Specialty chocolates. Organic coffee and green tea. Gluten free baked goods. Energy bars and drinks. There’s no shortage of quick energy fixes lining the shelves of even “healthy” stores, including Whole Foods. I think it’s safe to say that we’re in the middle of a human energy crisis! And the health conscious set is not exempt from grabbing foods and beverages that provide quick fuel.

The problem is that sugar and caffeine – even their in glorious organic, artisanal forms – don’t fix our energy problems for very long. In fact, they just make it worse, causing us to be on a roller-coaster of sugar highs and lows, and ultimately, sugar and energy crashes.

The good news is that nature has provided us with a whole category of herbs called adaptogens that help us get to the real root of our energy crisis: adrenal imbalances.

What is the Adrenal Stress Response?

Your body has an entire stress response system that is hardwired to protect you from danger. Its basecamp is your adrenal glands, tiny little organs that sit on top of your kidneys, and mastermind a whole lot of your health from blood sugar to hormones to mood.

The system has existed for millennia and is meant to protect us from immediate danger – since this system is ancient, a saber-toothed tiger chasing us is the common example. When the adrenal response system goes into action, it rallies to protect you by pumping out adrenaline and cortisol. These ramp up your blood sugar so you can run (for example, away from that proverbial tiger), increase your blood pressure so you don’t go into shock if that tiger bites you, increases your heart rate to keep those running muscles supplied with oxygen, crank out insulin to help clean up the sugar after the crisis is over, and activate your immune responses so you don’t get an infection, again, from that tiger bite. When the danger is gone (i.e., the tiger got the slower guy), your system quiets back down and you quickly recover from the stress.

No long-term harm is done.

But when you are a state of constant stress, like most of us are, the body perceives this as a persistent low level of danger. The stress response system stays in the “on position,” and leads to a host of symptoms, and potentially, health problems. Eventually, the system itself burns out, leading to what is commonly called “adrenal fatigue.” Most of us are either in a state of adrenal overdrive or are heading in the direction of, or have reached, adrenal fatigue.

Symptoms of Adrenal Imbalance

Here are just some of the many common symptoms and health problems caused by adrenal imbalances:

  • Blood sugar problems, insulin resistance
  • Brain fog, concentration problems
  • Difficulty falling asleep (you feel “tired and wired”) or restless sleep
  • Digestive symptoms
  • Fatigue, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Feeling stuck in the “on” position – overwhelmed and overdrive
  • Food cravings, especially for sugar, carbs, or fatty foods, and afternoon sugar or caffeine cravings
  • Frequent colds, infections
  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes
  • Hormonal imbalances, PMS, fertility problems, menopause symptoms
  • Inflammation, joint pain, fibromyalgia
  • Irritability, anxiety, or depression
  • Waking up tired in the morning
  • Weight gain (especially that “spare tire” or those “muffin tops”)

If you have any of these symptoms or conditions, it is important to pay attention to what’s going on in your adrenal stress response system and to restore balance.

Adaptogens: Ancient Medicines for Modern Times

Adaptogens are a special class of herbal medicines that have been used in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines for centuries to promote a sense of well-being. In those systems, these herbs are considered the “Kings” and “Queens” of herbal medicines for restoring health, vitality, immunity, stamina, and promoting longevity. The term adaptogen refers to the unique ability of these herbs to help you adapt to the stress in your life. They do this by “normalizing” or “regulating” the adrenal stress response.

Adaptogens help your body to cope more effectively with the demands of everyday life. They provide a sustained sense of calm, and while they increase energy, with the exception of Chinese ginseng, they are non-stimulating.

In addition to their effects on stress adaptation, adaptogens have profound antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that protect your cells from damage from a variety of chemical exposures. Also, one of the definitions of adaptogens is that they are non-toxic, even with long-term use. You can rely on these herbs to be safe and gentle.

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How Adaptogens Work

Adaptogens are truly remarkable in that the chemicals they contain actually help to normalize adrenal function. They calm and nourish the adrenal glands, and support the processes that are controlled by the adrenals – from blood sugar and immune system regulation, to hormones and blood pressure. Amazingly, they work whether you are experiencing adrenal over-stimulation, or adrenal fatigue. In fact, not only do they help you to adapt, but they also adapt to your particular biochemical needs!

While some adaptogens can work fairly quickly, in just a matter of days, their actions tend to be more subtle, with benefits building up over months of taking them regularly, either in capsules, tablets, or tinctures, as discussed below.

Choosing the Adaptogens That Are Best for YOU

Most of my patients receive an adaptogen or a formula containing a blend of adaptogens as part of their health plan – after all, who isn’t dealing with some level of stress! I generally recommend a combination of 3 of the ones below that seem most specific to the patient — but you really can’t go wrong as long as you look at the cautions — these are very safe, and are very synergistic with each other. You can also find a combination product that includes several of these together.

Not all herbs referred to in the popular media as adaptogens truly are; however, the ones below meet all the scientific criteria for being in this category. There is quite a bit of cross-over in the effects of these herbs, so they can be used somewhat interchangeably, but each also has its own slightly unique “personality,” or what it is especially known for, as emphasized in the descriptions. All of these can be used in any combination.

Adaptogens work best when taken for a minimum of 3 months, and for as long as a year!

Remember, there’s more to living a balanced life than just taking herbs – but these botanicals can go a long way to helping you to restore your balance, your health, and your sense of well-being.

Here are my top 6 favorite adaptogens for women.

Ashwagandha: The Soothing Adaptogen

Ashwagandha has over 4,000 years of traditional use in India. It is considered both a food and a tonic medicine for improving energy, memory and learning, promoting libido, and preventing premature aging. Ashwagandha is calming and anti-inflammatory. It is used to improve sleep, reduce anxiety, improve memory, and reduce inflammation and oxidative stress (damage from inflammation). It boosts the immune system, is included in the treatment of arthritis and can be beneficial in the treatment of fertility challenges.

Dose: 3 to 6 grams of the dried herb in capsule form daily OR 1 to 4 mL  (20-80 drops) of tincture, in water, 3 times per day

Cautions: Not for use in pregnancy; though not likely to be a problem, use cautiously if you are sensitive to plants in the nightshade family; avoid with pharmaceutical sedatives and pain medications.

Rhodiola: The Spirit Calming, Anti-Anxiety Adaptogen

Rhodiola extract helps promote a calm emotional state and supports strong mental performance, optimal immune function, and hormonal balance. It is a key adaptogen for reducing anxiety. It improves mental and physical stamina, improves sleep, and reduces stress, “burn out,” and irritability. It boosts the immune system, decreases the frequency of colds and infections, and reduces inflammation. It is used in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome as well as fibromyalgia.  It can be beneficial for poor appetite and as part of a treatment plan for chronic stress headaches.

Dose: 200-400 mg in capsules or tablets daily OR 2-3 mL (40-60 drops) of tincture, in water, 2-3 times daily. Use products standardized to 2-3% rosavin and 0.8-1% salidroside

Cautions: Avoid if you have bipolar depression with manic behavior.

Holy Basil: The Vitalizer

Holy or “sacred” basil has been revered in India for over 5,000 years as an herb that calms the mind and spirit, and promotes longevity. In Ayurvedic medicine it is called Tulsi, which means “incomparable one.” It is used to improve energy and relieve fatigue, for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions, and to lower blood glucose, triglycerides, and cholesterol. Holy basil may also protect the liver, helps with nicotine withdrawal, and elevates the mood, especially providing relief from mild depression. While this herb is related to common basil, it is a different species and common basil is not a substitute.

Dose: 2-3 mL (40–60 drops) of tincture, in water, three times daily

Cautions: None known.

Shatavari: The Hormonal Harmonizer, Queen of Women’s Adaptogens

Shatavari is considered the “Queen of Herbs” in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is beloved as one of the most powerful rejuvenating tonics for women. It is nourishing and calming, as well as hormonally balancing; it is used for irritability and many hormonal imbalances affecting the mood, for example, emotional symptoms of PMS and menopause. It is also used as a fertility tonic and may be used for vaginal dryness, low libido, and sleep problems in perimenopause. In addition, research suggests benefits for improving immunity, antioxidant activity, improved insulin secretion, reduction in gastric acidity, and the prevention of stress ulcers. It has mild estrogenic and cholesterol-lowering effects.

Dose: 2-4 mL (40-80 drops) of tincture, in water, 2-3 times daily

Cautions: Avoid if you have a history of estrogen-receptor positive cancer.

Eleuthero: The Performance and Focus Enhancer

Eleuthero is one of the most well-researched adaptogens. It is used to increase mental alertness and performance, enhance concentration and increase energy and stamina, reduce stress and fatigue, reduce dream-disrupted sleep and insomnia, and enhance immunity and improve detoxification. It is anabolic, which means it helps build muscle and prevents the breakdown of muscle as we age.

Dose: 2-3 g of dried root in capsule daily OR 2-4 mL of tincture, in water, 2-3 times daily

Cautions: There have been rare cases of insomnia reported with Eleuthero; if you have insomnia, either select a different adaptogen, or consider taking only before noon; also Eleuthero is not recommended for those with high blood pressure.

Reishi Mushroom: The Immune Nourisher

Reishi mushrooms are highly regarded in Chinese medicine to nourish and support adrenal function. While Reishi is best known for promoting health immunity, resistance to colds and infections, and reducing inflammation, Reishi also helps support the body’s natural abilities to detoxify from environmental exposures, and also calms the nervous system, promoting deeper, more relaxing and restorative sleep.

Dose: 3-9 grams of the dried mushroom in capsules or tablets daily OR 2-4 mL of reishi tincture, in water 2-3 times daily

Cautions: Avoid with blood thinners and medications that lower blood pressure, based on theoretical risks of drug interactions.


