The New Adaptogen Brand on the Block
One of 2017's biggest natural beauty and wellness trends is the adaptogen. Celebrities have endorsed them, brands have capitalized on them, and magazines have lauded them as the next big thing in the world of green beauty.
In a world filled with wellness fads and beauty trends that certainly don't last, adaptogens have only grown in popularity since brands like Moon Juice began prettily packaging the powdered botanicals, much to the delight of self-proclaimed health gurus like Gweneth Paltrow. I've written about them for magazines, have tested most of the mainstream brands, and take them daily as part of my everyday health regimen. Is this just a trend? In my opinion, no; but to truly get to know adaptogens, let's take a peek at what these powdered plants really do.
What are they?
Adaptogens are so popular due to their natural healing properties, which can range from detoxifying the body and decreasing stress levels to maintaining the health of skin and hair. Whether single adaptogenic herbs or blends, these powerhouse botanicals are widely available and are only becoming more accessible, with many brands offering blends to provide a daily dose of antioxidants and nutrients you can easily incorporate into your routine.
How are they classified?
In most cases, adaptogens are a group of specific herbs which help to improve the health of your adrenal system - you know, the system responsible for managing your body's hormonal response to stress and fatigue? These herbs have been used by many cultures for literally thousands of years, most commonly in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Studies have conclusively shown that adaptogens can help with stress, fatigue, depression, and stimulation. Typically, adaptogens fall into three broad categories: those which help to calm the body; those which stimulate the body; and those which provide anti-inflammatory properties. Overall, an herb or botanical is considered an adaptogen if it is non-toxic to the body's physical function, helps to promote a state of balance within in the body, and offers wide-spread support to the body. Different types of mushrooms, for example, are often considered (and used as) adaptogens.
How do you take them?
There is no one specific way to take adaptogens; they do, in fact, come in many different forms. From pills and capsules to powders, teas, and tinctures, you can find adaptogens in a variety of forms.
Whether you take them daily, every other day, once a week, or even less frequently, is entirely up to your personal preference. Most adaptogens are sold as powders, but tinctures (which you can take as they are or mixed with water) are also popular.
Which brands are most popular?
Currently, there are four popular brands on the market which focus specifically on adaptogens. Those brands are Moon Juice, Moondeli, Sun Potion Transformational Foods, and Gaia Herbs. There is, however, a brand many people know of but which recently made its foray into adaptogens: Amazing Grass.
Let's Talk Amazing Grass
You've likely seen this brand before and, if you've ever tried their products - which range from protein powders and greens to superfoods and raw reserves - you are familiar with the quality and effectiveness of their offerings. That's because all of their products are USDA organic, non-GMO, kosher pareve, vegan, and gluten-free. The superfoods I've tried from this brand in the past have surprised me; they taste delicious, fresh, and so natural that I still keep a container of their superfoods on hand which I toss into smoothies and homemade lemonades when I need a pick-me-up.
The brand was kind enough to send me their new Elixirs, along with their Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Superfood and their Detox & Digest Green Superfood blend. Each product smells amazing, without the overwhelming, often offputting scent most superfood and elixir blends have.
Many adaptogen blends are made with cacao and, in the case of Moon Juice, may also include natural stevia for a touch of sweetness. What I appreciate about the Elixirs from Amazing Grass is that they are exactly what they are, without any added hoopla. I tried all three of their Elixirs and was very much pleasantly surprised to find that they all have a subtle taste that won't overwhelm you; each Elixir blends seamlessly into my smoothies and teas, as well.
The Beauty Elixir has a mellow, fruity smell and tastes absolutely delicious when added to fruit smoothies, but I also love the Brain and Belly Elixirs; they taste wonderfully natural and clean, and I personally love the transparent ingredient lists. Though the brand has only recently adventured into adaptogen blends, it is obvious that they have paid close attention to their blends and how they are formulated.
The Nitty Gritty - Are they worth the price?
Real talk: adaptogens are expensive. As is the case with many adaptogen brands, you may only receive enough of the blend(s) you purchase to last up to 10-12 uses; if you consume the blend everyday, that's less than two weeks of adaptogens for prices which typically range between $40-50 per blend.
Amazing Grass, on the other hand, has clearly put thought into their adaptogen blends, with awesome price points to match their delicious tastes, natural ingredients, and beneficial properties. Each of their Elixirs is brimming with several adaptogenic botanicals - each contains at least 6 adaptogens, whereas other brands include only 3-4. Additionally, the Elixirs are made with other botanicals perfect for maintaining optimum health, including wheat grass, blueberry, chaga, and more.
What should really catch your eye, however, is the transparency of their ingredient lists. Each Elixir's ingredient label makes it abundantly clear what is included in each blend, going above and beyond my showing you which botanicals make up the Elixir, the fermented plants, and the blends themselves. It may surprise you to learn that ingredient labels and lists are not readily transparent on other adaptogen brand sites; even some packaging from other brands does not fully list the ingredients in their blends. If you're curious as to what it is you're consuming, then you'll certainly love the ingredient labels on these Elixirs.
Each Elixir from Amazing Grass retails at approximately $30 for 20 servings. Moon Juice Dusts, which retail at the same price, for example, only contain up to 10 servings. Other brands provide up to 15 servings for the same price, if not higher, which means you could be paying more for smaller blends with less adaptogenic botanicals. And though I personally use Moondeli and Moon Juice blends, my Elixirs from Amazing Grass have left me feeling energized, rejuvenated, and less hazy, all while impressing me with their serving sizes and price points.
Whether you're new to the world of adaptogens are use them religiously (like yours truly), the key to choosing the best adaptogen product is to take a closer look at both the blend as well as the price point. Amazing Grass offers more value than any other brand I've tried, leaving me feeling totally confident in becoming a repeat user (and future purchaser) of their blends.
It's also important to consider accessibility. Brands like Moon Juice and Moondeli are not accessible on store shelves (for the most part), and if you are unable to order them online or pick up a jar or two from a flagship store, those blends are likely not accessible for you. What Amazing Grass has done is made beautiful adaptogen blends accessible for everyone, whether in store or online.