BEST FOR STRESS: Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is a superpower among adaptogens, known mainly for reducing cortisol levels. One study showed a 69% reduction in stress levels after taking ashwagandha for a 60-day period. “This Ayurvedic herb has been used for thousands of years for its balancing effects,” adds Clarissa. “Studies also show it can help balance blood sugar and reduce inflammation.”
BEST FOR MOOD: Rhodiola
Like ashwagandha, rhodiola is a popular adaptogen, particularly when it comes to overcoming fatigue and improving mood by transporting serotonin precursors to the brain. “Its ability to balance the body’s systems makes it a powerful aid against stress and fatigue, and studies show it may help reduce symptoms of depression,” says Clarissa.
BEST FOR EXERCISE: Cordyceps
“Cordyceps is a medicinal mushroom that provides a natural, caffeine-free energy boost without the crash we associate with other stimulants,” says Clarissa. “Alongside its stress-relieving properties, it supports the body’s energy systems, oxygen delivery and respiratory health. Taken before a workout, it can enhance both endurance and athletic performance, and studies show it may be beneficial for those with asthma.”
BEST FOR IMMUNITY: Reishi
A strengthening and balancing super mushroom, reishi is packed with antioxidants to support the immune system, strengthen the liver and aid in detoxification. It can help a restful night’s sleep, too, says Gail. “Reishi encourages the gut bacteria to produce serotonin, a key neurotransmitter in regulating sleep cycles.”
BEST FOR FOCUS: Lion’s Mane
Lion’s mane can boost mental performance, memory and focus, making it a useful addition to your morning routine, says Clarissa. “It’s also mood-balancing, reduces inflammation and supports healthy digestion. Research suggests it may also be protective against dementia, given its ability to stimulate the growth and repair of nerve cells.”
BEST FOR ENERGY: Panax or Asian Ginseng
Ginseng has been shown to stimulate mental activity in people who feel tired or who are fighting brain fog. “It provides a natural energy boost and an increase in mental alertness without having to rely on caffeine,” says Clarissa. “It can also help control blood sugar, strengthen the immune system and improve blood circulation.”
BEST FOR HORMONES: Maca
Maca has an incredible ability to improve the body’s hormone balance, Clarissa tells us. “Studies show benefits on PMS, menopausal symptoms and male fertility. It can also improve libido and enhance mood.” With a naturally sweet flavor, maca is a great one to add to smoothies.