Some of my favorite Adaptogen products that contain the above herbs include:

Stress Manager (Herb Pharm): A blend of the liquid extracts of Eleuthero root, Reishi fruiting body, Holy Basil leaf, Rhodiola root, and Schisandra berry

Adrenal Health (Gaia Herbs): Capsules with a blend of Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Rhodiola, Schisandra, and Wild Oats

Vital Adapt (Natura Natural Products): A blend of the liquid extracts of many well-known adaptogenic botanicals including Eleuthrococcus, Rhodiola, Schizandra and Ashwagandha.

HPA Adapt (Integrative Therapeutics): Capsules with a combination of 5 adaptogenic herbs such as rhodiola, Sensoril brand ashwagandha, and eleuthero root extract. (Note: This product is only available through licensed health professionals, so someone would have to order it for you.)


Are There Any Other Times NOT to Use Adaptogens?

Due to lack of safety data, I do not recommend adaptogens for use during pregnancy, however they are considered safe for use while breastfeeding, and can help new moms to cope with the stress and demands of sleepless nights! I also do not recommend adaptogens if you are taking any medications that suppress the immune system, unless your doctor also approves, as there can be herb-drug interactions in this case.

If you found this article helpful, please make sure to LIKE it below (don’t you wish there was a LOVE button for those REALLY GREAT blogs!!!).

With love and wishes for your optimal health!

AJR-Sig

Get the first chapter of my new book The Adrenal Thyroid Revolution, FREE right here.

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286 Comments

  1. Thanks so much! I have recently been feeling very overwhelmed and run down, and this is just the information I needed.

  2. I love learning about adrenal adaptogens. You recommended 3-6g daily of ashwagandha. I’ve only found products with up to roughly 400mg per capsule. A quantity of 8-15 capsules per day would be required to get to the 3-6g daily recommendation. This seems like a lot. Are you aware of highly concentrated capsule products?

    Thank you,
    Joy
    Boston area

    • Hi Joy
      Great question — that’s of crude herb — but the 400 mg per capsule is a reasonable dose, up to 2-3, 2-3 times/day, or as directed.
      Enjoy!
      Aviva

        • Hi! I know that’s a very stressful problem to deal with! It’s often due to thyroid problems, elevated testosterone, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or a nutritional deficiency such as low iron, essentila fats, or B vitamins. I’d work with a practitioner who can help you sort out the varying causes. Best wishes, Aviva

  3. Wonderful information! I have used Tulsi tea with wonderful results and look forward to trying some of the other adaptogens you have outlined. Thank you so much!

  4. Thanks for the information! Just wondering about Shatavari, If I don’t have a history of estrogen related cancer, but my grandmother had breast cancer, is it safe for me to take? Thank you!

    • Hi Kristin,
      It’s likely fine, but of course there are so many wonderful adaptogens to choose from so if it concerns you, try a different one — and of course keep up with appropriate breast screening!
      Nice to meet you 🙂
      Aviva

      • All excellent information for women, thank you. Question though, do you have the same article caitored to men? At minimum, is there a particular herb or combination of Herbs you recommend for men?

        Bless you for your willingness to share your info to help others!

  5. Thanks so much for the information. Just to let you know, the Integrative Therapeutics site doesn’t sell to patients. Very unfortunate. I’ll keep trying.

    • Hi Tricia! Sorry– I will clarify in the article that HPA Adapt needs to be ordered for you by a practitioner in your area. But the other formulas are absolutely equally excellent!

  6. I was taking rhodiola, but it was making me drowsy. Is there a better one to take to reduce my sleepiness? Thanks!

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Rhodiola and ashwagandha tend to be very calming, whereas holy basil, eleuthero, and even ginseng, also an adaptogen — are more mentally stimulating. Best! Aviva

  7. Hi Dr. Romm,

    Thanks for the fantastic post. I’m interested in the HPA Adapt product, but it is only available for sale through licensed healthcare professionals. Any suggestions on how to purchase this product?

    Thanks,

    Kristin

    • Hmmm. you could do the Gaia or Herb Pharm Blend — they are quite similar! Or see if an ND or integrative doc in your community can order or you. I’ll clarify that in the article…

    • Hi Pam,
      All of the herbs have links to Herb Pharm which is my favorite company (so much so that I am now a spokesperson for them but I don’t get kickbacks on sales!). Also, you can link to the companies that sell blends, like Gaia — you can order any of these on line. Or of course, Whole Foods is a great source, and even Amazon! Best, Aviva

  8. Your article is so timely and weird for me since I self-diagnosed myself last week with some adrenal issue that I’ve been having for a few years The symptoms are so mild and could be one of a hundred things. It wasn’t until this year when I started to crave licorice that I was able to piece together part of the problem/solution.

    I’m in my late forties. For the past three spring/ summer years, I’m active in an outdoor cycle club. For the past few years, during cycling, I’ve developed love handles that disappear once I move indoors for the fall/winter months. So I’m gaining fat around my middle even though I’m cycling 2-5 hours 4-6x a week. I also get exercise-induced insomnia. This year, for the first time, I started craving licorice. The only other time I craved licorice was during my pregnancy 16 years ago.

    To make a long story short, I came across a 2006 article discussing over-exercise with adrenal issues. The article solution: licorice! or rather licorice extract. I couldn’t believe it. Up to this point, I had no idea about what was going on with my body : the insomnia, the stomach-gaining fat, and the licorice-craving, and the need for sodium water to drink while outdoor cycling.

    The licorice I craved lists for ingredients: molasses, raspberry puree and licorice extract. Now, I use the extract form because I don’t want to consume all the calories from the loads of licorice I was eating.

    After reading your article, I will have to really look into stabilizing my adrenal issues with your recommended solutions. Going into menopause with adrenal fatigue can lead to some serious immune/inflammation issues down the road so restoring adrenal balance is a necessity.

    Thanks again for the post.

  9. Thank you for the information! I’m wondering, is Rhodiola suitable for teens? My daughter is 13, and she has anxiety, sleep problems, and she get frequent colds. She is also very forgetful.
    Thank you!

  10. Thank you for the information! I am considering Holy Basil, Ashwagandha, and Rhodiola to help with extreme fatigue and a “dispirited” feeling. Should I go with one of these or the Adrenal Health from Gaia I saw on your page?

    • Adrenal Health is a wonderful blend — as are the others listed — and if you’re feeling tired it might be easier to get a blend than have to pick, choose, and assemble one for yourself! 🙂

  11. Hi aviva,

    I LOVE your blog and i love u! Thank u for writing about issues that matter in an empowering manner.
    A question for my brother…which adaptogens would u recommend for a MAN suffering from adrenalin fatigue(high cholesterol, high sugar levels, debilitating anxiety, depression)

    And for my mother in law. .If u havent already could u do an article about insomnia? Which herbs should she take and does she really have to cut out the daily 3 cups of black tea?
    Thank you sooooo much!

    • Hi Rana! You could use the same one for the gentleman as for the ladies (though Shatavari is more girlie). Others include ginseng and American ginseng, for example — the former commonly used for men, but also great for women — especially when there is high cholesterol, depression, and blood sugar issues. My friend David Winston has a book called Adaptogens which is very readable, and my friend Donnie Yance has one by the same title, more of a textbook, but excellent. (Oh, yes, there are some insomnia articles on my website and I can certainly do more!)
      Be well!

      • I’m taking David Winston’s Adrenal Balance Compound and find that it’s helped with that exhausted “tired and wired” feeling.

        Thanks for all you do, Aviva!

  12. Wonderfully written! I absolutely LOVE all of these and couldn’t imagine life without Shatavari, Tulsi, and Ashwagandha. I make holy water with a few dried tulsi leaves in water:) Thanks Aviva for sharing about these awesome adaptogens!

  13. Perfect timing, Aviva! I linked your blog post to mine, because I wrote about my adrenal health today too. I hope that is okay;) Thanks for being an amazing woman and teacher. With Gratitude, Karin

  14. Hi,
    Thank you for the great information, this was just what I’ve been looking for. I assume it would say it in the “caution” section of each herb, but would these be safe to take while breastfeeding? Thanks!

  15. Great post and info. Question: Do you recommend the products with blends? I find sometimes they don’t have a high enough dosage of each herb to be effective. What are your thoughts? Thanks!

    • There are many terrific blends on the market — but I agree, sometimes they have TOO many herbs. Up to 5-7 herbs is my general preference.

      • Great post. I agree totally re formula’s having too many ingredients. I do think hyper adrenalised people live in the head a lot. Other non adaptogenic herbs to offer some grounding are skullcap, wood betony and mugwort. Anyone of these in a formula give it something extra.

  16. Thank you for the information. I have been dealing with adrenal fatigue and hormone imbalance and this is very useful information presented better than I have found elsewhere. My question is…. that some of the recommended adaptogens have estrogenic effects… like ashwagandha or astragulus (not mentioned) that are supposed to be good for such things as adrenal fatigue but would the estrogenic properties further increase my hormone imbalance? I take chaste berry (vitex) and it helping, very, slowly.

    Thanks again!

  17. Are tinctures supposed to be consumed by placing drops in water or can drops be placed directly in mouth too? It seems these specific directions are often left out & I wasn’t sure since some I have taken say to place in water or to ingest it directly~ thank you for your insight

    • I suggest putting them in water…Straight alcohol over time is a risk for oral cancer so this is probably more cautious than needed but better safe than sorry!

  18. Thank you Dr. Romm,

    I am so happy that I came across your website. You have provided me (and others) with much needed information on herbs and their usage for women’s health. The symptoms you describe in this blog sounds exactly what I am experiencing at this time. I thought I wasn’t feeling like my self because I am getting older ((67). I plan to try the adaptogens for at least 3-6 months and will let you know the results. Again thanks so much for all you do.

    Evelyn Muhlhan

  19. Aviva, I have a question about Holy Basil. All the information I have read says it has anti-fertility properties. What do you say about this? If someone is ttc, what if any would be a safe dose to use?

