The most common traditional form of taking adaptogens is as a tea. Almost all adaptogens (with the exception of shilajit) can be made into a tea, either by decoction and infusion. Some of the root adaptogens such as ashwaganda, dang shen and ginseng traditionally are cooked with congee (rice porridge), milk, honey or ghee to make them edible and turn them into “medicinal foods”. Medicinal mushrooms, including black reishi (Ganoderma sinensis) cordyceps, maitake and shiitake, can be cooked and used to make delicious soup, stir fries, casseroles and stuffing. Several leafy plants such as jiaogulan and holy basil have been cooked as potherbs like spinach.
It seems that the most sweet and sour fruit adaptogens are schisandra berries, lycium fruit and amla fruit. These fruit are eaten widely in many parts of the world. Also the sweet-tasting root of dang sheng and licorice were likewise a pleasant addition to the diet...
However, not all plant parts can be eaten. Reishi and eleuthero are hard and woody, and the dried fungus or wood is inedible to say the latest. Cordyceps mushrooms need to be cooked to kill any harmful bacteria. Ashwaganda leaves are toxic and he shou wu fruit has been reported to be poisonous. Lycium berries should be eaten only when ripe because the unripe fruit can cause gastric irritation. Shilajit is unpleasant tasting and smelling ad is mostly used in pill form.
Nowadays many products on the market declare to contain adaptogens in their components. The downside to this trend is that few of these products actually contain enough of the herb to have any real health benefit. For this reason is important to check if the percentage of adaptogens present in the aliments is relevant.
*Credits: Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston, RH(AHG) and Steven Maimes, published by Inner Traditions International and Bear & Company, ©2007. All rights reserved. http://www.Innertraditions.com. Reprinted with permission of publisher.