Remove astragalus and reishi mushrooms. Reheat.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and cayenne powder if desired.