    • Hi Renee,
      I’ve not heard it to have anti-fertility properties, and in fact, most adaptogens can be helpful for restoring cortisol and hormone balance — supporting fertility. As for dose, I usually recommend 20-60 drops, 1-3 times daily — not for use during pregnancy, however. Warmly, ~A.

      • Aviva,
        In 17 years of self diAgnosing & research – I am in my happy place when I choose your site during my most inspired moments in research..todah!
        Q- I am age 44 and hope to conceive a third child ( youngest 7, oldest 17) & my cycle is shortening & the onset date is extending further out each month – I do not fully understNd & hope to get help if you have written about this yet?
        Regarding adaptogens to lower stress and fertility, which combination may you please suggest specifically for me?
        Tikvah

  20. Hi Aviva,

    Thanks so much for all of your wonderful information – I devour your blog posts 🙂
    Question on the adaptogens – we are TCC and having a little difficulty. I think that my adrenal fatigue is a possible culprit so I am going to add in your recommendations above. I’m concerned because they always say not safe for use during pregnancy, but I will be pregnant for a short time before I know – it is safe to use these while TCC or should I stop? Thanks again!

  21. Thank you for another great article, Dr. Romm!
    I purchased organic Rhodiola liquid extract (Herb Pharm brand) as I was looking to calm my emotional state. The ingredient label says it is made of the dried roots of Rhodiola rosea plants (dry herb/menstruum ratio: 1:5). I am taking 40 drops dissolved in water 2 times daily, but I just started, so I have not seen any effects yet.
    I see that for tincture, you recommend products standardized to 2-3% rosavin and 0.8-1% salidroside. As I do not see these specifications on the label, would you consider the product I purchased as described above a good one that should help me and should I be changing the dosage I take?
    Thank you so much for sharing your priceless knowledge with all of us and helping us stay healthy!

    • Yes — great question. Herb Pharm doesn’t actually do standardized tinctures — but they are one of the very few companies that are so high quality and careful in their production that I would still consider it a reliable product. Warmly, Aviva

  22. Hello! I love learning about these! I’m in nursing school and could use some, but I’m wondering if they are safe whilst breastfeeding a toddler. I thought I remember reading somewhere that holy basil was not recommended whilst breastfeeding. Thanks!!!
    Jessica

  23. I’ve tried to take a couple of brands of Ashwagandha in the past but developed mouth/nasal sores within the first week. It worked wonderfully for adrenal issues, but I stopped out of concern about the side effects. Do you have any experience with this type of side effect? Perhaps my body would have adjusted if I had given it sufficient time? I am going to try once again with Sensoril. Hoping my body will adjust!

    Thanks for all your wonderful information!

    • I don’t but anyone can have an unusual reaction to any herb, food or supplement (called an idiosyncratic reaction). Perhaps try another one? Best wishes! Aviva

  24. Are any of the blends you suggested safe for use during lactation? My toddler is 2.5 and only nurses briefly a couple of times a day, so her exposure would be very limited, but I tend to be cautious.

      • I saw you mentioned ginseng and licorice as good adrenal support herbs but are they safe while breastfeeding? I thought not?

        • Hi Nicole,

          If you scroll up through the comments you will see Aviva address this very question!

          Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  25. Hi — Great article! I just wanted to add that folks with high blood pressure should avoid rhodiola, since the herb tends to boost blood pressure over time.

    • Hi Wendy,
      Not sure that this is so — can you send me the literature on that? Will update my notes if good evidence of this happening! Thanks. Aviva

      • Dr. Romm, I enjoy your blog very much and have especially found the info on balancing the hormones/adrenals very helpful. I have been taking Ashwaghanda, Rhodiola, and Holy Basil tinctures for a couple of months with great results. I have noticed, however, that my blood pressure appears to be a bit elevated. This morning it was 137/84. It was normally running about the low 120’s over the mid 70’s range. I have hypertension and take HCTZ (12.5 mg) and Atacand daily. Could the tinctures be responsible for the elevated BP?

  26. Hi Aviva,

    I have been on the following medications for years and I was wondering if it would be safe for me to take something for my adrenals? I have been struggling with high stress/fatigue/sleeping and weight gain.

    Here are the two medications.

    Escitalopram 30mg once a day
    Lamotrigine 200mg once a day

    Could you please email me your thoughts when you have a chance?

    Thank you in advance.

    Kathleen

  27. Hi,
    I too am curious about starting an adaptogen while on an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety drug. I would definitely like to be off the prescription meds. I take Escitalopram daily and xannax at night. I am fatigued during the day and then my brain is wired at night. Any suggestions are much appreciated.

  28. Hi Aviva!
    I’ve been receiving your blog via email for a couple of years now, & figured it was time to thank you! I hang onto your maternity info for my daughter’s & dil, but mostly focus on what affects me, personally (those babies don’t seem to be in any hurry to get here! ). I have debilitating fibro(can’t hold a job), osteoarthritis, asthma, and other things that amount to mere annoyances, compared to the above. I’m big on adaptogens, because (at least for my issues), they seem to be the most helpful treatment, with the fewest drawbacks – but comparisons, like this one are few and far between. Thank you for such a valuable blog, in general, and for this article, in specific – I’ll be making good use of it! (& I always knew there was a good reason for my love of tulsi!)
    Thanks again!
    Carla

    • You are so kind! Thank you for taking the time to write!! Wishing you great improvements with your health and enjoyment of your grand babies 🙂
      ~Aviva

  29. Oops!! I forgot to ask – how would you suggest a person calculate dousing, when using teas (tulsi tea is so good, I’d hate to miss out on it, because of using it in another form)

  30. Aviva,

    I see that you responded positively to an earlier inquiry about taking adaptogens while breastfeeding, but nearly every product has strong warnings against taking these herbs during lactation. Is that just a labeling pre-caution, or are there genuine risks? My baby is about 3 months old.

    Kristie

  31. Are there any herbs that would be a substitute for adaptogens that would be safe during pregnancy? I am using Ashwagandha and really enjoying its benefits. It’s made such a difference with my adrenal fatigue and anxiety issues. I will be sad to have to give it up when I become pregnant.

    • Yes — there is no data that I’ve seen that contradicts taking them together. St john’s wort should not be taking with the pill, though! 🙂 ~AR

  32. Aviva,

    I see that you responded positively to an earlier inquiry about taking adaptogens while breastfeeding, but nearly every product has strong warnings against taking these herbs during lactation. Is that just a labeling pre-caution, or are there genuine risks? My baby is about 3 months old.

    Kristie

    • Hi Kristie,
      It is really just a labeling precaution. There is no evidence that they are unsafe, and their actions and chemical constituents do not suggest and risks; However, there is also little data on safety. So if you are being super cautious, you might avoid them, but I use them comfortably and confidently in new mommas struggling with fatigue, immune challenges, and stress. Maca is a wonderful choice for new mommas, as is ashwagandha.
      Cheers! Aviva

  33. Aviva,
    Thank you for this. I was wondering if you see patients or do phone consults? I live in Vermont and would love to become a patient.
    Warmly,
    Sher

    • hi sher,
      i see patients at the ultra wellness center — we do an initial appt on site, then follow ups can be by phone. at some point later in 2015 i’ll also be starting a small private distance consulting practice — the number of patients will be limited — and i’ll post when available on FB and in my email to my website members. so stay tuned. and you are very welcome for the article. my pleasure and glad it was helpful. warmly, aviva

      • Hi Aviva
        I too live in Vermont and and interested in becoming a patient. I don’t have FB how do I stay abreast of any updates? Thanks much LOVE all your work!
        Nicole

        • Hi Erin,

          This is Megan from Dr. Aviva’s team. Thank you so much for writing and please know that Dr. Aviva values your questions.

          Her NEW! Integrative TeleWellness Consultations may be a great option for you if you’d like to discuss your health and wellness concerns with an expert in Integrative and Functional Medicine for women and children, and you don’t have this option in your community, or if are unable to come to see her in NYC when my practice opens in late autumn (2015).

          Although she cannot diagnose you, order labs or prescriptions, or treat you without an initial in person appointment, she can provide a thorough discussion of your current health-related questions and concerns, including reviewing your health history and laboratory results, helping you to make sense of how you might bring an Integrative, Functional Wellness approach into your health and wellness goals.
          Based on your conversation and information you might provide ahead of time, Dr. Aviva can offer a set of Integrative/Functional Medicine suggestions that you can discuss with your local doctors to see whether those would fit into your current health plan.

          If you would like more information, or to schedule an appointment, please go here:
          http://avivaromm.wpengine.com/integrative-telewellness-consultations

          If you would like to join her practice in the autumn, please check back on her website in late autumn for booking information.

          With warmest wishes,
          Megan- Dr. Aviva Romm Nutritionist

          • Hi Megan,
            I live in Melbourne Australia.
            Although we have a couple of good naturopaths they are lacking in structure and programs tailored per client. I was able to use their hhelp somewhat however they weren’t able to help me longterm and I just confused. Is Aviva considering taking Skype (or some other video app) consultations?

  34. Thank you for posting this! I definitely have this after my second baby and with other things going on in my life. I would prefer to try to heal with herbs like these as opposed to some other Rx’s and supplements/herbs I’ve tried and to avoid an antideressant because I know my adrenals are probably shot. Two questions – is the rhodiola safe while breastfeeding? And is the Adrenal health blend you mentioned safe while breastfeeding? Thanks!

    • I have diagnosed adrenal fatigue issues but also anxiety and high blood pressure. The blend suggested wouldn’t work since some of the herbs are contraindicated for hypertension. Right now I’m taking luo bu ma and something called carditone with a blend of ayurvedic herbs. I’m off a prescription drug, metoprolol, but bp is up when it’s checked. I’m too freaked out to check it so my acupuncturist does . Dang! Any suggestions? Thanks so much for your article!

