What Are Adaptogen Powders, and Why Is Everyone Talking About Them?

Updated 09/11/19
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If you've ever purchased a healing crystal or spent time in a detoxifying infrared sauna, odds are you're familiar with adaptogens. Lauded for their stress-reducing, libido-boosting, sleep-inducing effects, these potent super ingredients have caught the attention of the wellness-minded set. But what are adaptogen powders exactly, and why is everyone talking about them? To learn more about these seemingly magical supplements, we asked Amanda Chantal Bacon, the founder of Moon Juice, a Goop-approved Los Angeles–based juice and wellness bar, to speak to the science behind these medicinal plants.

Believed to combat stress and balance the body, adaptogens have a number of acclaimed health benefits. "Adaptogens are herbs and mushrooms that expand the body's capacity to handle stress, whether the source is mental, physical, or emotional," explains Bacon. "Chronic stress impacts everything from our energy to our sleep, skin, and libido. These potent allies, work by helping regulate cortisol, the stress-hormone, and balancing the stress response system to improve mood, boost immunity, reduce fatigue, and so much more," she adds. "They've changed my life."

Ahead, the founder of Moon Juice elucidates the life-changing magic of adaptogen powders, including their many benefits, how to incorporate them into your daily routine, and which powders she swears by for an extra dose of energy.

Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon
Courtesy of Moon Juice

Moon Juice is a brand that has been shrouded in mysticism. Can you speak to the hard science behind the powders?

These plants have been used for thousands of years, and science is just catching up to prove their powers. Just like people were fermenting long before we knew what bacteria was, they also consumed adaptogens and the different herbs and mushrooms we work with at Moon Juice long before we understood their effect on things like cortisol levels. A lot of our ingredients are clinically studied, and we're always seeking out new research to support the power of the plants.

What is plant-sourced alchemy exactly?

Alchemy has more than one meaning: It means combining things, and it also means transformation. We put plants together to produce transformational effects. I want to empower everyone to become an alchemist, to experiment with their daily routine, and find ways to radically shift their health through the simple additions of live, medicinal plants. Once upon a time, kale and quinoa were foreign words. Soon shatavari will be familiar too.

Many of Moon Juice's powders contain adaptogens. Can you explain some of their benefits?

Some adaptogens are more stimulating; others more calming. Our Moon Dusts are targeted adaptogenic blends, balanced with supporting herbs, mushrooms, and minerals. We included adaptogens in our new protein formulas so they'd both boost and balance energy. We also carry several single-ingredient adaptogens for those who want to alchemize on their own. We are diligent about ingredients, sourcing plants from their native regions, sustainably grown and harvested at the peak of maturity, so we can deliver the purest and most potent plants on earth.

Moon Juice Dusts
Courtesy of Moon Juice

The latest additions to the Moon Juice line are three Adaptogenic Proteins that contain superherbs and supermushrooms. What are these ingredients?

All three of our Adaptogenic Proteins contain one of our favorites, ashwagandha, because it's so effective at balancing mood and energy. We then added specific adaptogens to support beauty, brain, and mood.Blue Beauty Adaptogenic Protein is boosted with amla, to help preserve natural collagen and elasticity. Vanilla Mushroom Adaptogenic Protein contains reishi and cordyceps, two powerhouse mushrooms with a staggering number of active constituents, that help boost focus and stamina. Deep Chocolate Adaptogenic Protein contains shatavari and maca for energy and mood.

The recently launched Adaptogenic Proteins already have waiting lists to purchase (congratulations!). What do you make of the powders' popularity?

Our proteins are made with the highest quality ingredients, and they taste real and delicious. Our customers love that they're super clean with only seven to eight ingredients, up to 20 grams of protein per serving, and zero added sugars. Plus, Blue Beauty turns everything you make with it blue.
What inspired you to create the Adaptogen Proteins?

Our proteins are made with the highest quality ingredients, and they taste real and delicious. Our customers love that they're super clean with only seven to eight ingredients, up to 20 grams of protein per serving, and zero added sugars. Plus, Blue Beauty turns everything you make with it blue.

Moon Juice Adaptogenic Protein
Courtesy of Moon Juice

The Adaptogenic Proteins and Moon Dusts work together as "dynamic duos." Which dusts pair with which powders and why?

We paired them for their heightened benefits and the best flavor. We love Deep Chocolate Adaptogenic Protein and Sex Dust to feed a good mood and increase drive. Blue Beauty Adaptogenic Protein and Beauty Dust for a super boost of ingredients that nourish hair, skin, and nails. To boost stamina, strength, and energy, Vanilla Mushroom Adaptogenic Protein and Power Dust is a potent combination.

Which pairing is your personal favorite?

Deep Chocolate Adaptogenic Protein and Sex Dust! I love the energy of cacao. It's rich, smoky, and delicious.

How often should you drink these combinations?

I recommend listening to your body and evolving your habits accordingly. What's happening in your day, and what do you need to support it? Do you need a boost of power in the morning? Add protein to coffee. Are you crashing late afternoon? Beat the crash and sugar cravings by blending Adaptogenic Protein with milk or water for a nutrient-dense energy boost. Get creative or visit our site for tons of recipe suggestions.

How do you enjoy these powders?

I love blending Adaptogenic Proteins with hot water and tocotrienols for a creamy, nourishing drink. We make our own Moon Milks at Moon Juice, which I LOVE and are a perfect base for Adaptogenic Proteins, as are our Moon Dust lattes. If you don't have access, you can make your own nut milk or try New Barn or Malk. ■

Up next, a neuroscientist explains what cutting carbs can do to your brain.

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