Book Excerpt From “Adaptogens! Our Plant Partners For Peace In Changing Times”

Adaptogen Reishi Copy

“Reishi” Illustration©Marla Mazar-Carr

Adaptogens are herbs to help us adapt to stress when used as supplements in various extracts of tea, tinctures, tonics, and food. Used widely in China and India for thousands of years, the western world is now becoming more aware of the benefits and understanding the value of using them in our herbal traditions, truly just in time for the demands of the 21st century.

Depending on the herb and your need, they work bi-directionally, i.e., going where they are most needed, helping you adapt to the stressor you are experiencing. Most of the plants known as adaptogens have had to adapt to very challenging harsh environmental conditions to survive, exemplified by Rhodiola growing in some of our coldest regions in the world. Adaptogens bring a restorative and normalizing effect to us through their plant medicine.

These particular plants have been a godsend and a bridge to build our resilience to the challenges we face in modern life. A few examples of the way to use these herbs: Rhodiola, Schisandra, and Holy Basil for better brain focus, Eleuthero, Ashwaganda, and Chaga for balancing energy, Reishi and Astragalus for immune building, and Maca and Ashwagandha for their moistening effect and help during menopause. Please note, do not use all of them all the time; there are seasonal ones and remedial ones — some help a particular system and others are more general in effect. To find the right apoptogenic strategy for your needs can take you on an adventure of self-exploration; trying various plants as tonics and teas is an ideal way to start. In general, whether it be a tonic taken over the long term, a tincture for the short term, or a simple night-time tea that does the trick when stressors spike, take note of the effect and understand what a wonderful supplement adaptogens are to healthy food and lifestyle choices in supporting sustainable changes for your health.

Artist Marla Mazar-Carr asks us to “listen closely” in studying her graphite plant drawings, which are pictures of her conversations and deep attention paid to the plant. “Look closely to see micro worlds of beings, places and activities within the drawing, recording the messages of light and energy from the plant-human interaction. What more can we see and understand when we look closer and take the time to feel deeply?”

Herbalist Marie Frohlich writes, “Study the pages in this book and notice which plants jump out to you. Try the recipe provided and/or use that plant for a month and take notes of any changes. It is your time to ‘infuse,’ feel the transformation, and integrate the experience and connection to the magic and message of the plants.”

Reishi

“Simply said…go home. Home is where we all are.” — Reishi mushroom

Ganoderma tusuga

Mushroom Medicine

Called the “Herb of Good Fortune.” Reishi is known to bring on a sense of peace. In Chinese medicine it is known to support the liver, heart, lungs, and kidneys and is used for building the foundation of longevity, as well as protecting mind, body, and spirit. Reishi has an immune modulating effect, meaning it can regulate the immune system. It is found on dead Hemlock trees in the Northeast.

RECIPE: Morning Brew Boost

Using fresh slices or raw powder, simmer for at least 1 to 3 hours (with Chaga or other mushrooms in a crockpot). Add a ¼ cup to your morning tea or coffee with a bit of raw honey or maple syrup and enjoy before noon. Super immune boost in deep winter to chase away cabin fever.

 

Adapotgen Tulsi

Tulsi

“Beautiful sacred plant for women; holds us all.” — Tulsi plant

Ocimum sanctum

Leaf Medicine

Commonly known as Holy Basil, Tulsi is a revered plant in India that has found its way west. Like other basils, Tulsi reduces inflammation, improves digestion, and enhances respiratory health, but moves into a holistic realm by its power to revitalize and nourish the body, mind, and soul. A true goddess herb for all ages to enjoy as a tea, tonic blend, tincture, or powder.

RECIPE: Tulsi Tea Blends

For one cup bring 8 oz water almost to a boil.

Pour over 1 tsp of dry Tulsi leaves or 2 of fresh.

Steep for 3-5 minutes and strain.

Add a dash of honey and lemon, breathe in the aroma and enjoy the calm and splendor. Find other benefits by blending with lemon balm for calm, or green tea for energy.

Reprinted with permission of the authors from Adaptogens! Our Plant Partners for Peace in Changing Times © 2021 Marie Frohlich and Marla Mazar-Carr. Visit MarieFrohlich.com.

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