      • Look into magnesium supplementation. Google magnesium advocacy group for more info about how to properly supplement and/or read The Magnesium Miracle which goes into all the research about how key magnesium is to health, and discusses blood pressure as well.

  35. I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and recently started taking the Mega Food Adrenal Strength blend that includes the herbs you mentioned above (minus the Eleuthero) and it seems to be making my insomnia worse. Is it normal for things to get a little worse before they normalize? I’ve only been on the supplement 2 weeks. Should I stick with it for longer to let things normalize? Thank you so much for this great article!

    • Not usually — if it’s worse it’s probably not the right product for you. Abhwagandha and reishi mushroom are the adaptogens most recommended when there are sleep troubles. Good luck! Aviva Romm

    • See The Blood Sugar Solution or The 10 Day Detox by Dr. Hyman — we have many patients who have lost significant weight following those plans which we also use in our practice. Best, Aviva

  36. Great article! 🙂
    I collapsed from servere stress in June 2014 and got on top of that – stress triggered anxiety. Which one of the above Herbs would you recommend?
    It’s been seven months now and I must say the stress has really worn my Whole body system Down – I get all kinds of symptoms still. I don’t take any other medications – I’ve always been a healthy person – well until now that is. Hope you find the time to answer as I would really like to help my body out as much as possible 🙂 Thanks

    • Thank you for writing and your confidence in me that you would seek my help. Unfortunately, not only or legal reasons, but because I wouldn’t be able to do justice to your concerns without a full consultation, I am unable to answer individual health and medical questions by email.

      I recommend looking on the website of the Institute for Functional Medicine for a practitioner in your community.

      If you are unable to find someone suitable, I and the doctors in my office at The UltraWellness Center see patients from all around the world in our Lenox, MA office. We do require a first visit on-site, but after visits can be by phone for most patients. Please see my website or The UltraWellness Center website to contact us for an appointment.

      Wishing you the best of health!
      Aviva Romm

  37. Thank you so much for all of this wonderful information! I have suspected adrenal fatigue for some time now, and have had issues with a regular menstrual cycle since I had my IUD removed a year ago. I am going to purchase the Adrenal Health supplement, but I would also like to try Shatavari to see if that helps. I was wondering if the powder or capsules work as well as the tincture? If so, I’m trying to decide between Organic India Shatavari Capsules and Banyan Botanicals Shatavari Powder. Is there one you would recommend over the other? What dosing would be appropriate to start? Thanks so much for your help – I really appreciate it!

  38. Thanks for the article. (I just saw a link to it on Facebook.)
    I have a couple of questions. How long should you take any of these? Should you take them continually for a few months, or …?
    My doctor recommended Adreset by Metagenics. Do you have an opinion about that? I have mild to moderate adrenal fatigue with hormonal imbalance, I easily become anxious and irritated and tend to be a bit depressed.
    I’ve read that Tulsi/Holy Basil has anti-fertility effects (reducing estrogen), but no one talks about that when they recommend it. Do you know anything about that?
    Thanks so much!

    • I use Adreset in my practice and think it’s a good product. As for Tulsi being antifertility, I’ve not heard of any problems but you could certainly use a different adaptogen combo without it. Best, Aviva

  39. Hi, I was told to avoid night shade vegetables if you have an autoimmune disease, as I have lupus. Ashwangdaha was mentioned as an herb to avoid. I used to take it, but have stopped to be safe.
    I’m under a huge amount of stress caring for my mom who passed this year of Alzheimer’s and now my dear dad who is hallucinating and possible dementia on top of caring for a family and working. I’m sure my adrenals are stressed. I drink coffee to keep going….. I fall asleep very easily, but I wake up in the middle of the night with my mind racing. I wonder which combo of single herb would be best in this situation?

    • Hi Renee, Wow, that is a lot going on! So sorry. Yes, you are correct, it in the nightshade family. But any of the other adaptogens could be wonderful for you. Have you heard of Tulsi? It’s also called Holy Basil and is lovely as both a tea and in capsules or extract form. Doing some journaling before bed, taking magnesium and LAvela, and a hot bath all before bed are some of the recommendations I’d make to a patient in your situation. Take good care of yourself!

  40. I’ve been taking adaptogens for about 18 months on advice of naturopath for adrenal fatigue. It’s made a huge difference. I’ve scaled back on dosage in recent months and still feel great. Wondering if I can continue to take indefinitely without adverse effects. I read on another site that it may be beneficial to take a break, but it did not explain why. Thanks! p.s. love your approach to health and well-being. 🙂

    • They are often used for an extensive time, though there is some data that shows that short term use leads to even better benefit, so going on and off is another approach. Best, Aviva

  41. Thank you for the article. I have been diagnosed with adrenal deficiency. I also have hypertension issues. The blend suggested wouldn’t be appropriate due to the hypertension, correct? Is there one or 2 herbs you would suggest? Thanks!

    • Ginseng and licorice are the primary adaptogens not recommended with high blood pressure. See University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine for non-medical ways to lower blood pressure! They have a great information paper that is intended for the general public. Best, Aviva

  42. When I took Red Reishi for the first time, I took it in the morning, as I had read that it was best to take it at the beginning of the day. It seems to have had a sedating effect on me (!), since I felt tired and lethargic all day ( despite getting ample sleep the night before). Is it really best to take Red Reishi before bedtime? If so, how much should one take?

    Thank you.

    • Yes, reishi is actually one of the herbs I often use for sleep — so you had a great learning experience about an herbal medicine — you know it works! And yes, I would use it before bed if it makes you relaxed and sleepy. Note that in combination with other adaptogens is doesn’t always do this, and it doesn’t have this effect on everyone.

  43. I take synthroid for hypothyroidism. Is it safe for me to take these adaptogens? Is there any known problems with having both in your system?

    • In my practice I do combine them, except for Maca, but it’s important to talk with your doctor before combining herbs and medications.

  44. I love the article. This empowered me to know more about NATURAL remedies instead of drugs that the M.D.s push. I’m in the beginning stages of learning about natural remedies. I was misdiagnosed for 10 years then put on an SSRI that did nothing for me. I refuse to ingest drugs at this point!

  45. Hi Dr Romm. I just ran across this article and the timing couldn’t be better. My ND just diagnosed me with extreme adrenal exhaustion and prescribed a Cortisol support with a blend of Ashwaganda and Rhodiolat. I’m overly cautious about side effects and possible interactions. Is it safe to take both with an SSRI? Also, because I am so fatigued, I am worried about a sedating effect. Your thoughts? Thank you!!

  46. Hello Mam,

    Thanks for great article. I am 29 yrs old male and I have Hashimotos and mild adrenal fatigue, my 17-Oh Pg was slightly lower when I last tested in blood. I also have high B.P issues due to adrenals and higher calcium dosage given to me for extended period of time to recover from fractured knee surgery which might have caused mild calcification in arteries I suppose hence MK-7 was started, I took it for a while but it contained soy which increased thyroid antibodies so stopped it. Any good soy free Mk-7 supplement you know ? For Vitamin D 5000 IU how much Magensium you prefer giving and which form of Magenisum ? Extended release Mg malate from Jigsaw is it better ? Do you test expanded male hormone panel in saliva from Diagnostech labs?

    In the list of 4 supplements you mentioned 3 of them has Eleuthero root (Eleutherococcus senticosus extract) in it which cant be given to high B.P patients as it increases B.P so only safe option for me will Gia health Adrenal support/ Adrenal Health as its called now.

    Will it be safe to take Gia Health Adrenal Health/ Support even if one has B.P issues, I do have mild signs of fatty liver seen on ultrasound and has high Alkaline Phosphate, I hope its safe.

    What supplements do you suggest for mild fatty liver ?

  47. I have had about 85% of my Thyroid removed due to Hashimoto’s and take 100mcg Synthroid daily. I have been suffering with Adrenal Fatigue symptoms especially insomnia and very restless sleep. I purchased a Fitbit to track my sleep and it shows that I average between 4 to 5 hrs a night and am restless at least 12 times each night. I purchased Gaia Sleep Thru which contains Ashwagandha root, Magnolia bark, Passionflower flowering vine, and Jujube date fruit. Is this safe to take with the Synthroid? I read on another site that Ashwagandha can cause over production of Thyroid hormone. Not sure if that should be a worry since I don’t have much Thyroid left. Thanks.

    • Hi Jean
      There is some possibility that ashwagandha can affect TSH, but as you state, you don’t have much thyroid so you are most likely mostly dependent on the medications. That said, have your endocrinologist or primary doctor track your thyroid levels every 6 weeks for a few months on the abhwagandha if you do choose to use it so your medication dose can be adjusted if the abhwagandha has any impact. ~AR

  48. Hi Aviva,
    As someone else previously responded, I have autoimmune diseases (Hashimotos and Celiac) and am avoiding nightshades, so want to use herbs other than Ashwagandha.
    I also have adrenal fatigue and have been taking a product for several months that includes Ashwagandha (didn’t know it was a nightshade until now). So, Ive been researching herbs, both dried and powdered so I can control and create my own combination of herbs (most are certified organic, others are wildcrafted). I’m considering purchasing dried herbs like holy basil, rhodiola, eleuthero and schisandra to make teas and powdered herbs to encapsulate and/or throw in my morning smoothie.
    Wanted your opinion/thoughts if this is an effective way to “feed” my adrenals. And how much you would think is a typical “dosage”. 1 tsp each in the smoothie? How many capsules if encapsulated?
    Would appreciate any feedback you may have.
    Thanks!
    Sue

    • Generally speaking, I’ve not heard of any contraindications, but it’s best to discuss with your local endocrinologist if you are currently on antihyperthyroid medications. Best wishes Aviva

  49. Could you please make recommendations as to which adaptogens to use for those of us with severe nightshade allergies and adrenal imbalance symptoms? Thank you!

