We all deal with stress every day, and every day our bodies strive to adapt and stay balanced and healthy. Adaptogens are rejuvenating herbs that help the body to "adapt" to the many influences it encounters. In brief, they may:
Most adaptogens are regarded as tonic herbs, and fall midway between being classed as foods or medicines. They have been used for hundreds of years in the East, particularly China, Russia, and India, and have come to be recognised and used in the West over the last 50 or so years. We have put together 3 key adaptogens, all of which are from the East, and have been using them extensively to help people regain or maintain a sense of optimal wellness. A top way of extracting the maximum benefit from these herbs is to cook them long and slow in a broth. We've got two recipes here - one for carnivores and one for veggies.
Place the whole lot in a large pot or, preferably, a slow cooker. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer or slow cook on 'low' for minimum 12 hours. You could also cook in a covered casserole dish in an oven warm enough to maintain the liquid at a slow simmer. After 12 hours strain off the liquid and store in a tall cylindical container. By the time it gets cold the fats will have risen to the top and solidified, and can simply be removed and saved for use in cooking. The remaining stock will be jellified, and can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Drink one or two mug fulls per day, adding salt and other seasonings to taste. You can also use this as a the basic stock for stews to be consumed during the rest of the week. You should end up in total with a couple of litres of delicious adaptogenic broth. Drinking a mug of this piping hot feels like the elixir of life itself.
Slow cook for 12 hours, using any of the methods mentioned in the omnivore's version above, spooning off any scum at points along the way. Leave to cool slightly before straining through a sieve. The stock will keep in the fridge for up to one week, or can be frozen. Although if you drink at least one mug per day you won't have enough for freezing as well. Add salt and other seasonings to taste.
For further information about adaptogens American herbalist, David Winston, has written a great book Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief.
A Chinese root herb used to help strengthen the immune system and as a general tonic for fatigue and low appetite.
An ayurvedic herb, where it has a reputation for stimulating the mind, enhancing vigour and sexual prowess as well as for its recuperative powers.We use the dried root.
Otherwise know as Siberian Ginseng, is one of the original adaptogens studied by Russian scientists for helping improve performance when under stress. We also use the root of this one.