You may have recently fallen in love with adaptogens or superfood mushrooms — if you’re a hardcore Chalkboard reader, you’ve probably been taking them for years. But did you know that adaptogens are part of a larger category of important plants called tonic herbs?

Herbalist Jovial King and her team at Urban Moonshine say it best, describing tonic herbs here:

“When something is classified as a tonic, it implies that it is meant to be taken regularly over the long-term with the purpose of toning and strengthening the body’s systems. Tonic herbal formulas generally include herbs that are very gentle, safe and nourishing. They feature many herbal superstars like the adaptogenic herbs eleuthero, licorice, maca and schisandra. They also often include mushrooms like reishi and other plants that support a balanced immune response.”

While tonic herbs are designed for day-to-day use and most are very gentle, every body is different. We’ve found that the most effective way to work with these herbs is to slowly incorporate them into our daily routine one at a time. Some herbs, like rhodiola, maca and lion’s mane, may be notably felt right away. Others, like pearl powder and mucuna, may have more of a cumulative effect — showing up as glowier skin or an improved mood over time. However, the best way to discover which herbs are best for your constitution is by working directly with an herbalist.

This quick guide to tonic herbs includes twenty-five of the most commonly used and comes from holistic health coach Katrine Van Wyk’s new book Super Powders. Exploring the world of adaptogens, mushrooms and all the rest can be overwhelming. Orient yourself with this list and keep it on hand as you discover the tonic herbs that best fit your needs and constitution. Then grab a copy of Super Powders for delicious ideas to incorporate all the tonic herbs below…

 A Quick Reference Guide To Tonic Herbs

Amla: rejuvenating, digestive support, skin Shop

Ashitaba: concentration, beauty, longevity Shop

Ashwagandha: calming, new- mom support, libido booster Shop

Astragalus: immunity booster, whole body toner, healing Shop

Chaga mushroom: strength, resilience, healing Shop

Cordyceps: energy booster, antioxidant, immunity support Shop

Eleuthero: alertness, performance, muscle building Shop

Goji: energy, beauty, longevity Shop

Hawthorn: heart support, protection Shop

He Shou Wu: immunity booster, blood cleanser, youth elixir Shop

Holy basil (tulsi): vitality, mood, soothing Shop

Licorice: belly soother, anti-inflammatory, fatigue fighter Shop

Lion’s mane mushroom: brain function, concentration, anti-anxiety Shop

Maca: hormone balance, fertility, mood, libido Shop

Moringa: anxiety relief, digestive support, antioxidant Shop

Mucuna pruriens: mood enhancer, fortifier, motivator Shop

Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng): mental performance, memory, alertness Shop

Pearl: hair, skin, and nails, radiance, bone health Shop

Pine pollen: brain food, immunity support, libido Shop

Reishi mushroom: calming, rejuvenating, immunity support Shop

Rhodiola: clarity, strength, performance Shop

Schisandra berry: skin, detox support, nurtures adrenal glands Shop

Sea buckthorn: skin glow and skin health, digestive support Shop

Shatavari: women’s adaptogen, hormone harmonizer, fatigue fighter Shop

Turkey tail mushroom: gut health, immunity strengthener Shop

When shopping for tonic herbs, look to reputable brands that disclose their sourcing. It’s key to avoid a concentration of heavy metals in poorly sourced herbs and to ensure you’re buying herbs that are potent and natural. A few of our most trusted brands include Anima Mundi, Sun Potion, Dragon Herbs and Thorne.

The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs. 

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