      • Aviva, I had read that you should be off nightshades if you have Hashimoto. I had no idea Ashwagandha was a nightshade and my last lab thyroid tsh was low. I’ll ask my Doctors about this but would like to know what you would suggest so I can discuss with my Doctor. Thank You, great article.

  50. I can’t begin to say how fascinating I found your article. I found it on a wim from a link my friend posted on Facebook. It really hit home for me as I had every single symptom you listed in your blog. I’m worried because I am only 27 and feel like I should be in the prime energy time of my life, but lately I am just always exhausted, and my immunity has been low since high school. I have a constant cough and throat clearing for about the last two years now and no doctors have been able to tell me why. I’ve tried so many dietary changes with no relief. So now I am seeking out my own answers. Do you have any insight to adrenal function and persistent nausea? Because this is also a symptom of mine. I am also currently taking venlafaxine daily to reduce chronic migraines. Do you know of contraindications with using these herbs? Any insight into my personal puzzle would be amazing!

    Again thank you for your work.

    • hi theresa,
      i’m having a hunch that you might want to ask your doctors or do some digging about:
      – reflux because of the cough and throat clearing OR a food intolerance… and
      – histamine intolerance regarding the adrenal function issues and nausea
      i’ve seen this connecting many times in my practice.
      i think a local integrative doc could be a great bet for you in sorting these symptoms out…
      i know there are answers out there for you!
      i’ll be taking on patients in my new private practice starting in late 2015.
      so glad you wrote!
      aviva

  51. all of these herbs sound like they would benefit symptoms both myself and my 18 YO daughter have had for a long time. I would like to start her on some, but would like to know of safety precautions as she has just started taking Acutane. This decision was not entered into lightly. So, PLS advise on the safest most informed way to begin any of these medications for her. Thank you, your information is wonderful.

    • hi lisa, yes ,it is almost impossible to enter into using acutane lightly! i hear you. given the risks of acutane, however, it would really require a one-on-one consult to review herb-drug safety in this situation. i’d recommend a local integrative or functional doctor for support!

  52. Hi there
    I am currently taking an adaptogen called “Adr px balance “. It has Eleuthero, rhodiolA, holy basil , and others. On the bottle it says to take 1-2 capsules twice daily. I currently can only take 1 capsule twice a day because if I try 2 at a time it is too energizing for me. I worry that I am not getting enough of the product. Any thoughts ? Thank you

  53. Hi there,
    Great info, thank you. This past year I’ve lost my husband and officially entered menopause. My research brought me here because I’m looking for relief from stomach pain/reflux which from what I read can be brought on by hormone imbalance. Bloods show cortisol a bit elevated. I want to try herbal supps but unsure which way to go. Feeling a bit anxious, fatigue was horrid but getting better and I tend to have low BP. Help please, not sure which combo :s Sleep fine and pleased to report no hot flushes. merci!

    • Hi Michele, Heart pouring out love for all the transition you’re going thru. I’m sorry not to have answered sooner — I am making my way through literally hundreds of comments from such lovely women — and just now came upon yours. It is normal for your cortisol to be up during a time of grief, and also for your digestion to be off. I’d work with Lavela and Motherwort for sleep and nervous system support…I hope things are getting easier… <3 Aviva

  54. Hi Dr. Romm,
    As always, I am totally LOVING your articles!!! Wow! I am thinking about trying Holy Basil, because I have also read the benefits for histamine intolerance (which my doctor thinks I have an issue with…at least seasonally). I have an organic tincture (in an alcohol base), and I am wondering if it is best to take alone (like on an empty stomach) or with food? What do you suggest? I am SO HOPEFUL that this will help with my adrenals, histamine response, reflux, etc… YAY! Thanks again!!!
    Best,
    Sharon

  55. Good Morning Aviva

    This is a great article but I thought I would mention that, in David Winstons’ book on Adaptogens, he mentions that Ashwagandha should not be used in people with Hyperthyroidism as it is used to stimulate the thyroid. It is used to re-regulate the thyroid in Hypothyroidism. Just thought I would mention that. 🙂

    • Yes, there is some evidence that ashwagandha can increase TSH. I love David — he’s a close pal — and his herbal work is awesome!

  56. this was such an interesting post. In the past I have found Holy Basil really helpful but I was told it is not safe for breastfeeding so I haven’t used it in years, having had two kids close in age.

  57. Aviva-
    I am a 37 year old woman that was diagnosed with PCOS. Do you have any suggestions on what I can take to help with some of the symptoms I have from this disorder such as fatigue weight gain hormonal ups and downs hot flashes sugar cravings my PH valence is clearly out of wack and so one . I almost feel like I am going through metapouse; it’s horrible to feel this way and only have one good week out of the entire month. Thank you in advance

  58. Hi Aviva,
    I was treated for adrenal fatigue at one time with an Metagenic product (Orthoadapt) and felt good while taking it. I took a break but found that I was still feeling the symptoms of adrenal fatigue so was given rhodiola. The rhodiola seemed to heighten my (very!) negative symptoms — in particular, my negative (read: dark and brooding) mood…is this a rare, but possible side effect? Thanks! Lucy 🙂

  59. Sorry! Correction: Othoadapt is NOT a metagenics product — can’t actually remember the name of the company now (but I did get it from my Naturopath) 🙂

  60. Thank you for the info. I am currently weening off of my SSRI and am wondering if holy basil is okay to take during this process. Any safety concerns? Thanks!

  61. I started Adrenal Support by Gaia a couple of weeks ago. Is there anything in there that can cause mid-cycle cramping and spotting? I don’t usually have this, but noticed this a couple of weeks into taking AS.

  62. Hi there, I was curious if you know of any interactions with ashwagandha and oral birth control or any anti stress herbs for that matter. After starting birth control I have felt very high strung and stressed out and I’m not finding very useful information on the subject.
    I would be very thankful for any insight you might have.
    Thanks.

    • The only interaction that I’ve heard reported is between OCPS and St. John’s wort — while no pregnancies have been reported with their co-use, the SJW seems to drop the blood hormone levels because it’s breaking down the hormones. So I don’t combine the two. Best wishes, Aviva

  63. Hi Aviva,

    I’m trying to find an adaptogen – the best one to use for at least a year during pregnancy, postpartum (Breastfeeding included). I had a horrible time when my body was suddenly depleted of essential nutrients, minerals, hormones, as a sleep-deprived new mama with no support. High anxiety, deep depression, completely fatigued. I also had Vit D deficiency, severe inflammation, and a thyroid crisis (hypothyroidism). My IBS issue went sky high. I finally added the list of supplements below a few months postpartum and it took a year to feel okay, and two years to feel “happier.” I’m still working on myself, including my loss of libido (& ongoing PMS/menstrual pain issues)! I’d like to be as best prepared this time around!

    Current supplements:
    – Magnesium 500mg, i once PM
    – Calcium 1200 mg, Plus D3 1000mg, i once PM (still D insufficient!)
    – Fish Oil 1200 mg, i once PM
    – Vit C 1000 mg, i once PM
    – Super B-Complex, i once PM
    – Prenatal Vit, i once PM
    – Levothyroxine 75mcg, i once AM, six days/week

    I’m confident I just need an adaptogen (or safe combo) to round it off! 🙂

    Thank you! <3

    • PS: I did try out shakeology and exercise last year, and half cup shakeology in a smoothie was doing wonders until I suffered painfully from too much fiber! When I quit, I had a month of severe fatigue – and only then found out that shakeology, which is super expensive anyway, is full of adaptogens! I realized I could really use a well-thought out combo. Not sure who else to reach out to just north of Boston.

  64. Hi Aviva — I enjoyed your article. I recently suffered a concussion that has affected my sleep pattern. I am interested in taking Ashwagandha — but heard it could affect blood pressure medication. I am currently taking 40mg of Diovan. Do you think it would still be appropriate for me to try this herb? Thanks in advance for your feedback!

    • Hi Amy, I’d simply keep an eye on blood pressure – if you notice that it is going down, that’s a good thing and your MD can lower your diovan dose — which could also be a good thing! Talk with your MD about this. Ashwagandha, at a modest dose, though, is not a heavy BP hitter. Sorry about the concussion — that’s so tough. Rest your brain a lot! For real!!!

  65. I wanted to start taking stress reliever by herb pharm but how much should i take ?im not sure the dosage you would deem adeqaute for daily consumption

  66. Hello. I started taking HPA Adapt for adrenal fatigue and after about a month of taking it, I started having a lot of pressure in my throat. I just had an ultrasound of my neck that showed inflammation of my thyroid and had a blood test that showed my TSH has more than doubled since I last had it checked (which was right before starting the HPA Adapt). Could these herbs have caused me to now have problems with my thyroid? Feeling a bit scared and lost. Would really appreciate some advice.
    Thank you!
    Andrea

    • Hi Andrea,
      Wow, I can see how disconcerting that would be, and its totally understandable that you would be feeling scared and lost. I am sorry that you’re going through this! Dr. Aviva encourages you to work with an integrative physician who will do some digging with you. The key word being digging! The HPA axis is an intricate system, and for some, a more step by step approach is necessary as opposed to prescribing a product with a bunch of stuff in it. Dr. Aviva will be running both an adrenal program AND a thyroid program in the very near future, where she will be taking a deep dive into best ways to support your unique system, so stay tuned for more info from us.

      Megan- Dr. Aviva Romm Nutritionist

  67. Hi there. Thanks for this great info. I was wondering if you could comment on the Megafood Adrenal Strength blend in relation to the other blends you mention. I’ve been taking the megafood for a few weeks and notice a subtle effect that is positive. However, this is surprising since it has 200mg of rhodiola in it and just 100mg of the New Chapter Rhodiola sends my insomnia and anxiety into overdrive.

    Is the quality of the herbs in the Megafood less than the New Chapter or Gaia? I’d like to stick with a blend of herbs to support my adrenals but wonder if I should try the Gaia blend and maybe get more than a subtle effect. I don’t like that the Gaia is missing the mushrooms that are included in the Megafood blend but I want to make sure I’m getting a high quality set of herbs.

