Adaptogens are non-toxic plants and herbs that have the medicinal action of being adrenal and nervous system tonics, meaning they help your body systems adapt to stress of all kinds (physical, chemical, or biological). This medicinal action on your adrenal glands is similar to what exercise does for your muscles – it enables more effective coping with stress.
Adaptogenic herbs have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine for centuries, and are wildly popular in today’s world of wellness. These plants, roots, and herbs can be taken in supplementary form, as powders, and in raw plant form in some cases! You can add adaptogens to just about anything: soups, salad dressings, smoothies, even your everyday coffee.
Among the adaptogen family are the medicinal mushrooms- my absolute favorite of the functional foods. As far as I am concerned, medicinal mushrooms have superpowers. Mushrooms contain potent antioxidant and neuroprotective properties, help the body to fight off viruses, and balance the immune system. Some mushrooms can calm the nervous system while other mushrooms can be used to give a boost in mental energy and increase cognitive function while simultaneously lessening the effects of stress on the body.
Medicinal mushrooms are among the easiest functional foods to work into your everyday routine, because it is as simple as adding them to your morning coffee! Mushrooms can be bought in various blends with other herbal adaptogens, as straight mushroom blends, or as single mushroom powders that would be added into the coffee just like (or instead of?) sugar. Mushrooms are also alkali-rich foods, meaning they make your coffee less acidic, and therefore easier on your digestive system. Do you normally get an upset stomach after a cup of coffee? Try mushroom coffee, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Not a coffee drinker? Try adding the mushrooms into hot chocolate, or a smoothie! The mushrooms will change the flavor of your beverage slightly, but who ever said change was a bad thing? Some mushrooms, especially Chaga and Tremella, are well known for having pleasant flavors that are sought after for daily health tonics!
I know from personal experience, as well as from feedback from friends and clients that a daily dose of adaptogens in the form of a morning mushroom coffee is a game changer, and is an indispensable part of my daily routine. The effects of mushroom can be felt, and missed if you forget to add your mushies one day (hello caffeine jitters and afternoon crash!)
For extra brain power in your daily cup of joe, try adding Chaga, Lions Mane, Cordycepts, or all three! Looking for an evening elixir to help you sleep? Try a hot cacao with Reishi. Pre-mixed packets of instant mushroom coffee can be purchased from various grocery stores (such as Four Sigmatic). If choosing to buy a supplement form and create your own mushroom elixirs, remember that not all supplements are created equal and it is best to be referred to a professional grade product by a Practitioner.
Written by: Quinn Ponton, CNP