Supporting our nervous system during times of stress and overwhelm is so important as a part of our self-care routine. The adrenal glands are a major part of your body's stress response, both to physical and emotional stressors. Because the adrenals have such an important part to play, it is crucial to give them extra support to stay healthy physically and mentally.
There are many ways to support the adrenals and the entire nervous system, including plenty of sleep, a nutrient-dense diet, outdoor exercise and a mindful stress-management practice. In addition to these lifestyle habits, giving yourself extra nourishment with herbal remedies is also a wonderful way to take care of yourself when under stress. There are a group of herbs, known as adaptogens, that help balance your body's stress response and adapt as needed to stay in balance. Adaptogens not only help to balance stress hormones, but they are also known to promote sleep, improve energy levels and even boost immune function. This herbal decoction takes some of my favorite adaptogenic herbs--ashwagandha, eleuthero, astragalus, and licorice--and combines them with warming, delicious spices found in many Indian chai tea blends, all without any caffeine. I like to keep a mixture of the herbs on hand so I can brew up a batch of chai whenever I need a little extra herbal support.
Adaptogenic Chai Tea (Caffeine-Free)
Prep time: 15-30 minutes
- 2-inch fresh ginger root, sliced (or 1 Tbs chopped, dried ginger)
- 3 cinnamon sticks, 2-3" long each
- 8 star anise pods
- 6 cardamom pods, crushed
- 2 tbsp dried ashwagandha root
- 2 tbsp dried eleuthero (Siberian ginseng) root
- 2 tbsp dried astragalus root--can be cut and sifted or in slices
- 1 tbsp licorice root
- 1 tbsp whole cloves
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 quarts filtered water
- To serve: Honey and heavy cream or coconut milk to taste
1. Place all herbs in a medium-sized sauce pan.
2. Add the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
3. Let the herbs simmer for 15-30 minutes to infuse as much of the herbal constituents into the tea as possible. Feel free to simmer for longer if you prefer a stronger, more flavorful tea.
Laura Poe is a Registered Dietitian and traditional foods instructor. She homesteads in Wisconsin where she regular contributes to Edible Madison. Connect with Laura at Laura Poe, RD, for private practice appointments (distance consults available), upcoming classes, newsletter subscriptions, and more. Her nutrient-dense recipes can be found on Laura’s blog, Brine & Broth, and you can see what she has been cooking and creating on her Instagram @brineandbroth. Read all of Laura’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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