Jaime Schmidt, our boss and founder of Schmidt’s Naturals, is not-so-secretly a health guru. Whenever we ask questions — from what does ashwagandha even taste like?, to what’s the best seat to pick on a long flight?—group consensus is always to “just ask Jaime.” And answers she has. We thought, if Jaime has the solutions to our questions, maybe she could answer yours, too. Submit your questions for Jaime in the comments, or tweet @TheNaturalMag with #JustAskJaime.
Just Ask Jaime: How Should I Use Adaptogens?
Jaime Schmidt answers your questions about a natural lifestyle
“I am hearing about adaptogens everywhere lately. What’s the best way to use these seemingly magical herbs?”
In 2011, when Schmidt’s was just getting off the ground, I volunteered my Saturday mornings at The Herb Shoppe in Portland (now Fettle Botanic). Here is where I gained so much of my knowledge around herbs, elixirs, and all that is plant medicine. I was literally surrounded by walls of herbs and tinctures and all their magic. I had the pleasure of working alongside Dr. JJ Pursell, a naturopath who introduced me to the world of adaptogens. I like to say I was using adaptogens (and burning palo santo in the shop) before adaptogens were cool. And boy, are adaptogens cool today! When I first bought Sun Potion products early last year (I was so focused on growing my business and oblivious to the happenings on Instagram!), I really had no idea the brand was so trendy. I simply had a sincere desire to get back to my herb-loving, adaptogenic self.
Photo courtesy of Jaime Schmidt
We’ve all heard about adaptogens, but what are they, really? As defined by the trusted Merriam-Webster.com, adaptogens are “a nontoxic substance and especially a plant extract that is held to increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning.” All the rage makes sense now, right?
I prefer my adaptogens in powder form, as preparation and consumption is a ritualistic part of my every morning. My goal is to formulate a blend to support mind, body, and mood. I’m certainly not a doctor of any sort, but I’ve done research that I feel comfortable with, and I know that my potion works for me. I drink it every morning mixed with collagen powder and liquid vitamin D. Everything is dissolved in hot water, then I add ice because I find it more appealing when cold. The taste of the adaptogenic herbs is difficult to describe and will likely be undesirable to a virgin tongue. The pungent, bitter taste has actually grown on me, though I do add a little lemon juice for flavor and added benefits.
The daily potion I’ve been stirring up and enjoying over the last 8 months is a mix of the following:
- Ashwagandha. I imagine most of our readers are no stranger to ashwagandha, an Indian herb common to Ayurvedic healing, and one of the most popular and well-loved adaptogens. I personally chose it to help maintain emotional balance and keep anxiety and stress in check. I’ve found it also helps with focus.
- Reishi mushroom. Most popular in Chinese culture, reishi supports an endless list of bodily functions. I was most drawn to reishi for its liver and heart support. It is believed to encourage longevity, and who can refuse that?
- Mucuna pruriens. This is another herb popular in Ayurvedic medicine and my choice to support energy and endurance. It also encourages the production of dopamine which provides for productive functioning of the brain. My whole blend is wonderful for immunity support, too.
Note that adaptogens build in efficacy over time, so it is important to stick with your routine long term to reap the greatest benefits. Dietary trends may come and go amongst the mainstream, but I’ve adapted to my potion and won’t be moving on anytime soon.
While we appreciate Jaime’s perspective on our lives and underarms, Jaime is not a doctor. For questions about your health, please seek advice from a medical professional. For more from Jaime, follow her on Instagram.