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Over the last year, I have become fascinated with herbs. While I have always believed in healing with herbs and natural remedies, it was in the last year that I really started to take it all to heart, and just in the last couple months that I have started doing some serious research. I have been checking out countless herb books from the library. I’m thankful that my public library has an amazing selection, and what they don’t have, they can easily obtain for me from local and regional colleges and universities. I love the library! In addition, I’m grateful that I have several friends who are herbalists and they’ve been kind enough to let me pick their brains too!
One of the books that I checked out is called “Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief“. This book was recommended to me by my friend Jessica Aveni, who writes the Natural Health and Prevention website and is also studying to become an herbalist. We are in several groups together and she is always tossing out great tidbits of information. She recommended this book in one of the groups we are in and I immediately checked it out from the library. As soon as I got home, I knew that I had to have a copy of my own, as this was not a book that I could just read and return. It was one that I needed to keep on hand for constant reference. I hopped on Amazon and immediately purchased a copy.
Adaptogens are an important part of my healing journey, because I am dealing with the super common trifecta of health issues – thyroid, adrenal, and blood sugar. All three are part of the endocrine system, and all are so intertwined with one another that you simply cannot fix one without addressing the others. All three areas must be managed and treated as a whole system, rather than just individual parts, which is how most Western doctors treat. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here about my specific issues and how I am treating them, but adaptogens are one of the classifications of herbs that I have been doing a lot of research on and this book has been an amazing resource. You can also read my healing journey posts here.
About the Authors
“Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief” was written by David Winston and Steven Maimes. They have put together a resource that will be a great resource for anyone who is interested in adaptogens, no matter if you are just starting out on your herbal research or if you are already an experienced practitioner. A little about the authors:
David Winston RH is an American herbalist and ethnobotanist. He has been in practice and teaching since 1977 and has written several books on the subject. He works in the Cherokee, Chinese and the Western eclectic herbal traditions. Winston is a founding/professional member of the American Herbalists Guild, and is a founding advisory board member of United Plant Savers. He serves as visiting faculty at the Tai Sophia Institute. He is the founder and dean of the Center for Herbal Studies. Source.
Steven Maimes is a researcher, freelance writer, philosopher, and principal of SALAM Research in Rochester, New Hampshire (www.salamresearch.com). He has done much research on health-related topics includes natural medicine, hepatitis C and herbal adaptogens. Business research includes competitive, market and media intelligence. Source.
What Are Adaptogens?
According to the authors,
“Adaptogens are remarkable natural substances that help the body adapt to stress, support normal metabolic function, and help restore balance.”
Adaptogens are unique in that, over time, they can help increase our resistance to stress, whether it be emotional, physical, biological, or environmental. They specifically help restore balance to the endocrine system and hormones, as well as help modulate the immune system and help the body return to and maintain homeostasis (balance).
Knowledge about adaptogens is nothing new, with use dating back thousands of years to ancient China and India. However, today, due to the increasing awareness of issues like adrenal fatigue and the growing interest in herbs, adaptogens are now becoming more mainstream as people look for holistic ways to treat today’s modern afflictions.
An Overview of the Book
Over the last few months, I have checked out countless herbal books, reference guides, etc. from the library. I found that I really had to sort through a lot of them to find ones that resonated with me. Some of them were written in a style that I just didn’t like and some of them were just too in-depth or complicated for me to understand. Many of them were written for the already experienced herbalist and since I am just starting out, I need to learn the basics and then dive off into the more complex. The adaptogens book was one that really stood out. Not only does it present information that is of great interest to me right now, but it presents it in a manner that is easy for me to understand. Even if you don’t have a ton of background on herbs, you will still be able to read and understand the information provided in the book. You will also feel empowered to implement herbs into your life. My friend Lori, who is also a clinical herbalist, always says that the hardest thing to do is to get people to actually take the herbs. You can explain the benefits until you’re blue in the face, but if people don’t implement the herbs into their daily routine, there won’t be any improvement. This book provides an avenue to help you become more comfortable with adaptogens and hopefully encourage you to start incorporating herbs into your every day life.
For me, this was not a book that I sat down and read cover to cover, though you certainly could do that. I found that I preferred to jump around and first read the chapters that stood out to me the most, and then go back and read the other chapters later. It is written in a fashion that makes both strategies possible.
The book is divided into three parts:
Part One: Herbal Adaptogens
- How herbal medicine is used around the world.
- An overview of adaptogens
- History of Adaoptgens
- Actions of Adaptogens
- Adaptogens and the Stress Response
- Health Benefits of Adaptogens
Part Two: Materia Medica
- Monographs on Adaptogens
- Nervines: Complementary Herbs for Adaptogens
- Nootropics: Complementary Herbs for Adaptogens
Part Three: Herbal Adaptogens in Use
- The Clinical use of Adaptogens
- Adaptogenic Herbs in Combination
- Adaptogens as Food
- Adaptogens for Animals
I read Part Two first, followed by Part Three, and then Part One last. That was just the way my brain wanted to flow, so I went with it.
While I already knew a tiny bit about adaptogens, just from some preliminary research I had done when I first started out on my healing journey, there was tons that I didn’t know. Some of the things that I LOVE about this book are:
- The information is written so that it’s easy to understand, no matter your skill level.
- You get a full breakdown of each adaptogenic herb, including history, how it’s used today, how to use for yourself, dosage suggestions, and more
- Because many herbs function better when they work together with other herbs, you get a section that teaches you how to use complimentary herbs with your adaptogens, including dosage and safety ratings on those herbs.
- You get recipes and learn different ways that you can incorporate herbs into your everyday life, without having to give it a lot of thought.
- The information is not overwhelming — it’s empowering!
