How to Use More Flowers (Herbs, Roots, & Mushrooms) - Tinctures, Extracts, Syrups, Powders - Questions & Answers

How to Use More Flowers (Herbs, Roots, & Mushrooms) - Tinctures, Extracts, Syrups, Powders - Questions & Answers

Learn More about Adaptogens

Are you interested in exploring the world of herbs and adaptogens, but you're not sure where to start?

In this post we will explore what adaptogens are and what different preparations like tinctures, extracts, syrups, elixirs, and powders are too. What is a tincture anyway?

4 Flower Extracts in Glass Jars surrounded by fresh flowers Calendula, Marigold, Lavender, Purple Coneflower, Echinacea

What is an adaptogen? What does adaptogen mean?

Adaptogens are plants that are nontoxic and have a normalizing impact on the body. Adaptogens have the ability to improve resistance to physical, emotional, chemical, and environmental stress. Adaptogens help the body return to homeostasis through resistance, protection, regeneration, and repair.

Wow. So basically, adaptogens are what I have been looking for my whole life...

Yes! Because adaptogens are food, you can experiment with flavors, doses, and effects. It is worth noting that food has subtle effects on the body. Adaptogens are recommended to be consumed in very small quantities (1/16th of a teaspoon to about 1 teaspoon is average) each day and can take some time to have a noticeable impact on daily life. 

Many herbalists recommend two ways of testing for the impact of a new adaptogen, flower, or herb in your life. The first is to try some general adaptogens for 6 weeks, then stop and reflect. Do you notice a difference? How big or how subtle? Take notes and consider treating your personal body chemistry like a science experiment - be thorough, document, and notice the small things. 

Ashwagandha Powder and Root with Leaves and Capsules on a Wooden Table

How are adaptogens consumed?

  • PowderAh yes, powders. Just like a protein powder, but possibly chalkier or bitter. Powders are the most common way to find adaptogens on the market and generally, a safe, not super potent way to ingest flowers, herbs, berries, roots, bark, and all kinds of plant material that won't make it into your next salad. Powders are often shelf-stable for several years, but like dried herbs they lose potency over time and exposure to air. Capsules are almost always made using powders.
  • Syrup: Syrups stabilize the active compounds in plant/water extraction with sugar or honey. Syrups are not a potent way to ingest adaptogens, but they are lovely and still full of wonderful ingredients in small doses.
  • Elixir: Did you know there was an actual herbal definition for Elixir? Syrup + Alcohol = Elixir. Yup, it's a plant extract made with sugar (or honey) and alcohol (traditionally Brandy). Alcohol is excellent at extracting certain resins, alkaloids, and essential oils. Not to mention its shelf-stabilizing qualities when fresh fruits are in the mix. 
  • Extract: Although many extractions are done with alcohol, let's talk about Glycerin & Vinegar extractions because we will cover alcohol in Tinctures. Glycerin is a common food and cosmetic additive. It is also the plant fat matter that commercial kitchens often use to extract plants & adaptogens in non-alcoholic, shelf stable solutions. Vinegar can also operate like an alcohol or glycerin substitute and is particularly good for extracting certain alkaloids. Although it's actually very rare to find or buy, there are good reasons to DIY adaptogen vinegars.
  • Tincture: taking a minimum of a month to prepare, a tincture is a typically an herb, mushroom, or flower blend in an alcohol mixture. Many tinctures include alcohol and glycerin, so it's best to read all of the ingredients if you are interested. 
  • Tea: this one is fairly self-explanatory. Take an adaptogenic flower, herb, or root and allow it to steep in hot water for 2-10 minutes. Enjoy this most basic water extraction. Broth and tea are the OG comfort foods!!

Chamomile Tea with Lavender Blue Lotus Marigold Flowers on a Slate Tray with Glass Tea cup & kettle

There is no right or wrong way to explore and experiment with plants. Powders, teas, tinctures, a spoon full of sugar to make that "medicine" go down syrup... whatever works for you is what works and can be celebrated in small joys like a warm coffee + in the morning, a relaxing tea at night, or a super-charged cocktail or mocktail (no one here is judging either way - balance usually means both). 

TLDR; Plants come in a variety of convenient and inspiring forms. Be safe and Drink More Flowers.

Next up: How to Use More Flowers in an Average Day 


Common Sense Statement: None of the content on this website is or should be considered medical advice or a substitute for professional help. If you are looking for medical help, please contact your primary care physician or other medical professional. 

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