Plant and Fungi Superheroes
Adaptogens for finding a state of peace.
Too blessed to be stressed. Good vibes only. We too strive to always see the glass half full here at the Den, amidst finding that perfect work life balance, but let’s get real here, existing in the modern world is like juggling a triangle, a square, and a sphere at the same time, sometimes blindfolded, it’s a challenge. We would love to always react from a well deep within us akin to the grounded demeanour of a contemporary Zen Buddha; or take action from the visceral feeling of calm we find sitting out at sea, watching the glow of the pink sunset splintering the inky waters during a surf, but that ain’t always the case. Sometimes we lose our cool in the storm of stress. Peering through the rear view mirror at the maelstrom of screaming kids in the backseat, coupled with a blistering sip of hot coffee to start the day, is a test of finding serenity to the nth degree. Gosh, anything that rocks the boat can feel like a lot more like being hit by a tidal wave these days, we aren’t pointing fingers, but we are all feeling languished with the ongoing unknowns of the world right now.
At times it’s a collective of mundane undulations of shit hitting the fan (hopefully not literally) that’ll zap us out of composure, other times it’s bigger happenings like global pandemics, the loss of a loved one, or heart break. Stress, whether triggered from a physical happening or an emotional one, is part of this being human thing. But great news, there are ways we can support our bodies to handle the sloshy seas and sometimes rogue sets that throw us off course — adaptogens. I personally like to think of them as a team of emotional support dogs or a hug from a friend, in plant form. They won’t solve our problems, but they sure will help lessen the blow and help us keep our lids on.
Adaptogenic supplements have steadily gained popularity in the health and wellness community. You’ve likely seen them buzzing on labels and shelves in the form of coffee powders, teas, even carbonated drinks. The doctrine being, fancy science talk aside, is that certain non-toxic plants and fungi have properties that help the body manage emotional, physical, and environmental stress in the moment and then expedite the process to get us back to baseline and happiness sooner. Whoop whoop! I mean, how can we not celebrate that?
A few superhero adaptogenic plants, herbs, roots, and fungi that are so hot right now; ashwagandha, ginseng, holy basil (tulsi), rhodiola, maca, cordyceps and reishi. They not only help us return to a state of homeostasis and help us respond with more calm in light of stress, but they also boast a myriad of other health benefiting properties like charging up the immune system, putting inflammation to bay, supporting an equilibrium of energy level and mood, and increasing sharpness of thought, vision, and hearing, the list goes on!
Stress mode isn’t always a bad thing. The physiological responses — an increase in heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, muscles tensing up, perspiration, and our pupils dilating —prime the body for action to help us stay alive, how cool! In short bursts, entering this state of fight-flight-flee is integral to our survival. Back in the day, when we were making a break from sharped toothed animals to avoid becoming dinner this was a necessity, but nowadays we live pretty darn comfortable and safe lives, it’s a bit of an overplay to be freaking out to such a large extent about traffic, bills, being on time for appointments, the never ending to do lists and errands. The idea is getting a little hit of pressure to get things done is great, but when it’s sending us into a continuous state of anxiousness and worry, it is no bueno.
Being in a state of “on alert” or in fear all the time means those systems (mentioned above) are in overdrive and it doesn’t take a genius to deduce that this is less than favourable for our health. Think of leaving your car running all night and expecting there to be gas to drive across the province the next day. We need rest! We need to refuel to perform! All of our systems do, especially to fire on all cylinders.
The root of what causes stress in our lives can be superficial or run much deeper, and our ability to respond when triggered is a life long practice. Yes mediation does help. We aren’t in any way implying that adaptogenic herbs solve it all, but these tokens of nature can be our allies in supporting our journey towards nirvana. Or at least to finding our centre and not exhausting all of our energy when things don’t always go how we expect.
They are magic (not the psychedelic kind) like all of the natural world, and we are proud to carry modern creative takes on elixirs, powders, and tonics that honour these plants and fungi as natural medicine. No need to forage your own, although that would be pretty badass and if you have the means and knowledge, go get em’.
photos: The Gut Lab
A real bonus here is how easy it is to integrate them into your daily lives. Here at the Den we carry the Gut Lab’s rise which contains chaga, reishi and lions mane and it comes in powder form, which means it’s ready to be added to your next morning coffee, afternoon elixir, or evening salad dressing or soup. Or try Pranic Forests’ Chocolate Reishi Rhodiola, it is delicious on its own.
In a society that draws a parallel to how busy we are with success, we invite you to go against the grain and prioritize rest, to find your calm and centre, to connect with yourself, with your loved ones, and nature. We hope that these adaptogens will help you find more peace in the process.
Om shanti shanti shanti.
(Peace peace peace)
By Taylor Godber.