The other day I talked about ashwagandha and how awesome it is as an adaptogen.
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Adaptogens are safe herbs that can be used by young and old, often for months or years at a time, to bolster and strengthen the entire body, and delay/counteract the effects of aging.
Loss of memory, poor circulation, low energy, reduced immunity, etc are all symptoms that adaptogens can help. In general, adaptogens help to reduce the effects of stress and strengthen the bodies response to it.
In this day and age, I think everyone needs adaptogens. Even if you are retired and have no psychological stressors, being exposed to air pollution (even indoors with those scented candles, off-gassing of carpets, plastic food containers), pesticides, changes in temperature, going to bed late, or getting up too early, exercising too much or not enough at all—these are all stresses as far as your body is concerned.
Today, I put an extra scoop of powdered licorice root into my smoothie. First of all this is not the nasty black candy you are thinking of!!
Licorice root is a powerful and versatile adaptogen. It is also has anti-depressive actions, is antiviral, immune-boosting, and has a soothing quality which coats mucous membranes like your mouth, throat, esophagus and stomach if there is any irritation there.
As an adaptogen, it can increase the half-life of cortisol (our main stress hormone). Increasing the half-life of cortisol means that your body will not have to work as hard to produce more and more, thereby relieving some pressure from your adrenal glands (the glands the make cortisol).
Licorice can increase energy and endurance and has been used by athletes. It is great as an anti-stress herb. It is a more “cooling” adaptogen, so really great if you are someone who “runs hot” all the time.
If you are taking a lot of licorice over a long time, it is said that some people can have a reaction to a component in licorice that will raise blood pressure. I have never seen this happen, but it is something that you should know of and monitor.
I use powdered licorice root in my smoothies (about 1/2 tsp) and with cinnamon, cardamom, and other herbs in my herbal candies. I use cut pieces of the root in a hot infusion to add some sweetness as well as the anti-stress effects. I buy it here and you can too.
Do you take licorice? How do you use it?