There is an abundance of alchemy occurring in nature, and the plant kingdom provides us with a never-ending supply of botanical wealth for our health. In her book on adaptogens, Adrianna Ayales sums up perfectly the power of these extraordinary herbs when she states, “ Plants are nature’s alchemists – masters at combining the curative powers of water, soil and sunlight into the precious substances that we now call medicine.”

We owe it to those before us who lived close to the land, and dared to explore the healing powers of plants. They can thank the animals whom they watched safely consume the plants around them, but how did they know that a hard, glossy structure growing out of a tree trunk, the Reishi mushroom, held healing properties? Subsequent researchers who study plants can thank the ancestral curious mind and intuitive faith which laid the groundwork for the inevitable classification of adaptogens. We now have a list of plants that are designated as true adaptogens. There remain, however, numerous plants with strong adaptogenic attributes, but lack sufficient studies by which to classify them as primary adaptogens.

In order for a plant to be deemed a true adaptogen, it must meet these three criteria:

1. Adaptogens are non-toxic

2. Adaptogens produce a nonspecific response in the body.

3. Adaptogens have a normalizing impact on the body.

In short, adaptogens are considered to be very safe while producing an overall improvement in bodily function, and performing uniquely in each individual to bring the body back into its normal state. This is why some adaptogens can both calm or stimulate, or both tone the heart and the gut, depending upon the healing needs of each person. True adaptogens possess alchemical, restorative properties that greatly increase our resilience to handle stress of every kind, thereby preserving our energy via a calmer nervous system and boosting immune function. All plants with adaptogenic qualities can help activate the organs as needed, protect and calm the nervous system and restore, regenerate and repair damage from stress. Further, a true adaptogen will increase the properties of lesser adaptogens when they work synergistically together.

Our post-pandemic world and our ever-increasing toxic environment are giving rise to the amazing benefits of adding adaptogens to our diet. It is wonderful to see these powerful plants getting attention, for they present a welcome alternative to the standard of pharmaceuticals, many of which have severe and even life-threatening side effects. It is, however, unfortunate that some adaptogens present conflicts and interference with certain pharmaceuticals, but fortunate that there are plenty of adaptogens which can be safely used. It is advisable for herbalists, doctors and teachers of adaptogens to work closely with those taking pharmaceuticals. For those seeking to get off pharmaceutical meds, adaptogens can provide a slow and gentle pathway to do so.

The rising interest in healing plants presents us with a return to the divine intelligence of the garden in which we live, and a pause from the artificial intelligence being forced upon us in every sector of our lives. The incredible alchemy and chemistry of adaptogens point to the endowment of intelligence upon plants, and confirms the natural brilliance that surrounds us. Plants, animals and water all respond to emotions and even music. We humans as stewards of this planet must use the genius of our gifted imagination to recognize, envision and steer the wisdom of the natural world to our benefit. While artificial intelligence can never match this sacred, ecological brilliance, it can, in the right hands, provide us with supportive solutions. Yet, we must never allow it to steal, overcome and replace this alchemical beauty and healing with a lifeless imitation. Nature and humans were intended to work synergistically together.

Humanity must keep living, loving, learningand growing like the plants. I believe with all my heart that the trees, plants and even flowers possess the healing nutrients that our bodies need as our true medicine. Our modern world has shifted away from this wisdom, while toxic chemicals, EMFs and non-nutritious food are giving rise to every sort of dis-ease. Pharmaceuticals are like bandaids that mask the deeper issue, while these meds drive the dis-ease deeper into the body. Our amazing immune system was designed to support and regenerate our health, but it can only do so if we feed it what it truly needs to work its alchemical magic.

adaptogen plant

I am now teaching a day class on learning how to add adaptogens to your diet. It will include the hands-on making of 5 recipes to assist in calming the nervous system, provide good sleep, heal the gut and digestion, boost a happy heart and energy and improve immune function.

You can find out more here.

I hope you will join me in getting to know adaptogens, and aspire to all the many health and wellness benefits they are waiting to give you.

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