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  • Heather D.

Herbal Stress Relief with Adaptogens


Hericium erinaceus is an edible and medicinal mushroom belonging to the tooth fungus group. Native to North America, Europe and Asia it can be identified by its long spines, its appearance on hardwoods and its tendency to grow a single clump of dangling spines, according to Wikipedia.




Stress. We all have it in our lives, some of us more than others. And for those of us who may need some extra support after years of inadequate nutrition and/or opiate abuse, we are especially prone to becoming ill during times of excess stress. This is where adaptogens can help you fight against the stress monster!


"While some stress is necessary to keep your immune system sharp and help you stay alive in dangerous situations, prolonged, relentless stress can contribute to leaky gut, adrenal burnout, insomnia, heart disease, anxiety, and a plethora of autoimmune conditions. Unfortunately, our lives are fraught with ongoing stress from long hours at work, traffic, financial worries, and health issues. While we may not be able to avoid stress entirely, the key to minimizing its impact on your health is to learn how to manage and relieve your stress naturally," says Amy Myers M.D., a functional medicine expert who addresses complex issues at the root instead of covering them up with pharmaceuticals.


Some of the best adaptogens I've found are Lion's Mane, Reishi, Cordyceps, and Ashwagandha. In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing the benefits of these adaptogens, how you can mix them in with your kratom routine and how to make morning lattes that will rival your favorite coffee drink from Starbucks!


"When the body experiences stress (whether physical or mental), it diverts resources to the brain and skeletal muscles so we can flee whatever threat is being perceived. Depending on the severity, our heart-rate may increase, along with our blood pressure, our breathing speeds up, and digestion decreases. These can be life-saving measures in the face of a tiger, but do we really need to call in the cavalry because we missed a deadline at work?" says herbalist Abigail McShinsky.


So, just what the heck are adaptogens anyway? Well, as the name implies, adaptogens help your body adapt to stress. And in today's modern world with never-ending demands and expectations to always be "on" 24/7, it's a sorely needed solution.


"Cortisol is also known as the aging hormone. When cortisol levels rise, you experience the “fight or flight” response, which stimulates your sympathetic nervous system and your adrenal glands. When this occurs, there is a decrease in your digestive secretions and an increase in blood pressure. In normal life, you experience this response, your body and brain respond to the stressor, your cortisol levels even back out and your body adapts back to normal. However, people who experience the fight-or-flight responses on a regular basis, many times a day, may experience a state of constant stress, which can burn out your adrenal glands.


Long-term, chronic stress leads to adrenal fatigue and even more potentially dangerous problems, if left untreated.  While most researchers and doctors agree that an approach to reduce chronic stress is many-layered, I believe that one powerful approach to naturally relieving stress as well as reducing long-term cortisol levels is by using adaptogenic herbs," says Dr. Josh Axe, a leading naturopathic and functional medicine doctors.


I think we can all relate to the following scenario. You're stressed out from a long day at work and just want to go home, chill out, watch tv and zone out. But when it comes time to turn the tv off and go to sleep, your mind starts to race and won't turn off. Now you can't fall asleep. Eight hours later the alarm goes off and it's time to go all over again. Enter caffeine, which, honestly, is not your friend. Caffeine depletes your body of magnesium and many other important minerals, but I'll get into that in another post. But what most of us do is put the pedal to the metal and start guzzling the coffee which sends our adrenals into overdrive. This sends our endocrine system into freak out mode after sustained periods of time.


There has to be a better way.


Back in September I quit coffee (gasp!) and started drinking Reishi, Cordyceps and Lion's Mane with coconut milk instead of coffee for three months. The results were better sleep and more energy and I'm going to share my recipe with you here. Believe me, it was worth it!


And the best part is this all can be incorporated perfectly into your morning kratom routine. Personally, I love to take my first dose with Lion's Mane as it's great for brain health and can get you going!



LION'S MANE & REISHI CHOCOLATTE


Ingredients

1 cup coconut milk

1tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp Reishi powder

1/2 tsp Lion's Mane powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp sweetener


Instructions

Heat your coconut milk in the microwave for about one to one and a half minutes. Stir in the Reishi and Lion's Mane powder. Next, add your sweetener of choice. I use coconut creamer. You can use honey, stevia or whatever you prefer, but I don't recommend white sugar if you're trying to heal your adrenals.




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