Adaptogens will be the super herbs on all our lips in 2020. This week, we bring you a 5-day video series about their benefits from former model-turned-health-coach Katrine Van Wyk, author of new book Super Powders. Today, adaptogens for stress and anxiety
If you’ve never heard of adaptogens, get ready to be hearing a lot about them in the next 12 months. These are botanical herbs and foods that, when taken as foods, powders, pills and potions in concentrated doses have the power to adapt to our bodies’ needs, during times of stress.
I have used adaptogens in my practice for years with incredible results, and I am delighted to have collaborated with Healthista TV on a series of educational videos on how adaptogens can help with different common conditions.
Today, I am talking about the best adaptogens for stress and anxiety. Tomorrow, I will be talking about adaptogens for glowing skin. Wednesday we’re covering depression, Thursday, sleep and Friday the immune system.
Adaptogens for stress and anxiety
Adaptogens have the ability to help decrease the amount of cortisol, that’s the stress hormone, released by the body.
Over time, that means you’ll feel less stressed out, reactive and tense. All adaptogens will have a beneficial effect on the body’s ability to handle stress but some are especially helpful during times when you’re feeling anxious, overwhelmed and under pressure.
Ashwagadha, an ancient Indian Ayurvedic herb is a personal favourite of mine. Both calming and energising, it helps stimulate the thyroid gland, which is essential for mood while also supporting the adrenal glands which release the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin, making you less reactive and jumpy. Try Organic Ashwaghanda £16.95 from Boots.
#2 Mucuna pruriens
Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume native to Africa and tropical Asia and is another favourite of mine. It is also known as the dopamine bean as it contains L-dopa, which is a precursor to dopamine – the pleasure hormone that makes you feel all buzzy and tingly when something good happens.
So having more of that flowing around your body is going to help improve your mood overall. Try Now Foods Dopa Mucuna £13.95 from Amazon.
#3 Reishi Mushrooms
The reishi mushroom, also known as Ganoderma lucidum and lingzhi, is a fungus that grows in various hot and humid locations in Asia
While the mushrooms can be eaten fresh, it is also common to use powdered forms of the mushroom or extracts that contain these specific molecules.
It works well for people who are dealing with anxiety, as it calms and nourishes the body by having a calming affect on the nervous system. It is also one of the most studied plants in the world.
It also has wonderful benefits on the immune system, energy levels and can help you get an excellent night’s sleep. Try Organic Reishi Vegan Capsules £16.10 from Amazon. Reishi mushroom can also be taken as a hot drink – look for products buy Four Sigmatic Foods such as Four Sigma Reishi Mushroom Elixir Mix with Tulsi (Box of 20 Sachets) £17.70 from Amazon.
Katrine Van Wyck is the author of new book Super Powders, as well as Best Green Drinks Ever and Best Green Eats Ever. A certified health coach, wellness consultant and yoga teacher, she has been featured in Vogue, MindBodyGreen, Refinery 29, Well + Good, Be Well, Forbes and PureWow. She moved to New York from Norway as a model and later received her nutrition training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
Katrine has trained with Dr. Frank Lipman at his practice in Manhattan, The Eleven Wellness Center. As part of Dr. Lipman’s team of health coaches, Katrine has helped to guide his high–profile patients through dietary changes that also fit their demanding and busy lives. Katrine lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.
Super Powders by Katrine Van Wyk is out 26th February (Countryman Press, £14.99)