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I’ve been talking a lot about adaptogens over on my instagram. I truly feel a lot of mamas could use adaptogens in their life. Motherhood is stressful. The constant emotional stress of *am I screwing my kid up for this?* The physical stress of lack of sleep, breastfeeding, and carrying babies. The MENTAL STRESS of making all the decisions all the time? We need adaptogens to get us on an even playing field. Will adaptogens “cure” anxiety, depression, overwhelm, brain fog, etc? No. But it will put you in a place where you’re able to make the changes you need to with a calmer, clearer mind and more natural energy.
Now I know adaptogen is a total buzz word now. And let me tell you, there are some companies really using the term loosely (I’ve seen some “adaptogen drinks” that do not contain even ONE adaptogen). And I’ve had a couple friend’s ask how to get started with adaptogens. So I made a quick blog post about it over here. Like I always say, “I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be. And I’m not your herbals (unless I am). So it is your responsibility to check with your healthcare provider before starting a herbal regimen. Some herbs interact with medications.”
The term adaptogen was introduced into scientific literature by Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev in 1957 to refer to substances that increase the “state of non-specific resistance” in stress. Meaning, what exactly? Well KP Khalsa did a great job of breaking this down, "The modern herbal understanding is that adaptogenic herbs are nontoxic, safe plants that exert a generalized, normalizing, balancing influence on the body- they help they body to cope with stress and enhance immunity."
Sounds amazing, right? So how do you get started with adaptogens?
Well my most favorite and easiest way is to check out Rasa. Rasa is a mom owned company out of Boulder, CO that makes adaptogenic blends. Now not all of these blends are safe for breastfeeding and NONE of them are safe if you are on an anticoagulant, heart medication, or immunosuppressive medications. But, if you're generally healthy and breastfeeding, their OG, Cacao, and Dirty are totally fine. These blends are made to give you natural energy with no crash, to replace your coffee, to help modulate your stress, and to help your body cope with daily life. I've been drinking the Cacao blend for nearly 3 years now.
But you say, Amanda, I don't like the taste, I can't make and drink something daily, is there something else? Well, yeah there is. There's tinctures, capsules, other tea blends, etc. But adaptogenic formulas are not a one size fits all. For instance, rhodiola should not be taken by people who have bipolar, specifically manic, episodes. Reishi can mess with blood clotting. Ashwagandha, in some people causes tachycardia (rapid heart rate). Not all products labeled as "adaptogens" are! Some have absolutely no adaptogens in them at all! And to you I say, meet with a herbalist.
I know, I know, you were hoping for a cheap DIY take it and be done with it. But I can tell you after looking at what's on the market, and knowing you have to take adaptogens for 3 -6 weeks to even begin feeling the benefits, adding herbs into your life without knowing how each one works and how it will help... just won't help. But if you aren't up for the studying and the legwork to figure it out, that's okay! Herbalists are trained to do just that!
If you are up for the studying and leg work here are my favorite resources:
Okay, I have to plug myself first. I'm hosting an Adaptogens for Motherhood workshop this weekend 1/22 at 11 AM EST if you want to learn from me here is the link!
My favorite adaptogen book: Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston
A great article on adaptogens by Aviva Romm, MD
My podcast on adaptogens that I did last year
I hope this is helpful and not TOO disappointing. If you’re a postpartum mama and want to add adaptogens into your life I would love to work with you! You can book with me here and we can go in depth on which ones are best for YOU.
If you’re interested in Rasa I am an affiliate. You can check them out here and use my discount code: TREEMAMAHERBALS for 10% off.