    • Hi Natalie,

      This is Megan from Dr. Aviva’s team. Thanks for your post and for your great question. There are many really great blends on the market, and in Dr. Aviva’s practice she generally likes to stick to blends that are between 5-7 herbs. If what your taking is working for you, tuning into what works for your system is best. It sounds like you know your body really well so I would encourage you to go with what you know to be best for your unique body!

      Megan, Dr. Aviva Romm Nutritionist

      • Hi Megan! Thank you so much for this information. I agree we should follow what our bodies tell us is positive, but I was just surprised to respond to the Megafood Adrenal supplement when I know rhodiola gives me issues. This was confirmed this past week when I did try the Gaia adrenal supplement and reacted terribly– I didn’t sleep for two full nights and had the worst anxiety and depression of my life. So I was just curious if there was something different about the rhodiola in the Megafood — perhaps it is a weaker extract of the herb?

        Have a great weekend!
        Natalie

        • Hi Natalie,

          Oye, that sounds really rough. It could be that the rhodiola is weaker, or it could be what it is combined with.

  68. Hi Aviva – I am 39 and recently started taking Rhodiola (250mg per day) for 3 weeks for ADHD symtoms with amazing results. I’m now taking a break from it. All my life I’ve had really bad PMS for 2 weeks before my period and in my thirties developed a huge amount of breast swelling also for 2 weeks before my period. While taking Rhodiola I had zero PMS symptoms and no breast swelling.
    I am confused about reports that Rhodiola should be avoided if there is a family history of estrogen type breast cancer as it has an ‘estrogenic effect’. What does that mean exactly? One of my aunts died from breast cancer. Not sure what type. From my results using Rhodiola does it sound like it helped to balance my hormones and might actually have a protective/beneficial effect? I really want to start back taking it again. Any thoughts are much appreciated.

    • Not to my knowledge, but always check with your prescribing doc! St John’s wort has been shown to reduce estrogen in women on OCPS, but not increase pregnancy… Be careful though 🙂

  69. Hi Aviva,

    THanks for this post and for your amazing blog. I have learned so much from your blog and your books over the past few years! I was working with some adrenal issues a few years ago and landed on a blend of Rhodiola, Codonopsis and Amla. It was really helpful in combination with some dietary changes. I stopped taking it when I was pregnant with my now 7 month old but am interested in starting back again. Is this combination safe for breastfeeding!?

    thanks so much for your incredible wisdom!

    Ariel

    • Hi Ariel, Congrats on baby and yes, I do recommend adaptogens during breastfeeding to support stressed out exhausted mommas who aren’t getting much sleep, and those with adrenal fatigue. Be well!!!

  70. This article has me seeing a tiny bit of sunshine. Thank you!
    I have several auto-immune diseases but am currently in a major battle with PMDD. I am desperately trying to avoid the SSRI that has been prescribed to take two weeks on, two weeks off. Do you have any suggestions on which adaptogen or blend could help. I am at the end of my rope & in dark despair. Thanks again for the much needed information in this article & for all of your lovely responses above. I do take a birth control pill but see from previous responses that shouldn’t be an issue.

  71. Hi Aviva! Thank you for the wonderful information. Now to decide which adaptogen is best for me. Are all of these herbs safe to take while nursing? Thank you.

  72. Hi Aviva,

    Really nice article!

    I know some of these adaptogens (Ashwagandha and Euletero) and they have been really helpful fighting with stress and anxiety.
    I have never though about mixing them at the same time (or with other adaptogens or nervines) how does the mixing work (doses, time etc?)?

    Also, I know that after a period you are taking adaptogens you should take a pause in order for them to be efficient at the maximum. Could you suggest a good pause time and after how long to take it?

    Thank you very much!

    Regards

  73. I took a 4x cortisol saliva test and my numbers came back low. They were on the bottom of the reference range. What do you recommend? I have extreme anxiety and my hormones are out of whack as well. I’m currently on TRT. What herb could help?

    • Hi Dennis, Any of the adaptogens can be very supportive, stress reduction if stress is playing a big role, and working with an integrative or functional medicine physician.

  74. Thanks for the very useful information!

    I’ve been prescribed Vitex for boosting fertility and I wanted to ask you if I should avoid taking Rhodiola whilst taking the Vitex.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Great question. Rest, meditation, yoga, blood sugar balance, Bcomplex, magnesium, talking with other women — keeping inner peace as much as possible — because all of this can truly reset your adrenal state – and once baby is born, adaptogens are safe to use.

  75. I tried Ashwaganda and it helped with energy,focus and motivation which I need, but it caused headaches, weight gain, stomach cramps and insomnia. Which other herb do you recommend?

    • Hi Lauren,

      This is Megan from Dr. Aviva’s team. IF you scroll through the comments, Aviva answers a few questions about the herbs and breastfeeding!

      Warmly,
      Megan- Dr. Aviva Romm Nutritionist

  76. My father was in/out hospital, rehab, home, repeat, repeat for 10 months and then passed away in July. To support myself, I had an adaptogen formula made up that included rhodiola, gotu kola, red ginseng and shizandra. I’m 58, workout 6 days per week, eat whole food and stellar labs until last month. Elevated blood pressure when low normal is usual. That seems better. Fasting blood sugar was 102. I have monitored this and it is going up. 125 if I dont have wine or a cocktail with dinner, 145 if I do. Could any of the adaptogens I took (stopped them 6 weeks ago) be the reason? Frankly, I am very surprised. I felt I handled things well and grief has been as expected.
    Many thanks!

  77. Great article Aviva, thank you, I love what you stand for and what you do! Could you please confirm if all the adaptogens listed above are ok to take while breastfeeding? Thank you!

    • Sure are. Just watch baby for any overstimulation or tummy upset. I usually stay away from ginseng while BF’ing because it is a bit stimulating… And thank you!!! 🙂

    • Adrenal products are considered safe while BF’ing, but of course, see how baby does while you are taking it — is she overstimulated? fussy? If so, stop and find a different combo.

  78. Good article, Just came across this post from the link on your recent podcast. Strangely enough, I recently wrote a post on adaptogens (holy basil, rhodiola, Eleuthero, gotu kola, and ashwagandha) and found your take on them fantastic. You focus much on their role in helping manage fatigue, stress, and HPA axis dysregulation while my article focused more on how they can help us achieve ideal health when taken in the presence of good health, and possibly prolong life? Surprisingly, they also have some pretty potent positive impacts on physical performance.

  79. Thanks for the great information. I am currently taking the Gaia adrenal health supplement. I recently heard you are not supposed to take this for longer than a year. Is that correct? How long is it safe to take these supplements?
    Thanks!

    • There is no evidence that one cannot take adaptogens for longer than a year….there is some evidence that one gets the best results in 2 weeks of use, so now I sometimes recommend taking it for a couple of months, stopping for a couple of weeks, and restarting if you’re getting waning effects. But if it’s otherwise helping, ok to keep on indefinitely as far as the current science shows. 🙂

  80. Thank you for this incredibly helpful post. I feel like I would benefit from these, but each and every time I try ashwaganda I feel jittery and uptight. I have tried capsules and the pure powder form from Mountain Rose Herbs, should I try the extract? I really want it to work! 🙂 I have tried on several occasions, for days at a time. Holy basil and rhodiola have had the same effect. I can tolerate Eleuthero however! Any thoughts?

    • Hi Rhonda, Yes, every now and then I hear this response. It might be that you’d be better off trying the true nervine herbs like skullcap, lavender, lemon balm, or motherwort, and try some of the vitamins etc like B-5, B-6, and phosphatidyl serine that have been shown to quiet down the overactive adrenal response…

  81. Thanks for this great article. Under Ashwagandha, the dosage written is 2 to 4 mL (20-80 drops) of tincture. Since 1 ml = 20 drops, do you mean 1 to 4 ml, or 40-80 drops?

  82. Hi Aviva,
    I noticed that you do not recommend Eleuthero herb if one has high blood pressure.
    My sister’s blood pressure fluctuates up and down. She is taking rhodiola and a small dose of eleuthero root (12 drops – vs 16-48 drops listed on the botttle). Her acupuncturist recommended eleuthero root to balance her blood pressure.
    Do you believe the eleuthero may be raising her blood pressure?

  83. Thank you! I have purchased Rhodiola, Ashwaganha, and and astragalus. Can I combine them in equal amounts in 1 bottle for ease of use? Do they need to be stored separately?

    • Hi Angie,

      This is Megan from Aviva’s team. You can certainly combine them to keep things easy 🙂

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  84. Hi Dr. Aviva,

    I have recently made your “Energy Pick Me Up Tea” from Natural Health After Birth. I’m wondering if I can add some rhodiola to the blend. Would that be effective?

    Thank you so much for all you do, you are a guiding light for me and my family! <3

    • Hi Kate,

      Adding Rhodiola would be a beautiful addition!

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  85. Hi Aviva! Thanks for all the wonderful work you do!!!!! Quick question: What about if you’re following a low FODMAP diet?…. Is Reishi still okay to take? I’m having trouble finding info about herbs and FODMAP. Eating FODMAP is helping with my stomach issues but I need all these adaptogens! 😉

  86. Thank you for your wonderful blog and podcast Avivia! I just listened to the podcast and jumped over here to read the blog. I have an over active letdown/over supply probably due to inflammation. My 3 month old has allergic gastroenteritis and colitis (symptoms started at 2 weeks old), so I’ve been eliminating foods to try to figure out the offending protein, with no luck yet. I’m still gluten, dairy, and soy free. Her poor little gut is already inflamed and permeable. Do you recommend one of these adaptogens or a blend for inflammation to get my supply under control? I don’t understand why I’m more inflamed after trying to eliminate triggers and work on my gut, since this over supply issue is new within the past 3 weeks. Also wondering your thoughts on what harm this colitis is causing LO and future problems that can arise because of it and what you suggest for finding out what proteins she’s reacting negatively to. Your resources available to us are amazing – bless you!

