Tea is liquid wisdom.” ~ Unknown
Does your tea “get” you? Does it nod understandingly when you say that some days you feel like a cross between a ninja and Mary Poppins, and some days you show up to the park with a spoon in your pocket and no idea how it got there? If not, I’d like to introduce you to my tea. It’s made with adaptogens, which are herbs that help the body adapt to stress. Not by encouraging a specific response exactly, but more by nudging your body toward balance in whatever way it needs. Because it gets you.
As I explained here, if caffeine is like a map with instructions from point A (sleepy) to point B (alert), adaptogens are more like a GPS system that figures out where you are and helps you get where you need to go (balanced). It has a grounding, centering effect that I’ve found really helpful on busy days.
Since adaptogenic herbs work together synergistically, I’ve incorporated several that are considered beneficial for all personality types. (Yep, you totally have to play matchmaker with adaptogens. Some, like Panax ginseng, tend to be too intense for Type A personalities, but some are generally considered compatible with children, older adults, and everyone in between.)
Teas vs. Tinctures – What’s the difference?
Teas extract the nutrients found in herbs using water, while tinctures extract them using alcohol. While this may seem at first just based on preference, there’s more to it than that.
While teas can draw out many of the nutrients found in herbs – flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals, for example – there are some that are left behind. Alcohol extracts the “hard to get” compounds such as alkaloids, which are often considered to have therapeutic value. In fact, they’ve been the subject of pharmaceutical research in the development of medicines. (source)
Of course, teas are ready almost immediately, and tinctures take about six weeks to brew. So although tinctures may be preferred in some cases, teas are a deeply nourishing and quick option. This delicious recipe uses the decoction method to maximize the amount of nutrients extracted, which is especially important when roots and berries are used. (If you’re interested in trying both methods, you can find my Adapt + Thrive Adrenal Support Tincture Recipe here)
Is this blend safe for pregnant and nursing mamas?
A few herbs in this blend – holy basil, ashwagandha, and licorice root – are not recommended for pregnant mamas. However, according to The Botanical Safety Handbook, there are no known contraindications for nursing mamas. (I’m nursing and this is one of my favorite teas!)
What else do I need to know?
Some adaptogens, like eleuthero, can be taken for long periods of time. However, many herbalists recommend rotating the adaptogens used every couple of months. This blend contains licorice root, which according to The Botanical Safety Handbook can be taken for up to six weeks before a rest is needed. I recommend rotating this tea with another adaptogen blend at that point, or just omitting the licorice. (If you’d like me to share more blend recipes, please let me know in the comments!)
Happy Adrenal Blend (Adrenal Support Tea)
- ¼ cup plus 2 tsp eleuthero root (benefits of eleuthero root)
- ¼ cup plus 2 tsp schisandra berry
- ¼ cup plus 2 tsp holy basil leaves
- 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp ashwagandha root (benefits of ashwagandha)
- 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp lemon balm
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp licorice root (benefits of licorice root)
- Place 4½ teaspoons adrenal support tea in a small pot. Pour in two cups of cold water and cover the pot.
- Slowly bring the mixture to a low simmer – continue simmering for about 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow the tea to infuse for at least 30 minutes (it can be longer – up to overnight), then strain and serve. It is somewhat naturally sweet due to the addition of licorice root, but more sweetener may be added if desired.
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Hello! Since we’re buying the herbs by ounce, I was wondering how many ounces are in a 1/4 cup. I don’t want to buy too little. Some of the herb packages are just 4 oz. Will that be enough? I’m excited to try this! Thank you.
When I have a moment I will weigh them and update here. 🙂
Hi! Thank you for your interesting post. I have taken Ashwaghanda, and it makes me really irritable, even angry. I wonder why…
Is it possible you’re sensitive to nightshades? Ashwagandha is a nightshade and for people are sensitive it may cause an inflammatory response with emotional components.
I have Hashimoto’s and hab been told to avoid ashwagandha. I don’t remember if its thyroid issues in general or the medication I take.
a cup contains 8 ounces so 1/4 cup would be 2 ounces (oz) so your 4 oz package should be fine! 🙂
Viviana, cups are by volume and herbs are measured in weight, the two are different. You can have 1/4 cup of herbs that could weigh only 1 ounce, it depends on the density of the herb. Think of the difference between dried elderberries and chamomille flowers, the “weight” of the elderberries to fill the same 1/4 cup as chamomille flowers will be much more.