I love that the interest in herbs in America is skyrocketing right now. People are becoming more and more interested in alternative medicine and wanting to use holistic forms of treatment for whatever issues they may be dealing with. While this book does help you learn ways that you can start using herbs today, no matter your experience level, it is also important to remember that there is nothing like working with a trained herbalist, or other professional practitioner. They have the schooling and the experience to really help you get to the root of any issue you are facing. They know how to work with your specific needs, constitution, personality, etc., in order to develop a treatment plan that will work for you. While herbs are amazing and there’s a lot we can do on our own, having the assistance of an expert is often an important aspect of healing.
I am also sharing more of my journey and experience with adaptogens in my adaptogen profile series. You can find all of those posts here.
Supporting a Your Stress Response, Adrenals, Thyroid, and Whole Body Through Herbs
When it comes to supporting overall wellness, herbs are a great tool to have in your toolkit, especially those who may be dealing with chronic illness of some type. Since 2009, when I started this site, I have met thousands upon thousands of people through my work and by far, the #1 health complaints are:
- adrenal fatigue (or adrenal dysfunction of some sort) (click here to read all of my adrenal health articles)
- thyroid disorders (hypo-, hyper-, or autoimmune) (click here to read all of my thyroid health articles)
Because of this, I wanted to add in a section into this post about the benefit of using herbs with chronic illness. Adaptogens are by far one of the most used herbs when it comes to working with people who have low energy, fatigue, and overall imbalance in the endocrine system (thyroid, adrenals, and blood sugar).
While the benefits of adaptogenic herbs extend far beyond just supporting that one system, this tends to be one of the main reasons people turn to adaptogenic herbs in the first place. That said there are a lot of other herbs out there that offer amazing support for the body, especially those dealing with chronic illness which is why I wanted to share this section today.
If you are dealing with any type of chronic illness, I’m sorry to break it to you, but caffeine may not be your best friend. 🙁 While you can find lots of info online in both the pro- and the anti-coffee camps, the fact of the matter comes down to the fact that are a lot of people dealing with chronic illness, especially thyroid and adrenal problems, that simply cannot tolerate coffee and caffeine.
While those with sluggish adrenal glands tend to feel run down and in need of a regular pick-me-up (like coffee and other caffeinated beverages), in the long run, caffeine can do more harm than good while you are healing. I go into the “whys” around caffeine and your adrenals in this detailed post here. In addition to the caffeine, there are other constituents, molds, and mycotoxins that can show up in coffee that some people find they react to and can further exacerbate the toxic load on the body.
When I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and adrenal fatigue, one of the first things that had to go was coffee. In addition to dealing with these issues, we suspected that I was having some detox pathway sluggishness so we wanted to also focus on supporting the liver and lymph systems. Most people who are dealing with chronic illness are also going to have issues with detoxification of the body, which is why herbs can play such an important role.
To be honest, I never drank coffee because of the caffeine. I drank coffee for the taste and aroma, as well as the emotional experience I felt to my morning cup of joe. For me, it was a ritual that I looked forward to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). Whether I was brewing it at home or going to my local coffee shops, the experience was one that I clung to tightly.
But, when I was faced with new health struggles, I knew I had to do whatever I could to support my body and give it the tools it needed to heal. Giving up coffee and caffeine was one step in this direction.
And it sucked.
I turned to the coffee substitutes on the market in a desperate attempt to recreate the ritual I had grown so fond of, but nothing ever tasted the way I wanted it to. Nothing ever gave me that same experience that my cup of “real” coffee did. I knew there had to be something better, but I simply could not find it on my health food store’s shelves.
Necessity is the mother of invention so that is why I created my own coffee substitutes. They were made with organic, sustainably harvested herbs with zero grains, zero gluten, and zero caffeine. Just herbs.
Herbs that not only tasted delicious but supported my body’s function, like liver detox, bile production, digestion, etc. All of the herbs used in my “coffee” blends have been used for thousands of years to support the body’s normal functions and help everything work a little better — something we all need in today’s toxic world! (psst, dandelion is one of the herbs!)
When it came to creating these blends, if I could get something to not only tasted amazing (and helped me recreate my dearly loved ritual), but also did amazingly supportive things for my body, then it’s a no brainer!
I sold these pre-made blends on Etsy for awhile and the demand was more than I could keep up with. People literally LOVED these blends and were stunned at how much like coffee they actually tasted. Customers who had been dealing with a variety of chronic illnesses had given up coffee to heal their bodies, but like me were deeply missing their morning cup of joe ritual.
After careful consideration and work with some highly experienced advisors, I decided to stop selling the pre-made blends and instead share my proprietary recipes in the form of an eBook. That way I could arm people with the knowledge and recipes they needed to make their own caffeine-free, gluten-free, grain-free blends in the comfort of their own home.
That is why I created the best-selling DIY Herbal Coffees eBook: A Complete Guide To Making Delicious Herbal Coffees to Support Healing & Stress Relief.
Now in its second edition, this ebook features:
- All of my proprietary herbal blend recipes to you can craft a homemade herbal cup of “coffee” at home.
- A ton of researched information about coffee’s impact on the health of those dealing with issues like adrenal fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, and any other chronic illness.
- Information about all of the herbs used, why I selected them, how to source them, how to prepare and store you “coffees”, and much more.
- Access to your own personal coffee shop where I show you how to recreate your favorite coffee shop drinks and pastries with wholesome, nourishing real food ingredients. No junk here. Only real food.
This book truly is a comprehensive guide to supporting your health, reducing your stress, and bringing a little something special back into your healing journey. You can learn more and download your own copy of this revolutionary wellness guide here, or simply click on the image below.