  87. Hi
    First off, nice article. I was wondering if you have any information on natural treatment for bipolar depression? I’m very uncomfortable taking the medications I’m prescribed, and I hate the side effects, but I comply because I want to be healthy…. but then I struggle with how healthy is this treatment if it’s been mass produced in a lab of chemicals? I belive there are natural remides for everything the body struggles with, I just need to find what will work for me. My doctors refuse to help me with these questions as they obviously belive in medications, so I’m wondering if you have any info to help me on my hunt? Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for your comment. IF you have not already, please tune into the podcast that went live this week with Dr. Kelly Brogan. I think you will find it incredibly helpful.

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  88. Hey hmmm, I’ve noticed.after exercising my body became really stressed out. Like a lot of tension in my shoulders and neck. Anyhow, I took an ashwagandha and had immediate relief. Does this mean exercise is too much for my adrenaline or thyroid? Or can I just take the ashwagandha supplements.after working out, and be just fine?’ I suffered from panic attacks on and off for past 10 years so I’m sure I’ve over taxed my body. Thank you for your time 🙂

    • Hi Daniella,

      Thank you for your question, it sounds like you know your body really well, and that you are great at listening into what Aviva calls your body speak! It can be a bit tricky and actually Aviva answers your question in her podcast on PCOS. I highly suggest tuning in!

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  89. Thank you for your pod-cast on adaptive a! RHODIOLA is transforming my life in the three weeks I’ve been taking it (after listening to your podcast!)
    QUESTION: I still take sertraline for depression. Is this a risky combination?

    • Hi Joanna,

      Aviva always recommends talking with your doctor when combining herbs with other meds.

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  90. Also just one more question: I have been taking the Gaia RHODIOLA which works but I’m looking at other brands, in higher doses and more economical. you recommend Herb Pharm but I cannot find percent of rosavins on their bottle. Do you have any insight on this?

    • Hi Joanna,

      Herb Pharm is a farm to bottle brand and not all brands quantify the percentages.

      Warmly,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  91. Hello, I really loved this article. I’ve been working hard to educate others on adaptogens and I shared this blog on my facebook page because I found it so helpful. I blend a line of teas that contain adaptogens so that people can incorporate emotional well-being into their daily life one cup of tea at a time. My teas are more subtle, they don’t contain the amount of herbs a supplement does, but they do offer regular exposure to these valuable herbs in an enjoyable tea blend. http://www.teamotionstea.com Thank you again for sharing this valuable info.

    • Hi Rachel,

      Thank you for you kind words and for sharing Aviva’s work!!

      Warm wishes,
      Megan -Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  92. Hi Aviva-

    I like Recovery Tonic from True Botanica. I don’t think the company is well known. 1 capsule equals 500 mg of ashwagandha root.

  93. I’ve been taking ashwagandha for about 4 months and didn’t reorder because I didn’t think it had made a big difference on my issues (autoimmune diseases, fatigue, brain fog, memory problems and other neurological issues related to a just-diagnosed seizure disorder that had been misdiagnosed as migraines for years). I did notice after I stopped taking it that my libido went down, and realized that it had gone up quite a bit while I was on it (much to my husband’s happiness and surprise!). I hadn’t even known about that affect but I may go back on it just because of that. After 5 kids and 20 years of marriage, it was a nice boost in that department!

    I have also just started schisandra, which is not on your list but was well recommended by others. I am considering adding one or two others from your list to see if they can further help my symptoms.

    One note about rhodiola: Rhodiola made me feel like I was having a heart attack. I have several autoimmune disorders and was struggling with fatigue so I ordered some, but it made my heart race and made me feel as if I was having an all-day panic attack. It was definitely not a good fit for me. I do not have bipolar depression.

    • Hi Alicia,

      This is Megan from Aviva’s team. Thank you for sharing your experiences! It really does go to show how incredibly important it is to tune into your unique system and it sounds like you are incredibly good at listening to what Aviva call body speak!

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Dr. Aviva Romm Nutritionist

  94. Well I have now tried two separate times in a row, and I just wanted to share with the group that 1-2 cups (two steepings of one tea bag) of Holy Basil (Tulsi) tea per day can send me directly into hypomania, with racing thoughts, irritability, fast talking and decreased need for sleep/insomnia/very light sleep patterns and irrational thinking. I tried it separately, with a week in between, and it triggered me both times, immediately. Caffeine is also a trigger, but it still does not have this powerful of an effect on me (I still don’t drink it though). This is like four espressos in one cup, but the tea clearly states it does not have caffeine in it.

    I am so sad about this because I was hoping this would be the ticket to help me with my stress issues, but for those of you with depression who are already on an anti-depressants, and for those diagnosed cyclothymic (myself) or bipolar, please watch out for yourselves. The initial shift towards a positive mood is great, but it can escalate *very* quickly in my experience.

  95. Hello Aviva,

    Such a great article! Thank you for all the information! I was just wondering how you can test to find out if you have adrenal fatigue or leaky gut. I think I have leaky gut, but some of the symptoms for adrenal fatigue sound like me too. Can you or do you ever refer customers to other specialists other than yourself, if they are not in the same country as you? Thank you!

    • Hi Sarah,

      Thank you so much for your message! Aviva recommends working with either a functional medicine doctor, ND or an integrative doctor to help with testing. If you go to the Institute for Functional Medicine (https://www.functionalmedicine.org/) you can look for a practitioner in your community.

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  96. This article is very helpful. Based on the recommended adaptogenic herbs and nutritional requirements, I would add Zen Stress by Zen Herbalists to this list. Its helped me a lot. They are relative new comers to the market, but contain many of the adaptogens mentioned plus vitamin Bs and magnesium glycinate. http://www.zenherbalists.com if interested.

  97. Hi, my son (20 yrs old) is recovering from his third concussion in six months. He also has trouble sleeping and gets night terrors- hence concussion number one. Is Ashwagandha safe to take while recovering from a concussion and wirth night terrors? Thanks for your help

    • Hi Marie,
      So sorry. Sports? Fish oil is the best treatment I know of for concussion, and intense rest. No school, no computer, no reading. Seriously, rest. I don’t know of any problems with ashwagandha and concussion.
      Best Aviva

  98. Hello. Could you tell me whether these adaptogens are safe to take while breastfeeding? I have taken a formula with these before but my baby is only five months so it’ll be another year at least before I wean her.???? Any ideas for me? Thanks!

    • Hi Nicole,

      If you scroll through the comments you will see where Aviva’s speaks to the usage of adaptogens in breastfeeding!

      Best,
      Megan -Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  99. Hi Dr. Aviva,

    I have PCOS and subclinical hypothyroidism. My partner and I are currently trying to get pregnant. I just started taking WP desiccated thyroid. I started taking Rhodilia (day 5) and I’m not bipolar but I am concerned about Rhodilia a bit because I do have anxiety and I’m afraid it will make it worse. I was wondering if you felt like one of these herbs would be more beneficial with having PCOS, hypothyroid and anxiety. Thank you! 🙂

    • Hi Megan,

      This is Megan from Aviva’s team. Thank your for your note! I highly suggest looking at both Aviva’s blog on PCOS as well as her podcast as they are both loaded with information that will be incredibly helpful for you 🙂

      Best,
      Megan-Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  100. Dr. Romm
    What do you know of Maniada
    I read it helps with PCOS and testosterone production in the ovaries
    Saw Palmetto also combines well with Damiana to support healthy libido
    It also helps with depression

  101. Dear Dr Romm

    I love your website it is very informative and is the best I have seen with regard to these issues. I am posting from London UK. I am a 46 yr old female with a 3 year old I am suffering extreme fatigue low mood aching in lower back and legs since total hysterectomy with removal of ovaries. I have high chlosterol borderline high bp and borderline diabetic asthmatic and celiac with lactose intolerance in your opinion which adapotogens would help with these symptoms

    Kind regards
    Michelle

    • Hi Michelle,

      Thank you for your message and I am so sorry that you are experiencing all that you are. It can be tricky to give a specific medical recommendation over this type of interface so it really is best if you find an integrative or functional medicine doctor that can help you get to the root of what is going on in your body. We are sending you healing wishes.

      Warmly,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s executive assistant and online nutritionist

  102. Hi I was curious if you had any suggestions as to whether these herbs should be avoided with MS. I’m still learning about auto immune issues and I noticed some of the herbs assisted the immune system. With my limited thought processes stimulating the immune system with something like MS would not be good. Any thoughts? Thank You!

    • Hi Chrissy,

      My name is Megan and I am Aviva’s executive assistant and online nutritionist. This is where you would want to work with a functional doctor who is familiar with herbs or a skilled herbalist so that you can get the proper guidance in which herbs would be best for your body.

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant and Online Nutrition Expert

  103. Hi Aviva,

    Thank you very much for your article..

    I heard that during recovery from adrenal fatigue there are different phases and that adaptogens should not be taken continuosly but sometimes a pause is needed or a change in the mixture used in order to achieve better results..

    Many thanks for the attention,

    Regards,
    Gianluca

    • Hi Gianluca,
      This is just conjecture but there is no evidence that this is the case. Some studies however, do show that you ought to be getting benefit in 2 weeks. Many herbalists use them continually.
      Best, Aviva

  104. Hello Dr. Romm!

    Thanks to you, I have become a daily adaptogen user and find they really help! I’m hoping you can answer a dosage question for me.

    I can’t seem to pin down how to dose when taking more than one adaptogen. For example, would I take the recommended 3-6 grams of Ashwagandha, 2-3 grams of Eleuthero and 3-9 grams of Reishi Mushroom – for a total of 8-18 grams of herbs per day? Or would I reduce the amount of each individual herb when taken separately?