Actually, I beleive the 8 oz = 1 Cup rule is for liquid measurements. You really nead to weigh the dry herbs because some are ground finer than others. 🙂
A liquid ounce is a volume measurement which is different than an ounce by weight.
If the leaves are ground fine, they will weigh the same as they would if more coursely ground. However if you put the finer ground in a container it will take up less space than if course fround.
I imagine some variation is okay in a tea recipe (?), but in general it’s best to weigh dry ingredients for the reasons described.
Hope that makes sense and is helpful.
Thanks for this and banana skin tea.
I have to reset my internal clock to day light savings time. I will do it this year without coffee as I am on the AIP diet.
I would love an alternative tea for after the 6 weeks.
Stay safe and well
More blends would be great! Thanks. Also maybe some specifically for kids?
YES, PLEASE SHARE MORE RECIPES.
Just thought I’d chime in here as someone with experience with stage 3 adrenal fatigue. One needs to make a distinction here as to what level of adrenal fatigue one is at before recommending Holy Basil as a therapeutic agent. People suffering from stage 1 adrenal fatigue have higher than normal cortisol and can stand to benefit from Holy Basil as it has been shown to reduce cortisol levels. However, people suffering from stage 2, 3 and 4 generally have depleted cortical levels and therefore Holy Basil could actually exacerbate the issue.
Thanks so much for your comment, Alex. In Adaptogens: Herbs For Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, ethnobotanist David Winston and herbal expert Steven Maimes recommend Holy Basil for adrenal fatigue and state that it seems to have a positive impact on elevated corticorsterone levels. Based on my reading of the text I assumed that was due to it’s balancing effect, but I’ll look further and update the post with what I find. Your input is much appreciated!
Just wanted to update that in addition to “Adaptogens: Herbs For Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief,” I have also consulted with The Botanical Safety Handbook and Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism. So far all I’ve seen are references to a balancing effect rather than an effect on cortisol in one direction or another. I’m going to get in touch with some well-respected herbalists and see what they say.
Just wanted to update and say that I have checked with several knowledgeable herbalists, including some of the folks at Herb Mentor, and no one has ever heard of it being contraindicated for stage 2-4 adrenal fatigue. In fact, one well-respected herbalist told me that he finds it to be very helpful in those situations.
This is so incredibly helpful! Thank you! I have stage 3-4 adrenal fatigue and just bought all the herbs to make this tea! Can’t wait! I so appreciate all your work on this!
I am interested in learning about this
Would it be as effective without the herbs not recommended for pregnancy? I would love to try this as I have had adrenal issues since long before getting pregnant. But I have thought that I couldn’t do much for it while pregnant. I love teas, and would love to try this. Thanks for sharing! I’d love to see some other blends as well.
This tea recipe was crafted with the daily recommended amount for each herb – as presented in Adaptogens: Herbs For Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief – in mind. Removing herbs from this blend would increase the ratio of other herbs. For some of them that would not be an issue, but there are others – like licorice – which are considered most beneficial when consumed in small amounts.
If it were me, I’d opt for single ingredient teas that stay true to the book’s recommendations. You can find a master list of adaptogens to consider along with links to profiles that include the book’s recommendations here.
I would definitely appreciate seeing more blend recipes as well! Helps me make different blends specific to us (for example will try yours without licorice – for some reason it bothers me a lot). Thank you!! This is very helpful and interesting
First let me express my heartfelt gratitude, admiration and appreciation for the research and information you share. You’ve been such a wonderful guide on this motherhood journey of mine and I feel so lucky I found you on some random Google search.
Second, if you were to create some blends and sell them I would buy them. Or if one of the herb companies you recommend would make this and other recommended blends I would also buy them premixed.
All of the stuff I’m working on at home (curing tooth decay, making my own ferments, cooking paleo every night) it feels a little overwhelming to dive into this adaptogen rabbit hole but I tell you, I sure could use a boost or some energetic support. I’m nursing still so no caffeine but I really feel like I could use something.
Thanks for all you do.
