by Violet Green
Phew! 2016 is finally over. The beginning of the calendar year often marks the end of a stressful holiday season. Sometimes we’re feeling drained from all of the holiday fun and running around, which is often exacerbated by sugar-filled, yummy homemade goodies or drinks that we’ve shared with friends and family. You might notice you’re feeling some residual brain fog or a bit run-down physically. You might even resolve to increase your sleep, improve your nutrition, and move more to get back to a feeling of harmony within your body. There’s a wonderful class of herbs to help you through this process in a soothing way – adaptogens.
Don’t think about undergoing an extreme detox, but rather a gentle shifting supported by plants. Adaptogens are herbs that help to balance hormones and regulate stress in our bodies to bring us back into equilibrium. You’ve heard about the stress hormone cortisol that our body produces in response to stress (good and bad), right? Well, it’s truly helpful if we need it in emergency situations – fight or flight – but, too much of it can put a load on our bodies. This might cause fatigue and lower your immune response. Adaptogens are strong in their support, yet mild in effect so you feel nurtured as you’re steered onto a healthier path.
One of the easiest ways to include adaptogens in your daily life is to add them to food or make tea from them. I love popping 12 to 15 pieces of sliced, dried astragalus root into my soup or rice during the cooking process. I just discard the pieces before eating since they’re quite woody. As I try to increase my water intake to help my body remove toxins and re-hydrate, I sometimes sip on a simple tea of tulsi (holy basil) and gotu kola leaves, which are readily-available at most stores in the tea section. You can add a bit of licorice root (another adaptogen) if you’ve got a sweet tooth, but avoid it if you tend towards elevated blood pressure. Continue eating and drinking these helper herbs as you gradually shift back into balance. Remember to treat yourself with kindness during this process and say yes to napping, self-care, and joy.
I like to think of the coming year as a fresh start to add more flow to my days and to spend more time with the people that I love. Adaptogens will help me on this journey of balance and to ensure smooth sailing for the months ahead. Hip hip hooray for adaptogens!
Category: Health & Fitness