Though many of us grew up thinking of herbs as mere pizza toppings, growing interest in cleaning up our diets, managing our health naturally, and redefining self-care has put the true power of herbs front and center. (Literally, ashwagandha-infused lattes and body-balancing herbal supplements are everywhere.)
If you’re interested in incorporating herbs into your own routine, here are five on-fire options to consider.
This herb—also known as Withania somnifera—is perhaps the best-known of a group of herbs and other plants referred to as adaptogens. Though unique in their own ways, adaptogens all help the body adapt to and manage stress. How? By promoting balanced nervous systems, immune systems, and hormones.
Because of this, ashwagandha has become the herb for people dealing with stress. (It’s helpful both for chronic stress and unusually stressful periods.)
One study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, for example, found that stressed people who supplemented with ashwagandha (300 milligrams a day) for two months reported increased feelings of balance. They also experienced decreases in cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) levels.
Related: Cortisol Is Dragging You Down—Here’s How To Take Control Of It
You’ll find ashwagandha in all sorts of capsule supplements (like plnt brand’s natural, non-GMO Ashwagandha), but it’s also popping up in liquid supplements, which are easy to add to teas and other beverages. One milliliter of plnt brand’s Liquid Ashwagandha provides 500 milligrams of the herb.
One note: Some people find ashwagandha to be stimulating. Experiment with when you take it during the day to gauge the timing that works best for you.
2. Bitter Melon
Eaten as a vegetable throughout a number of countries in Asia, bitter melon—and particularly its extract—has gained acclaim for its potential benefits for our metabolic health. (In traditional medicines, it was also used to support overall health and bolster immune function.)
Recent research suggests that bitter melon extract, which is high in antioxidants (particularly phenols and flavonoids), may promote healthy blood sugar—and even a healthy weight.
To reap bitter melon’s benefits, look for a supplement like plnt brand’s Bitter Melon Extract capsules, which provide 500 milligrams per serving.
Another power player in the world of stress management, the herb kava has been around the block a time or two—and recently made its way back into the spotlight.
Made from the roots of a plant long used by tribal communities in the South Pacific, kava supports an overall sense of calm. Because of this, it’s often used to promote healthy sleep.
How it works: Compounds in the plant known as kavalactones interact with GABA receptors in our brain, which help keep our neurons from being over-stimulated. This effectively helps our brain—and thus our mood—stay balanced.
Most experts recommend using kava when you’re feeling particularly stressed or sleepless, instead of as an everyday supplement. (Excess long-term use has been linked to some liver issues.)
When the going gets tough, try a kava supplement like plnt brand’s Liquid Kava, which contains the equivalent of 500 milligrams of dried kava root.
It’s the perfect addition to a nighttime cup of tea—or even a Calming Chamomile Kava Latte.
4. Dandelion Root
As a kid, you probably never considered consuming the dandelions that lined your sidewalk. However, these little yellow flowers actually offer some notable health benefits.
Used for generations in traditional tonics and elixirs, dandelion root is now popular in a variety of teas and supplements.
Its main purposes: to support digestion and liver health, and promote proper water balance in the body. You’ve likely seen dandelion in teas and other products formulated to help your body ease bloating and temporarily flush out excess water.
Dandelion also contains a number of vitamins and minerals and supports overall health by acting as an antioxidant.
If you don’t dig the flavor of dandelion tea (it has a bold, robust flavor), look for it in capsule form. Every plnt brand Dandelion Root capsule provides 450 milligrams of organic dandelion root for easy supplementation.
Rhodiola and its benefits have been studied for decades. In fact, it was actually used to support athletic performance by the U.S.S.R. during the Cold War.
Like other adaptogens, rhodiola—which comes from a flowering plant—helps our nervous system and adrenal glands respond to stress healthily.
Related: The Best Adaptogens For Every Wellness Need
In regards to athletic performance, specifically, research suggests rhodiola supports athletes’ immune systems. (Often they take a hit during regular rigorous training.)
One Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research study found that supplementing with rhodiola helped cyclists maintain lower heart rates during exercise—and improve time trial performance.
You don’t have to be a competitive athlete to benefit from rhodiola, though. The herb can be helpful for anyone looking to support their immune health, energy levels, and overall well-being.
Give rhodiola a try with a simple supplement, like plnt brand’s Rhodiola, which contains 500 milligrams of rhodiola root extract per capsule.
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