Adaptogens on Natural MD Radio with Aviva Romm

If you’re living in the U.S. right now, you’ll be familiar with today’s topic. We all have it: the 10 a.m. blood sugar crash, the same crash at 4 p.m., the craving for chocolate or coffee or anything to keep your energy up and your brain clear, to give you the motivation to do what you need to do during the day. Our society has a problem, and there’s no shortage of quick energy fixes lining the shelves of even your local health food store.

I think it’s safe to say we’re in the middle of a human energy crisis. We’re living in an age of chronic overdrive where our time is constantly being demanded on. On today’s episode, I’m talking about adaptogens, a whole group of herbs that can help us heal our energy problems.

You can Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud

“The bottom line is that, used correctly and when you’re getting great products, herbs can be such a great adjunct to your daily self care and your health.” – Aviva Romm

Show Notes:

  • The chronic energy problem happening in America
  • What is the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis
  • Our body’s fight or flight response
  • What happens when your body is under a certain level of stress all the time
  • Why chronic overdrive can lead to diabetes and high blood pressure
  • What is cortisol and what does it do
  • How chronic overdrive can make you sick

“The term adaptogens actually refers to the unique ability of these herbs to help your body adapt to stress in your life.” – Aviva Romm

  • The power of good quality herbs
  • Adaptogens have been used in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine
  • Why we often get sick the minute we get a break from the stress
  • How adaptogens work by calming your adrenal glands
  • When adaptogens work best
  • My six favorite adaptogens for women: Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Holy Basil (or Sacred Basil), Shatavari, Eleuthero, Reishi mushroom
  • Why not take this simple action to give yourself a little extra support

Adaptogens Mentioned:

  1. Ashwagandha
  2. Rhodiola
  3. Holy basil (or sacred basil)
  4. Shatavari
  5. Eleuthero
  6. Reishi mushroom

“Adaptogens help your body and your mind to cope more effectively with the demands of everyday life.” – Aviva Romm

Links Mentioned:

“I love herbs, they are a big part of my life.” – Aviva Romm



  1. Hi Aviva, just wanted to comment that we don’t “all have” the crashes you’re talking about. Those of us who are hooked on sugar and adrenaline, yes, have those crashes. But it’s a downright lie to say we ALL are in that state. I know I haven’t had that crash since I quit sugar and joined Workaholics Anonymous to get my adrenaline addiction in check. I think it’s important to honor the portion of humanity that lives sanely rather than paint “society” with a sweeping brushstroke of perceived illness. Thanks for listening.

    • Hi Meredith, Thanks for your comment and so glad you got the help you needed. I think, given your points, you can recognize that you did actually have those crashes — but don’t because you did learn to live sanely. That’s the point and I suspect most women who are reading the blog are looking for help with some of the problems you were struggling with. I also don’t have sugar crashes; haven’t in decades — also because of finding the right balance — in life – and especially learning how to eat for my blood sugar. The fact is though, that some studies suggest as many as 75% of Americans feel overwhelmed most of the time. That’s a lot! Thanks for telling us about WA — good to know folks can get help with overwork! Best, Aviva

      • Thank you for your reply. Wow, 75% is a very high percentage of the population to feel overwhelmed most of the time. Thanks for spreading the word about slowing down and taking good care of ourselves.

    • I think it’s a waste of your time to nitpick every single word Aviva says. Why not just take the basic information she is providing and go with it?

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  3. Hi Aviva,
    I recently stumbled onto your podcast. I can’t begin to tell you how much this particular post speaks to me, and I didn’t even know how much the stress in my life has been affecting me lately! I’ve already ordered the Ashwagandha, thanks for this timely post.

  4. Hi Aviva! Curious as your take on Aloe Vera Capsules/Gel/Supplement as an adaptogen? What benefits do you see in it, if any? And where or what kind would you recommend? THanks!

  5. I loved this podcast and it gives me so much hope! I suffer from CFC and have been battling it with my diet and exercise. I am excited to start Rhodiola, however, am still nursing my 14 month old son (a lot). I know you said not to take it during pregnancy, but what about while nursing? Thanks in advance and love what you do!

    • Hi Amanda,

      Thank you for your note and your kind words if you scroll thought the comments on the blog, Aviva speaks to the safety of adaptogens and breast feeding!

      I hope this helps!

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

    • You can pick and choose – one or several in a combination. There are some great pre-made products – and you can just follow the recommended doses depending on the herbs you select.

    • Hi Fray,

      Siberian Ginseng is wonderful! Aviva is trying to keep things simple and she can’t cover all the amazing adaptogens. More info on herbs will be coming soon so stay tuned!

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

  6. Dear Aviva,

    I am challenged by increased anxiety for almost 2 months now. I do not sleep well and sometimes I have increased heart rate. This comes more as a long term endured stress being a mother of 15 months old boy who was also struggling with eczema, so we had a lot of sleepless nights and worries and stress.

    I am still breastfeeding him for 2 times a day. I would like to use Rhodiola and I would like to know if it is ok to do that while I am still breastfeeding.

    Many thanks in advance!



  7. Hi Aviva! Ashwhaghanda and Tulsi saved me years ago, from a serious stress sickness. I’d love to take both again but I’m not convinced they are safe for a nursing mama. I would value your opinion! Thank you 🙂

    • Hi Sara,

      This is Megan from Dr. Aviva’s team. If you head over to the blog that Aviva wrote on adaptogens, you will see in the comments Aviva’s response to your question! Enjoy you baby!!

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

  8. Just pre-ordered your book. Struggling with Hashimotos and a past EBV infection that still presents symptoms. I am truly hoping your new book can help me heal. I have two young kids that I need to be emotionally and physically present for and I truly need my life back in a big way this year. The last 3 years I have felt awful (almost like I am slowly dying). My symptoms scare me at times (brain fog, muscle spasms, fatigue, weight gain, etc). I hope your program can help me get my health and my body back. Anything I can do now until I receive the book? Thanks so much.

    • Hi Heidi, So sorry you’ve been struggling so hard. In my practice, I roll like this: 1. Work on sleep. 2. Make sure diet is top notch – blood sugar is balanced, no sugar, no alcohol, remove big triggers like gluten and dairy for a month at least 3. Work on gut health – probiotic important 4. Add in immune support and if adrenal support needed, try to combine these in herbs like reishi, cordyceps, and maitake which support both. My blogs should give you support to get started and thank you so much for getting the book. We’ll have an online community to support you, too. <3

  9. Hi Dr. Romm
    I was actually your patient once at the UltraWellness center a few years ago. I still follow many of your recs, including gluten free, dairy free. Anyhow, I feel my cortisol is through the roof. I wanted to verify that Ashwagandha is the best for lowering cortisol? Would also like to lower my insulin levels. Thank you!

    • Hi Allison! Great to hear from you!!! 🙂 There are many reasons for high cortisol – and truly high cortisol needs physician’s eye to make sure a more serious adrenal problem isn’t the problem. Those can be life-threatening. Ashwagandha can be very helpful; however, other adaptogens also help to regulate cortisol. Stay tuned for my upcoming article on adaptogens and burnout – picking the best one for you. This might help to clarify your choice. Warmly, Aviva

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