Adaptogens are plant foods recognised for their rebalancing effect on the body. An adaptogen doesn’t have a specific effect on the body as such. What it does is support the body in healing where the body needs it; an adaptogen goes to the weak areas of the body, and helps strengthen them. In doing so, adaptogens restore homeostasis in the body.
The main adaptogens that we work with are Aloe Vera, Maca, Reishi, Suma, Muira Puama, and Ashwaganda. Some of these you may be familiar with, others not. They come from ancient, well-established systems of medicine such as Chinese herbalism and Indian Ayurvedic medicine. They are all known for their abilities to restore hormonal imbalances, when taken over time.
For instance, you may have heard of Aloe Vera. You may have read that it’s good for the skin, the gut, and the hair. That it’s used to treat arthritis and rheumatism as well as eczema and asthma. That it has been known to give relief to patients with lupus, cancer and AIDS. And you may have wondered how one little plant can have so many uses. That’s because Aloe Vera itself doesn’t have a specific effect on the body. It is going to where the body needs it, and assisting the body in restoring full functionality.
Adaptogens are best taken in small amounts, over long periods of time. Just one teaspoon of Maca powder a day, or half a teaspoon of Ashwaganda powder, can have a great restorative effect and can increase the effect of supplemental hormones in your body. The adaptogens build core strength and are tonifying.
I would recommend starting with small doses such as half-1 tsp and try taking them for at least three months to give the body a chance to rebalance. Because you’re taking such small amounts, they are easy to mix into other foods such as porridge, yoghurt, or smoothies, and you should barely notice the taste!
Maca is perhaps the most famous adaptogen used in relation to hormones, and I would also recommend Ashwaganda and Reishi as being very potent. Maca is known as nature’s Viagra, and a natural alternative to HRT. I meet many, many women who swear by Maca for its strengthening, energising, and rebalancing properties. And unlike many supplements you may be taking, with Maca you really notice the difference. Most people feel the positive effects of Maca in the body straight away.
More women than probably realise it have hormone imbalances, due to pollution and toxicity in the environment, as well as having not corrected issues that may have occurred while being on the Pill, or during pregnancy. These natural plant foods can be life-changing and are a safe, holistic, and inexpensive way to put your body back on track and restore some of that youthful vigour that may be lost on our journeys as daughters, sisters, mothers and grandmothers!
Kate Magic is the author of 3 Raw Food recipe books, and Creative Director of Raw Living Ltd.