You may have noticed the prominence of Sun Potion herbs and tonics lately on The Chalkboard. It’s a problem. We’re hooked on the holistic brews we whip up here in the office, at home, and are given from wellness pals in our community.

Chinese herbal medicine is a powerful and fascinating aspect of natural health and condition-specific tinctures and potions like these are a fun and effective way to introduce yourself to the topic.

In this superfood spotlight, Sun Potion mastermind, Nitsa Citrine is breaking down one of our favorite herbs of late: rhodiola, the “brain oxygenator.” Rhodiola is a powerful adaptogen for concentration and motivation. Nitsa’s delicious coconut cream-based drink recipe will help you get into the benefits quickly, as well as superfood tonic ingredients like pine pollen, reishi, mucuna pruriens, tocos, and raw honey. Yum! Focus in and drink up…

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Rhodiola is our go-to for triumphing over brain fog, writer’s block, lack of motivation, indecision, jet-lag, those #moodmoments, or just any crucial or sensitive time when you can use a little extra confidence, concentration, energy or zing…

Rhodiola rosea is a perennial flowering plant which naturally grows in cold, high-elevation climates throughout Asia, Europe and parts of North America. Rhodiola’s resilience and ability to thrive in the wild under extreme conditions foreshadow its full and dynamic spectrum of benefits to the human body.

With a lineage of healing in Tibetan, Taoist, and traditional Chinese medicine, rhodiola has been used for centuries to support the body’s ability to adapt to its environment intelligently and efficiently, perhaps most obviously demonstrated by how it improves oxygen absorption. In fact, it is reputed that a serving of rhodiola may increase oxygenation of the blood up to 20% within 20 minutes!

WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT: As an adaptogen – that powerful class of dual-directional, harmonizing herbs – rhodiola constantly works to bring the body into a state of balance. It’s properties are varied, and respond to the needs of the individual. Studies are revealing how exciting the application of rhodiola is in nourishing the nervous system. An individual who has fatigue can take rhodiola for increased stamina, focus and positive energy, whereas another subject working with anxiety or depression may find it brings a sense of emotional calm and ease.

In Tibet, monks consumed a tea made from this root for its calming, clarifying effect (you can imagine the benefit for extended meditations!) while sherpas would take it to support their lungs, brain and blood when trekking up and up to those low-oxygen mountain tops. In the modern, urban kitchen, rhodiola is being used as an herbal alternative to caffeine, to the effect that it will oxygenate and activate the brain without the side effects of caffeine’s stimulation.

Beyond supporting one to stay calm, positive and focused, rhodiola may support the whole system on a cellular level in responding to stress. Studies are finding that this root holds the potential to actually lower stress hormones in the body and even protect our neurons from sudden cell death. Perhaps this is why it has been revered as a longevity herb for ages?

Last note: Rhodiola has also been reputed to support healthy metabolism, sex drive, and hormone balance, three things (most of us would agree) that are always helpful.

LET’S GET TOGETHER: The important thing to remember about rhodiola is that a little bit goes a long way. We recommend starting with ¼ – ½ teaspoon serving per day.

Add to a glass of spring water, tea (as shown above), or organic coconut water. If you have the time and/or are craving something a little more luscious, our Brain Potion makes an amazing, nourishing, activating warm beverage loaded with brain-supportive herbs, minerals and healthy fats, and is a delicious route to enhance the mind and mood, day or night!

Serves 2


1 tsp rhodiola
1 tsp pine pollen
1 tsp reishi
1/2 tsp mucuna pruriens
2 tsp raw honey
1 Tbsp coconut butter
2 Tbsp of Tocos
6 oz warm gotu kola tea
8 oz raw coconut cream


Add all dry (powder) ingredient to a high speed blender, then add the gotu kola tea and coconut cream. Pulse 2-3 times, then add the coconut butter and honey. Pulse 2-3 more times, until all ingredients are blended in, and the potion is frothy with love.

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