Skip to content
FAST & FREE Delivery Over $45 How fast will I receive my order? ZIP Code: - Receive it More Info

Herbal Basics: Adaptogens 101

5 Min Read
Whole and sliced reishi mushroom
Updated on September 17, 2020

We can all agree that sometimes our natural rhythm falls out of step. We live in a world where it is easy to take on too much, flaring up stress, and leading to burn out. This is where we can utilize our plant allies to sync back up to life’s rhythm: that healthy swing from stress to rest. Lucky for us, nature offers an entire category of roots, leaves, berries, and fungi specifically for this purpose, and we call them adaptogens.

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are herbs that bolster the body’s ability to respond to occasional stress. While adaptogenic herbs have been found in formulations dating back thousands of years, the term itself is relatively new. In fact, “adaptogen” was coined in the 1940s by a scientist named Dr. Nikolai Lazarev in the Soviet Union. The intention was to find plants from all around the world that would help the body increase its resistance to stress. Adaptogens by definition are nonspecific, meaning they help the whole body be better equipped to handle stress under challenging circumstances. While these restorative plants are useful for occasional stress, adaptogens were initially researched to promote stamina for military, sports, and space programs. 

How to Take Herbal Adaptogens

Herbal adaptogens are some of the best for daily use as they are excellent at supporting healthy body functions over time. We’re talking about the long game here: herbs that work in a subtle yet powerful way to enhance your overall life experience. You might not ‘feel’ their effects instantly but when taken daily, adaptogen herbs can, over time, boost stamina and endurance, enhance one’s ability to adapt to periodic stress, restore mental alertness and support healthy immune system function.*

Whether you are seeking a bit more predictability in your daily energy cycles or a more easeful swing from stress to rest, incorporating adaptogenic herbs into your daily self-care routine can gently guide you towards your health and wellness goals.* Here are some of our favorite adaptogens:

Infographic of herbal adaptogens and their benefits

 

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum): Reishi’s rich, roasted cacao-like flavor transports you to a timeless forest where these ‘fruits’ indicate the passage of time. Their hard exterior may be a clue to reishi’s strengthening properties, as attempting to cut a reishi mushroom with a knife may pose a more damaging threat to the knife! Today, a good deal of research on reishi confirms its therapeutic potential due to the high concentrations of polysaccharide compounds called beta-glucans, which may be the reason that reishi is traditionally used to support immune function. Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to balance the mind, consciousness, and emotions, this grounded herb gently reminds us to center, breathe, and dig our toes deep into soft soil. For supporting healthy immune system function, try our Reishi Mushroom with Rooibos & Orange Peel tea.*

Eleuthero root (Eleutherococcus senticosus): Native to the East Siberia Taiga, and the northeastern provinces of China, eleuthero, erroneously known as Siberian ginseng, is a hearty shrub that enjoys the understory of pine forests. It entered the herbal supplement landscape when Soviet scientist Israel I. Brekham scoured the Taiga for an alternative to the powerful herb of longevity, Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng). Eleuthero was a more affordable and less stimulating option than Asian ginseng, and quickly took center stage as a choice adaptogen. Eleuthero’s immune boosting effect works over time when enjoyed daily. Used by athletes to push the fatigue threshold, you can imagine why this root plays such a vital role in supporting our innate adaptability. New to the shelves is our Hemp + Herb Metal Focus tea featuring eleuthero root.*

Schisandra berry (Schisandra spp.): In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), schisandra is known as wǔ wèi zi, or the “five flavor fruit,” as it contains all five tastes — bitter, pungent, salty, sour, and sweet. Because of its unique complexity in flavor, schisandra has been used for over 2,000 years to support the body’s natural detoxification processes, and as a powerful adaptogen to support liver, immune, nervous, and endocrine system function. Considered to have both mildly stimulating as well as calming effects on the central nervous system, this herb can support enhanced reflexes and work performance, while still attributing to a general feeling of ease.*

Goji berry (Lycium chinensis): Goji berries have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a nutritive tonic for the liver, kidneys, and blood. Rich in carotenoids and flavonoids, goji berries can support cardiovascular health, as well as healthy circulation throughout the body. We love cooking with goji berries, as they are one of our best adaptogen foods! Especially delicious and versatile when soaked, goji berries make a great addition to hot cereals, smoothies, and snack-attacks.*

Rhodiola root (Rhodiola rosea): Originating in the high-altitude mountainous areas across the northern hemisphere, rhodiola has a long and widespread history of use. Chinese emperors, Siberian traders, and Scandinavian vikings all sought out this precious root for its fabled claims to immortality, and its ability to support sustained mental and physical endurance. Found in Urban Moonshine’s Energy Tonic, rhodiola is an excellent daily companion to maintain a healthy, harmonic stress to rest swing.*

Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus): Known in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the “yellow leader,” astragalus root is one of our leading tonic herbs. High in immune-supportive polysaccharides, astragalus is great for supporting optimal immune function. The key herb in Urban Moonshine’s Immune Tonic, astragalus shines with other adaptogens and immune supportive herbs like reishi and maitake mushrooms, and codonopsis root.*

Ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera): A rewarding herb to grow in temperate climates, ashwagandha root is considered one of our more relaxing adaptogens, which makes it a top choice for supporting healthy sleep function. A clue to this beneficial function is in its Latin name, somnifera translating to “restful sleep.” It is traditionally believed that when taken over long periods of time, ashwagandha will give you the stamina and strength of a stallion. Ashwagandha is traditionally combined with molasses and milk to make an iron-rich preparation. The primary herb in Urban Moonshine’s Simmer Down Tonic, ashwagandha combines with milky oat tops, skullcap, and tulsi to create a synergistic nervous system support formula that is truly special.*

You Might Also Enjoy

Shop All
Popular
Chamomile & Lavender Tea Chamomile & Lavender Tea

Chamomile & Lavender Tea

This blend settles your nervous system when stressed and eases tension
Popular
Chamomile Tea Chamomile Tea

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile calms your nerves and supports healthy digestion

Cold Care P.M.® Tea

This blend promotes a good night's sleep and supports respiratory health
Popular
Cup of Calm® Tea Cup of Calm® Tea

Cup of Calm® Tea

This blend is calming and relaxing when you need it most
Popular
Echinacea Plus® Elderberry Tea Echinacea Plus® Elderberry Tea

Echinacea Plus® Elderberry Tea

This blend boosts the immune system

Echinacea Plus® Tea

This blend fires up the immune system

Hemp+Herb Mental Focus Guayusa Mint Tea

This blend helps support mental alertness

Hemp+Herb Stress Relief Chamomile Tea

This blend is calming and relaxing when you need it most

Immune Zoom® Elderberry Echinacea Tea

This blend supports immune function with the power of echinacea and elderberry

Immune Zoom® Lemon Ginger Tea

This blend supports immune function with the power of echinacea
Popular
Lemon Balm Tea Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon Balm calms the nervous system and supports digestion
Popular
Nighty Night® Extra Tea Nighty Night® Extra Tea

Nighty Night® Extra Tea

This blend will help you mellow out and relax with extra help from valarian root in our strongest sleep formula
Popular
Nighty Night® Tea Nighty Night® Tea

Nighty Night® Tea

This blend helps you relax and get a good night’s sleep

Related Articles

View All

3 Herbal Hacks for Mental Health

Big emotions are often natural reactions to very real challenges. Occasional stress, overwhelm and stretches of melancholy can feel scary. And yet, you’re not alone. We’ve all had seasons of...

Herbalist Tips for Healthy Skin

While clear, dewy skin is often a bit of good luck, long-term health is very much dependent on healthy habits. Herbalists use plants inside and out to nourish the skin,...

4 Ways to Soothe an Anxious Mind and Stomach

Have you ever had an anxious gut feeling about something or felt nervous and experienced butterflies in your stomach? These sensations emanating from your belly remind us that the brain...

After-Meal Drinks for Holiday Digestion

It’s the time of year when many of the simple joys of life become the heart and center of this season – spending time with family and friends, the coziness...

4 Ways to Improve Digestion with Herbs

Our gut works hard for us every minute of every day. When it is functioning properly, we hardly think twice about it. But the moment things go awry, it’s nearly...

Introducing Immune Zoom Lemon Ginger

Life can be busy, and while we try to stay prepared, sometimes we need extra support. This is when we turn to herbal allies that boost our immune system when...

Vegan Green Tea Matcha Ice Cream

Ice cream is the quintessential summer treat, and is even better when we can make it ourselves at home using whole food ingredients and an easy recipe that doesn’t require...

How to Become an Herbalist

Are you feeling called to explore the herbal path? Whether your intention is to begin a career in herbalism or simply to support the health and well-being of yourself and...

Herbal Podcasts for the Herb Nerd

Whether at home, road tripping, gardening, commuting or lounging at the beach, there’s always time to dive into the world of plant medicine, and herbal podcasts offer a convenient way...

How to Make the Perfect Herbal Sweet Tea

Nothing says summertime in the South like a tall, ice cold glass of sweet tea sipped on the porch during the buzzing heat of the day or enjoyed through warm,...

Hibiscus Iced Tea Spritzers

The beautiful hibiscus flower is the star of this refreshing recipe. Inspired by the ruby red drinks found at roadside stands in the tropics, we’ve created this bubbly Hibiscus Iced...

Stock Your Summer Apothecary

The smell of night-blooming jasmine, the sticky, moist air before an afternoon storm, the energizing midday sun, these are the quintessential signs of summertime. It’s the boldest of the seasons,...