    While researching for a blog post, i tried all of these herbs individually first and then experimented with combos of the ones that worked best for me. In my own n=1 experiment, I seem to be able to tolerate the full recommended dosage of each. But then again, I’ve only taken about 4 simultaneously.

    I hunted through your content about adaptogens (posts, podcast and other podcasts you’ve been on), and also read Dr. Frank Lipman, Chris Kilham, Examine.com, Dr. Josh Axe, Chris Kresser, and Robb Wolf. That particular dosage detail has eluded me and one of my readers asked this same question today. So I’m going straight to the Adaptogen Goddess!

    Thanks for the many ways you have influenced my health!

    BTW – Missing the podcast!

  105. Hello!
    Wow, what an informative website!
    I have been taking Schisandra for the past month and I really like it. However, I cannot find any information on the web or anywhere if this herb is safe to take with my birth control pill. I even asked my OBGYN at my last visit and even she could not give me an answer. I really hope somebody can!

  106. Hello!

    Thank you for all your amazing work! I am a breastfeeding mom of a 6 month old (and I have a 6 year old who is not breastfeeding anymore). I have not slept in 8 months it seems since I am up every 2 hours nursing. I need some good thyroid and adrenal adaptogen support during this phase of life! . Which of these herbs would you recommend the most? A blend? Thank you!!

  107. Great article. I am taking Cordyceps and Maca. Are these OK?
    I am trying to conceive but would I harm my baby if I continue to take them without knowing I’m pregnant. What are the actual suspected risk associated with adaptogen use in pregnancy?

    • Hi Katie,

      Aviva recommends discontinuing the use of all adaptogens in pregnancy.

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva’s executive assistant and Functional Health Coach

  108. Hi, I’ve recently found you, Dr A !! After a life full of many downs (and some ups) in the last 6 years I’ve cared for disabled parents, buried them, had a bowel rupture w 2 surgery’s , moved to a new state – on it goes. I never had fertility problems or major health issues, til recently, but the stresses of life have finally caught up to me. I found myself w sleeping issues-insomnia & nightmares, chronic fatigue, that exhausted upon waking up in morning, joints aching. I could go on, but you get the general idea-its not been any fun lately. I started investigating adaptogens and about a month ago started taking Ashwagandha, 500mg powder in warm raw milk w raw honey 1 time a day in evening. And have increased over this month to 2 capsules spread out during day & taken with raw milk and continuing the warm milk & honey in evenings. For the first time in ages I can stay asleep at least 6 – 8 hours. YAY.
    AND after reading further your information on Reishi mushrooms, am hoping for further healing, and balancing. I want to thank you for your informative and knowledgeable blogs. Blessings on you

  109. I should add – i get the the raw unpasteurized milk and honey locally from a proven reputable sources. My daughter also uses this raw honey & milk. And also that the raw milk is from organically fed A2 producing cows. I haven’t had ANY adverse reactions to either product – but as a precaution when I started using the raw milk, I added it slowly in small amounts when first trying it. Again, thanks

  110. Sorry Dr A, but I have a question – after further researching taking Reishi mushrooms, your blog also says there’s a caution to taking Reishi if taking blood thinners. I’m not taking any prescription blood thinners, but I do take 1/2 aspirin twice daily – the total amount is 325 mg daily. Would the daily aspirin count as a blood thinner, and would it still be safe to add Reishi mushroom to the Ashwagandha I’m taking 3 times a day?

    • Hi Deb, This is really more of a theoretical concern and I haven’t seen any problems, and if you’re already successfully taken an adaptogen, you’d likely be fine – but please please check with your prescribing doc before adding anything new since I can’t really give medical guidance here on the web. BTW currrent recommednations for prevention usually suggest 81 mg ASA daily is plenty unless one’s had a stroke. So check with your doc about cutting back that dose if you can to avoid risks of GI bleeding assocaited with higher dose aspirin. Aviva

  111. Hi Dr Aviva,
    What would you recommend for a 9 years old boy?
    I have most of the adaptogens you have listed but not sure what dose or if they would be suitable for children.
    Thank you

    • Hi Anna,

      When it comes to working with kids and adaptogens, it’s best to work with a Dr. or naturopath so that you have someone hands on watching how the child is doing.

      Warm wishes,
      Megan- Aviva Romm’s Executive Assistant & Functional Health Coach

  112. How many grams of dried Shatavari is a recommended daily dose. I have been taking 1/2 t of the dried root from Mountain Rose Herbs, I was wondering if that is enough or is it too much?

  113. I have 5 months to go in my 4th pregnancy. What I can I take for my adrenal dysfunction (which has lead to thyroid/anemia/mag deficiency/low blood sugar) right now? I’m desperate to get my energy back & be happy to be a mom, and everything I’m reading says I can’t take anything.

    • hi Rebecca, I don’t recommend adaptogens in pregnancy. However, improved sleep/rest, meditation practice, yoga, and keeping your blood sugar balanced can go a really long way toward getting your stress response system/adrenals supported and nourished while pregnant, then after baby is born you can add in gentle adrenal nourishment, for example, the Adrenasoothe product I’m launching on Jan 17th 2017 with Herb Pharm for those who need a gentle blend that is non-stimulating. Best with baby!

  114. Hello, first I want to say thank you for all the great things I learn from you and your books. In France your kind of profile is quite rare, maybe even inexistant!
    So my question’s about Ashwagandha. I read that it’s not recommanded during pregnancy, and I found some other concerns for the use while breast-feedind (probably because of the alcaloids I guess). For a women with Hashimoto and no synthetic treatment at all, who is still breast-feeding his son of 1 and working 4 days a week, do you think it’s safe? Major signs are blues, hair lossing, sadness, lack of energy and irritability (and TSH of 5). No weight gain, on the contrary she lost a lot with the pregnancy, no digestive or elimination trouble, no pain joints (so no need to avoid Ashwagandha theoretically).
    I would begin with Avena tincture and Schizandra, but Ashwagandha is definitily my first choice. Maybe it’s better to discontinue 1 week per monthe so we let the leaver to clean? But with Schizandra, I would like to bet that the leaver would be supported. And as there is an allergical background, there is also a gemmotherapy complex (Ribes, Rosmarinus and Propolis). Of course, we will pay attention to food (vitamins B and tyrosine-sources and zinc…), for a non-inflammatory alimentation, so this will encourage the leaver too.
    Well, I gave you all information I think!
    I’m a bit new in adaptogens…
    thank’s a lot, you know I ask regurlarly to the universe for you to come in France for conferences! We so much need people like you, midwife and herbalist and doctor (and woman)!

    • Hi Kiara, with a TSH of 5 and this many symptoms, I’d always start meds while doing the work it takes to optimize thyroid – then eventually back off of the meds when possible. Without optimized thyroid, it’s an uphill battle that’s almost impossible to win, and the herbs alone won’t do it. Would LOVE to come to France to teach! 🙂

    • On January 17th – ish I am launching my personal line of adaptogens – the ones I am currently taking for myself! I’ve created 2 blends exactly for your situation – the AdrenaSoothe, for example. They will be available on Amazon and thru my website and formulary. 🙂

  115. Great post. I will keep this page on my favourite list. Big fan of adaptogens and nootropics. I just recently graduated as a master herbalist. I often use adaptogens with skullcap, wood betony and mugwort for their grounding effect as hyper adrenalised people have a disconnect to their feeling body. I work on this with yoga therapy also.

  116. Very good article and recommendations. Way more clear than the other articles I was looking at about adaptogens. I really like how you share the subtle differences between each herb. It’s important to share this as each person is different and we also can use different ones at different times. The combination products are good of course, but there are times when I like to take the single herbs.

  117. Thank you for the information! I’m taking meds for Valley Fever, thyroid and for sleeping. Melatonin/Valerian stopped working when I went through menopause.

    Will any of these interfere with my meds and other supplements?

    • Hi Lisa, I don’t know what meds you’re taking – so can’t speak to this. Adaptogens may interact with certain medications for immunosuppression, amongst others, so do speak with your prescribing provider who can look in a database like Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database for your specific medications and the herbs your thinking about trying. These herbs do not interfere with any supplements that I know of.

    • Rhodiola and ginseng are not optimal for those on prescription meds for anxiety. And speak with your prescribing doc about the rest 🙂 In my medical practice I use many different tools – including some herbs in this article even in patients on anxiety meds.

  118. Hello, what an amazing article. It’s given me hope… i just bought a bottle of emerald labs adrenal health which contains 300mg rhodiola, 250mg ashwaganda, 100mg elutherococcus, and 50mg royal jelly along with some b vitamins…i just recently started taking perikas st johns wort 2% hyperforin and I wanted to know if it’s safe to take together for mild depression/anxiety…Thank you so much

  119. Dear Aviva

    Thank you so much for a great article. I just bought your book and have started cleaning our my kitchen, hygiene products etc. I am shopping according to the lists in part 2: the SOS solution, but have a little question, that I hope you can answer.
    I am taking my whole family on this health journey, because they also need a boost in their diet, and it is easier to be able to make the same food for the whole family. Regarding supplements and adaptogens…
    My 17 year old daughter suffer from heavy bleeding and severe cramps during her cycle. She is very moody, happy, moody, happy (I know she is a teenager, but still). Would Maca, Rhodiola and Shatavari help her you think?

    Thank you so much for your great knowledge and help in taking our health back.

    A mum from Denmark

  120. Hello! I am suffering from adrenal fatigue and thyroid issues. I am also a nursing mother! Is Rhodiola safe to use while nursing? I’ve read it’s not recommended from some sources. The supplement I’ve purchased contains 240mg/day. Thank you so much!

    • Check out my latest blog on adaptogens for burnout – it’s got a section for nursing mommas. I don’t usually recommend rhodiola as a main adaptogen during BF’ing. In the article I talk about the most gentle adaptogens – those are the ones I use while BF’ing.

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