I’m glad you found me on some random Google search, too! Thanks for your suggestions! 🙂
I would also buy this pre-made. I’m a full time working mother of two that was diagnosed as stage 4 adrenal fatigue a little more than a year ago. Things were really improving before I got pregnant with my second and had to stop using the protocol my chiropractor recommended for me. While I’m still nursing there are things I can’t start doing yet but I would greatly accept all the help I can get. 🙂 Thanks! Oh and I would also like to see other blends. 🙂
i would also like more blends…thank you!
I’m so going to use this for kombucha! I’ve used tulsi before, to great success, and was going to try to figure out how to combine the other adaptogens . . . lo and behold. Thank so much, you did the work for me.
I really appreciate the research you obviously did for this article, and have been enjoying all your other wisdom in other posts. Thank you!
I would like to say, however, that decoctions are best left to the roots, barks, and berries and flowers and leaves (like holy basil and lemon balm) are best extracted as a simple infusion where the herbs are put in, say, a quart jar, boiled water poured over and a lid put on to contain volatile oils. Then let sit 4-8 hours. This will protect their more delicate constituents.
I know it’s easier for folks to just make their herbs in one pot, so an option can be to do the decoction with the roots, barks & berries, then bring the heat back up and pour over the leafy herbs, or add them to the pot and fit with a lid for 4 hours.
Just wanted to share this tidbit!
Thanks a bunch!
I definitely agree that more fragile parts of plants do better with infusions. However, as you rightly guessed, I am trying to keep things simple and doable for busy mamas. Perhaps it would be best to add the Holy Basil and lemon balm after the simmering and just let it sit during the 20-30 minute rest period. There are a couple of resources I want to consult and then I’ll update the post. Thanks for chiming in!
Are these herbs safe for a nursing mama?
Hi Robbi, a few herbs in this blend – holy basil, ashwagandha, and licorice root – are not recommended for pregnant mamas. However, according to The Botanical Safety Handbook, there are no known contraindications for nursing mamas. (I’m nursing and this is one of my favorite teas!)
Do you just drink 1 serving a day?
Yes, I do. 🙂
Can you drink more than 1 serving while nursing?
I’d love to see teas that are for children and would support teeth, tooth remineralization, and fight tooth abscesses. Thank you!
I would love more blends! Thanks for sharing with us!!! 😀
I would love to read more recipes for tea blends. I do have a question, there shouldn’t be a problem with my kids drinking this occasionally right? They love drinking hot tea and usually want some too. Also, have you ever heard of anyone not tolerating schizandra berry? I read about all the fantastic properties of the herb, and I ordered a cheap bottle of the capsules. I believe it was maybe natures answer brand. I could not believe how bad it made me feel. I had a racing heart, and could not sleep that night. I also had sore throat, achiness and felt like I was coming down with a horrible cold. All of this cleared up by the next morning, so I thought I might try it one more time just in case it was not the schizandra berry. I had the same symptoms all over again. So bad I ended up throwing the bottle in the trash. Obviously, we are all different but I was curious if you have ever heard of anything like this. I have heard that sometimes herbs are adulterated with cheaper things. And thought it might be a possibility.
Wow thanks. According to Dr Suzy Cohn Pharmacist, the one poster is correct, if your cortisol has flat lined one has to be super careful.
I am an herb gardener and have grown Lemon Balm for years, so excited to use it now. But can I grow Holy Basil also?
Will contact Baker Creek Heirloom seeds and see what can be grown in my area. Growing ones own is part of the healing process.
I have grown a type of licorice before but don’t know if I can harvest the roots.
Blessings all, Spring is around the corner, sun and warmer weather is always welcome..
Would this be ok for someone with hypothyroidism, my husband has it but I’m pretty sure he also has adrenal fatigue
You are amazing! I would love if you added one or two other blends and made a suggested rotation schedule and as a stage 3/4, I definitely want to be sure about the Holy Basil issue before I order it. 🙂 Thank you!
Does anyone know the effects of this tea on women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PCOS?
Would adding maca root to this recipe help? Or would it be adaptogen overkill?
I would love some more recipes!!
Can you rewrite this recipe in “parts”– 1 part x, and so on. Then, I can take it to the natural store and have them mix it up.
Thank you’re sharing this! I just ordered the herbs and can’t wait to make it. I would absolutely love more recipes!
