Stress Less with Adaptogenic Ashwagandha, Perspectives from a Clinical Herbalist

Ingredients: Ashwagandha*, Schisandra*, Cacao nibs*, Tulsi holy basil (Rama, Vana and Krishna)*, Orange peel*, Passionflower*, Butterfly pea flower,  *organic.

Stress Less is crafted with support for your immunity and adrenal glands in mind!

Regular consumption of adaptogenic herbs enhances the body’s capacity to maintain balance in the midst of a variety of stressors, of which there are many!  Overexposure to stress hormones can cause serious and long-lasting disruptions to the body’s primary biochemical processes. Adaptogens support our adrenal cortex in responding to the stresses of our modern lifestyles. Certain phytochemicals in these herbs give both the mind and body a deep, sustaining energy.

The Western term “adaptogen” defines herbs that help “protect the body against physical, mental and emotional stress by strengthening the immune system”. Consumption of adaptogenic herbs can reduce the occurrence of lifestyle-induced chronic diseases, as has been known and well-utilized in traditional cultures.  Scientific research into adaptogenic herbs confirms the protection of organs and tissues from the mounting physical, chemical, metabolic and psychological stresses of our modern world. 

The three “heavy hitters” in this tea blend are Ashwagandha, Schisandra and Tulsi:

Ashwagandha is a leading traditional Ayurvedic herb, in recorded use for over 6,000 years.  (Ayurveda is the world’s first recorded medical system and remains intact and thriving today.) The people credited with broadly introducing Ayurvedic herbs to westerners were my teachers Dr. Vasant Lad, and Dr. David Frawley, who published “The Yoga of Herbs”  in 1986.  Ashwagandha holds a place in the Ayurvedic pharmacology similar to Ginseng in Chinese Medicine.  It is less expensive and is fairly simple to cultivate, not needing specific habitat types like the undisturbed Eastern Hardwood forests required by our threatened Wild American Ginseng. In this regard, it is a great alternative to wild-harvested Ginseng. See the monograph farther below for details on all the wonderful qualities Ashwagandha can impart. 

Schisandra is an important and popular herb in Chinese Medicine, and is also eaten as a fruit. If you steep Stress Less long enough, or repeatedly like the Eastern style of steeping, you will taste the pleasantly sour tang of Schisandra which is the only herb possessing all 5 flavors! It has a long recorded history of increasing energy and mental and physical performance and endurance, as well increasing as our resistance to stress, in classic Adaptogen fashion. It normalizes blood pressure, and blood sugar and stimulates the immune system.  The phytochemicals in Schisandra improve liver function by stimulating enzymes in the liver and promoting cell growth. In this regard, we can say Schisandra helps the liver clear the body of stress hormones. 

Tulsi (Holy Basil) is known in Ayurveda as “The Incomparable One” and revered as one of those Elixers of Life that is “without equal for it’s medicinal and spiritual properties”. Tulsi acts as a buffer against physical stress from prolonged physical exertion, exposure to cold and excessive noise-a great herb for northern city dwellers!  Tulsi has been shown to counter metabolic stress through normalization of blood glucose, blood pressure and lipid levels. Further, Tulsi relieves psychological stress through its anxiolytic and anti-depressant properties, and improves memory and cognitive function. Tulsi is used in daily rituals, an important component of a daily spiritual practice grounded in ancient knowledge.  Even further, Tulsi possesses broad-spectrum antimicrobial action, so not only will it pacify your stress response, it will kill bad bugs that are out to get you! 

Enjoy this tea regularly.  It will help you cruise through stressful times, be ready for the cold impacts of winter, and adapt to the physical stress of athletic efforts.  Specifically blended with herbs that will nourish, nurture and protect our vital organs, Stress Less Tea is tasty and effective at all temperatures and can be drank daily.  Add a splash of blueberry juice and leave Survival Mode behind!  

Small children under 6 should not be served this tea in quantity, as Ashwagandha is a builder of tissue and their bodies are already busy doing just that! 

Ingredient overview: 

Ashwagandha or Winter Cherry (Withania somnifera) is a rejuvenative root, strengthening to the body and mind. It is in the Solanaceae family, or Nightshade. Primarily used for treating exhaustion and simple overwork, Ashwagandha is recorded in the ancient Ayurvedic sutras and texts to “give the vitality of a horse”. It nourishes the tissues of muscle, fat, bone, marrow and nerve and reproductive systems. It is indicated for general debility, overwork, sexual debility, nerve exhaustion, convalescence, old age, loss of muscle energy, insomnia, fatigue, and infertility.  It helps stabilize the fetus, regenerates the hormonal system and can be used externally on wounds and sores. It is calming and promotes deep, dreamless sleep.

Schisandra (Schizandra sinensis), the quintessential tonic herb, possesses all of the 5 flavors: salty, sour, bitter, sweet and umami (savory). Schizandra is an herb that “does it all”, protecting the primary energies of life. 

Tulsi holy basil (Ocimum sanctum, tenuiflorum) an aromatic shrub in the basil family, is anti-inflammatory and is full of antioxidants.  Holy Basil mitigates the damaging effects of stress and anxiety by helping us relax. All three Holy Basils used together are one of the best ways to reduce cortisol, your body’s primary stress hormone. 

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) is used to treat anxiety and insomnia.  When blended with these other herbs, it will promote restful and deeply nourishing sleep.  It promotes an increased level of GABA in the brain, a compound that lowers brain activity. 

Cacao (Thoeobroma cacao) nibs are unroasted and superior to cocoa powder, which is heated at high temperatures, killing the living enzymes. Cacao is high in potassium and rich in polyphenols which increase blood flow to the brain.  

Orange (Citrus sp.) peel is immune boosting and tasty, and high in terpenes and Vitamin C.

Butterfly pea flower (Clitoria ternatea)  adds color to the steeped tea.

Written by Greta de la Montagne, our herbalist consultant.  Read more about Greta.

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