What are Adaptogens?
Adaptogen is a buzz word, but I didn’t know what adaptogens were for the longest time. I think I assumed they were some kind of pyschadelic ingredient, haha! They are just regular plants with benefits. I should probably wait until I have some strong success story to go with the recipe before posting, but I’m sharing in real time here! I have recently been taking these mushroom powder capsules and making this hot cocoa. I can’t really tell if adaptogens make a diference, but it’s never a bad idea to have more variety of plants, so why not add them to hot cocoa? And it’s never a bad idea to increase your consumption of mushrooms—they are incredible. Who knew?
Adaptogens are plants, like herbs or mushrooms, that help your body adapt to stress. They can help you cope with biological, physical, or chemical stress, and aid your body in returning to homeostasis. Even if you’re not under stress, though, adaptogens have tons of other health benefits. Each one has different qualities, such as boosting immunity, balancing hormones, and being able to exercise longer and harder.
The main thing is that you need consistent consumption of them. An occasional teaspoon of one here and there is unlikely to bring noticeable results, but a consistent daily dose is likely to have a positive effect. You might have heard of people drinking “mushroom coffee” every single morning. It helps to have a routine of consuming them, and pairing them with other stress-reducing practices like exercise, meditation, deep breathing, etc.
Common Adaptogens and (a few of) Their Benefits
- Schisandra: Boosts memory, focus, mental performance, libido
- Ashwagandha: Protects the body against stress and anxiety
- Tulsi Basil: Reduces anxiety, stress and inflammation
- Maca Root: Boosts mood and energy levels
- Reishi Mushroom: Helps the body create a healthy sleep pattern and adapt to stress
- Cordyceps Mushroom: Reduces stress and balances hormones
- Turmeric: Helps the body balance stress hormones and reduces inflammation
- Nettle Leaf: Reduces stress and tension
- Licorice: Boosts endurance and overall energy, soothes upset stomachs and aids with upper respiratory problems.
- Gogi berries: Help to manage your body’s hormonal response to stress, are renowned for their ability to strengthen immunity and lower cholesterol
- Chlorella: adaptogenic algae that supports detoxification
Where to Get Some for your Adaptogenic Hot Cocoa
You can order whichever adaptogens you want, and use whichever ones you want in this cocoa. It’s very versatile. Hot cocoa hides a multitude of powders and tinctures, so load it up! It’s not the most normal-tasting hot cocoa out there, but I think it’s satisfying. I love the spiciness of the ginger and cayenne. Makes me feel so…..healthy, for some reason.
You can order herbs and adaptogens through Amazon, but I love to support Mountain Rose Herbs. They have great quality, and affordable prices. Here are some links to adaptogen powders (not affiliate).
Ashwaganda Powder Ashwaganda, when taken consistently, has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity in both diabetics and non-diabetics. Like other adaptogens, it lowers cortisol levels. In a 60-day study in 64 people with chronic stress, those in the group that supplemented with ashwagandha reported a 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia, on average, compared with 11% in the placebo group. Ashwaganda is also known to boost testerone and fertility in men, and even improve brain function.
Reishi Mushroom Powder Known as the Queen of Mushrooms, reishi mushrooms have polysaccharides, antioxidant properties, and beta-glucans that can help with immune function. When consumed daily, it promotes better sleep cycles. It is rather bitter, so it goes well in hot chocolate which already has bitter cocoa.
Maca Powder Maca is a very mild-tasting plant, and has kind of a nutty malt flavor. You can stir it into anything, really. Oatmeal, energy balls, smoothies, hot cocoa. It is a cruciferous vegetable grown in the high altitudes of Peru. It is said to improve sex drive, fertility, and promote balanced hormones. Like other adaptogens, it is reported to improve mood and reduce stress.
For Amazon orders, here are some (affiliate) links:
I’ve been taking these capsules, because I prefer to just swallow mushrooms quickly instead of mixing the powder into drinks, or buying expensive varieties of mushrooms to eat. These capsules contain 10 different mushrooms (mainly cordyceps, lion’s mane and reishi) and is said to improve brain function, gut health, immunity, mental clarity, balance blood sugar, and increase energy. I love that there are NO other ingredients besides mushrooms. Food as medicine for the win!
Maca powder to mix into anything. See above for maca benefits.
There are over 1.5 million different varieties of mushrooms! Here you’ll get 10 varieties in one blend, along with other adaptogenic herbs. Stir them into your hot cocoa!
Here’s a hot cocoa mix, in case you want something more convenient than making this recipe from scratch. It looks and sounds delicious, it’s just more expensive, so I haven’t tried it personally. I’ve heard drinking this helps with sugar and snack cravings.
Ashwaganda tincture. We have this tincture, and it’s very mild-tasting. Has a sweet licorice-like taste that even our kids don’t mind.
Also, this frother is really handy for making hot cocoa. It breaks up the cocoa so you don’t have all the cocoa in clumps at the bottom of your cup. It’s like a tiny, cheap immersion blender! Would make the perfect gift with some cute mugs and cocoa mixes.
For other hot chocolate recipes, check these out!
Rich and powerful hot cocoa that can be used for boosting immunity, reducing stress, and many other benefits. Adding a little fat (almond butter, coconut cream, cashew butter) helps to override the other flavors.
- 2 1/2 cups almond milk
- 2 TBSP cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ginger powder
- 1 pinch cayenne (optional)
- 3-4 TBSP maple syrup (or 3-4 dates)
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp mushroom powder
- 1 tsp ashwaganda powder
- 1 TBSP maca powder
- 1 TBSP almond or cashew butter, or coconut cream (optional, helps hide the other flavors)
Whisk all the ingredients you want to use (no need to use them all if you don't want) together in a small pot on the stove. Heat through and enjoy. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator to reheat and enjoy later.
If you'd like to make it frequently, I suggest making a mix of the dry ingredients and adding some to a cup of hot milk for faster preparation.
If you'd like to sweeten with dates, blend the milk and 3-4 large dates together in a blender, then heat with the rest of the ingredients.