Perhaps you all could recommend a great tea kettle to go with these amazing recipes? We are need of one that won’t rust or break down. Thank you for any suggestions you can share. Kind regards, Catherine
Definitely interested in more blends. I drink tea 2-4 times per day. Didn’t know about the need to rotate. So more blends for rotation and perhaps also for different purposes… for focus while reading/studying, for rest, for energy, etc.?
so depressing, most of these herbs aren’t available in my country 🙁
That’s what Amazon is for! Unless you live in a place like North Korea or Syria right now, you can have it shipped, right?
I got mine from mountainroseherbs.com !
If I wanted to make a tincture with this recipe, how much of the recipe should I put in, say, a quart mason jar (with vodka)? Is it half a jar full of ingredients, then add the alcohol? I am still a bit new to tinctures.
Also, I didn’t see on any of your adrenal posts a mention about Rhodiola (although I did see a photo). I think I will add a little bit to this recipe since Mountain Rose Herbs is out of some of the other herbs needed.
She posted an adrenal tincture recipe with these herbs already if you just search adrenal tincture.
1. My first cup is simmering now. Just realized that for one cup of water you need 2 and 1/4 teaspoons of the blend, which is EXACTLY a yeast spoon measurement. So if you buy a yeast measuring spoon, it’s easy peasy. Yeah!
2. I tested weak in the MORNING for adrenal/cortisol, so this is my morning blend.
I’m (low side of) normal starting at lunch. Go figure.
Hi Heather, thanks for all your great recipes! I haven’t had a fail yet. I just recently realized how whooped my adrenals are and started following protocols and lifestyle changes…anyway, does it matter what type of holy basil? I’m a die hard mountain rose fan but they’ve been out of Krishna for a while so wondering if tulsi or Rama would suffice. Also any leads on where else to get ashwagandha root? All my sources are out of stock?! Thanks again for all the great learning!
Please, I take you up on your offer to share more of your Adrenal Tea blends! I’m having amazing results from the choice to utilize natural, whole herb compound content “medicines” instead of the modern chemistry kit industrial versions. Adaptogens added have made a real difference with my ability to deal with the whole, sometimes overwhelming. I’ve a lot to learn yet as I recognize the huge value within adaptogens now. Deeply appreciate your offer and will be looking forward to the posts!!!
Good article. But to note for older menopausal women with over taxed and blown out adrenals. (from years of stress and PTSD) Licorice is not always a good option. It’s often the one herb to remove. For me, it over stims my adrenals and keeps me up at night way past my bedtime. David Winston has an excellent book, “Adaptogens, Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief” Or if that’s too much, find a clinically licensed and trained herbalist to help tweak and support the complexities of your adrenal systems needs. I swear, that has made all the difference in the world for my own journey through menopause
Just browsing today; healing adrenals after years of stress (PTSD). I have not for the life of me been able to figure out why I can’t get to sleep. Been doing great, deep restorative sleep, falling asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed (never in my life) all gone. I started adding licorice root to my evening tea! I’ll do without it tonight and I bet I knock out like a baby. THANK-YOU for your post! Perhaps I’d better leave the herbs to my doc.
Hi Heather, I would love more blends of adaptogens, especially for during pregnancy. I’ve found that lots of adaptogens that help anxiety are not good during pregnancy. Since I experience anxiety often and hope to be pregnant soon, I’d appreciate an adaptogenic blend that would be good for these. Thank you!
Would this tea be good to balance the adrenal glands to minimize hot flashes.
This tea tastes delicious, and it is nice to be able to add another recipe to my adrenal support regimen. Thankyou so much! God Bless.
And yes, please add more adaptogen recipes when you’re able! 🙂
Hi! Do you sell the tea?
I don’t, sorry!
People who have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (Hypothyroidism) or 3-4 stage Adrenal Fatigue need to research whether they should take Lemon Balm, Licorice Root and Holy Basil. I am currently a student in herbalism school. I think Heather’s recipe would be wonderful to prevent AF & Hashis.
I could only get the Eleuthera root in a powder, will that be ok?
It will make the tea a little grainy and you’ll want to use less since the powder is more concentrated, but yes 🙂
I want to try this, but aren’t sure where to get these herbs? I’m also curious who you go to, to find out what level/ stage your adrenals are registering?
Hi, I seem to have a huge issue with Lemon, I like someone poisoned me when I’ve had it. Or sure if it’s all citrus or just lemon yet. Is there a good alternative in recipes that call for it ?
Lemon balm is actually different than lemon – it’s a member of the mint family. You can just leave it out if you’d like, though 🙂