Add these adaptogenic herbs to your diet to calm you down and perk you up. Read more at womenshealthmag.co.uk.

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What is a winter soup without parsley to garnish, before the sprig is cast aside? And it’s surely indisputable that dill is the underrated star of the egg mayonnaise sandwich.

Our point is, herbs rarely get the appreciation they deserve, especially considering that a particular group of them – adaptogenic herbs – are superheroes at helping your body and mind tackle whatever BS life is throwing your way.

Adaptogenic herbs are the latest trend in multi-functional fodder.

Raising you up when you feel flatter than a discarded can of Diet Coke and chilling you out when your stress levels reach Gordon Ramsay peak; adaptogenic herbs are thought to cause cells to alter their response to stress so you produce more protective compounds called heat shock proteins.

The good news is, while you might not realise it, you’re likely to have dipped your toe into the adaptogenic herbs game.

Had a turmeric latte? A matcha ice cream? Of course you have, we’ve seen your socials.

Add these adaptogenic herbs to your diet to regulate your stress levels and supercharge your spice rack.

Adaptogenic herbs: How to include them in your diet

GINGER

Adaptogenic herbs, ginger and lemon tea

What is it?

A rhizome – a stem that grows underground.

Where is it found?

Southeast Asia.

Best for:

Boosting digestion.

“Ginger is a sialagogue herb,” says Rachel Landon, author of Superherbs, “which means it makes you salivate. This helps you to break down food in this first stage of digestion, which is often missed when you’re eating on the go,”

And that’s not all this lovely little root is good for. One study found that ginger extract boosts attention span and cognitive function, making it a potential brain tonic, too.

How to take it:

Blitz in a smoothie: juice three apples, two sticks of celery, some parsley and a thumb-sized piece of ginger.

GOTU KOLA

Adaptogenic herbs, gotu kola tea

What is it?

A plant and member of the parsley family.

Where is it found?

India, China and Malaysia.

Best for:

Easing anxiety.

‘Gotu kola has a soothing effect on the nervous system, relaxing the body – especially the brain when it’s in overdrive – but without having a sedative effect,’ says Landon. Plus, research found that it may be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorder.

How to take it:

Drink it in a tea. Try dropping a dose of tincture into your daily cuppa.

NETTLE

Adaptogenic herbs, nettle tea

What is it?

A stinger you’re probably all too familiar with.

Where is it found?

Asia, North America – and your nearest green space.

Best for:

When you’re feeling burnt out.

‘Nettle’s cleansing constituents support the whole body, but especially the nervous system,’ says Landon. Stress-busting aside, it’s packed with iron, vitamin C and calcium.

How to take it:

Try it as a side dish. Don some gloves to pick your leaves and wash them in cold water. Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a frying pan with chopped garlic. Cook the nettle leaves in the pan until they wilt. Season and add a squeeze of lemon. They won’t sting when eaten, promise.

LIQUORICE

Adaptogenic herbs, liquorice root

What is it?

A perennial plant in the pea and bean family.

Where is it found?

Southeast Europe, Russia, Asia.

Best for:

Balance.

‘Feelings of fatigue and low libido can often be due to adrenal exhaustion,’ says Landon. ‘The active constituents of liquorice contain glycosides, which have a supporting and nourishing effect on the endocrine system, especially the adrenals. All sorts of reasons to give it a go.

How to take it:

Swerve the Allsorts and buy liquorice root. Or Landon suggests a liquorice and dandelion tea.

SIBERIAN GINSENG

Ginseng

What is it?

A thorny, creeping plant.

Where is it found?

East Asia, China and Russia.

Best for:

When you’re feeling overwhelmed.

‘I recommend it to students, shift workers and anyone who’s burning the candle at both ends,’ says Landon. ‘It contains eleutherosides, as well as vitamin E and beta-carotene, which are strong antioxidants.’

How to take it:

Consider a ginseng tonic your new G&T. Mix with nettle leaves and chamomile flowers, then add to a pot of hot water and allow to infuse. Drink up and keep adding boiling water throughout the day.

ASHWAGANDHA

Adaptogenic herbs, ashwagandha root and ashwagandha powder

What is it?

A woody shrub and member of the nightshade family.

Where is it found?

Warmer climes like the Med, Africa and India.

Best for:

Boosting energy levels.

‘It supports the body when you’re feeling a lack of enthusiasm for life,’ says Landon. One study also found that it reduced the cortisol levels of participants suffering from chronic stress. It’s Sanskrit for ‘smell of the horse’ – in reference to its, erm, unique aroma.

How to take it:

Mix ashwagandha powder with nut butter and desiccated coconut, then spread it on toast.

Need more stress-busters? Read about dealing with anxiety and how to practice self-care.