Tonics draw upon Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic traditions. Used in small doses, they tone the system over time. You won’t feel a jolt like you do from caffeine. Still, you’ll notice subtle changes in your energy levels that leave you feeling more restored, balanced, and invigorated. Tonics typically come in powder or tincture form, and you can simply mix them in water and sip them straight. However, since many taste bitter or earthy, I often incorporate them into hot beverages or smoothies.
These tonic ingredients have not been evaluated by the FDA, and you should experiment by taking a tablespoon of each in water to see if you have an adverse reaction. If you are particularly worried about taking a tonic, check with your physician, as you would, before taking any new vitamins or supplements. Following are some of the herbs that I like to have on hand to create my tonics.
Amalaki fruit (also called Indian gooseberry) is known as “the fruit of immortality,” it works on the bowels and digestive system, which are essential for clearing the skin. Aside from its high vitamin C content, it is also rich in other nutrients. Aside from its high vitamin C content, it is also rich in other nutrients. It helps support the digestive tract lining, slows aging and sun damage, and protects the liver.
A powerful tonic from a leafy green Japanese plant known for its regenerative powers and healing ability, ashitaba promotes glowing skin and good digestion. It is high in B vitamins (one of the only plants that provides vitamin B12) and vitamin C, and it helps eliminate toxins. It can also help with weight reduction.
In Sanskrit, ashwagandha means “smell of a horse” because it is supposed to impart the vigor and stamina of a stallion. Ashwagandha comes from the crushed leaves and roots of the winter cherry tree. It is an adaptogen that adapts to your body’s needs to reduce stress or provide more energy. In Ayurveda, it was traditionally prescribed to help people recover from illness. It is an anti-inflammatory anti-inflammatory and can prevent anxiety and depression.
Astragalus is a root that helps to lower cortisol and strengthen the immune system to fight disease. It has long been effective in Chinese medicine as an adaptogen.
Chaga is a mushroom found on the trunks of birch trees, and it is known as the “king healer mushroom” in Chinese medicine. It is rich in zinc and B vitamins and a powerful adaptogen that aids in immune response and provides energy.
Chyawanprash is an ancient Ayurvedic blend of thirty-five ingredients (herbs, spices, and fruits) to supplement wellness, rejuvenation, and longevity. Made with Amalaki fruit, sesame, and honey, it tastes like jam. Chyawanprash aids in eliminating toxins, boosting the immune system, strengthening the organs, lifting the libido, and balancing hormones. Its antioxidants are good for skin and hair and are suitable for balancing all the doshas.
Cistanche is a desert plant used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years; Genghis Khan reportedly consumed it daily. It is known to be a mood-supporting herb, helps detoxify the kidneys, and enhances sexual power for both men and women. Some species of cistanche are endangered, so make sure you buy yours from a reputable source.
Chinese medicine has long used this fungus to shrink cancerous tumors, and it is known to increase endurance and performance.
Ho Shou Wu
A longevity tonic made from the root of a plant that grows in China’s mountainous regions, ho shou wu is also excellent for growing thick, lustrous hair. Ho shou wu boosts the endocrine system, kidneys, and liver, improving energy, stamina, and immunity. (Some people have had adverse reactions to ho shou wu, so check with your doctor if you have any concerns.)
The superfood adaptogen cousin of broccoli and cabbage. It grows high in the mountains of Peru and helps elevate endorphins to make people feel more alive. It increases stamina, provides energy, balances hormones in both men and women and can help increase focus. It’s full of amino acids and essential minerals.
Sometimes called Pikachu, mucuna pruriens is a legume grown in Asia and Africa and known as the “dopamine” bean because it can increase dopamine levels in the brain. It’s excellent for combating mood swings, depression, and addiction. It stimulates the pituitary gland to regulate hormonal imbalances and can promote fertility in both men and women.
This is one of my favorite ingredients for luminous beauty and lustrous hair. Taking pearl powder internally can boost collagen and give the body more calcium and trace minerals.
Pine pollen has been an aphrodisiac and longevity food in ancient cultures for centuries. This adaptogen has twenty amino acids, including eight essential ones. I love the golden hue of the powder and can feel its vitality working on me right away.
Reishi AKA as the “queen of healing mushrooms.” Chinese medicine is synonym of success, well-being, and longevity. It is a potent adaptogen with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can help fight cancer, reduce stress, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Sometimes known as wild asparagus, Shatavari is an Ayurvedic herb. Ideal t balances hormones soothes digestion and promotes immunity. It can help reduce acidity and balance pH levels in the body, regulate menstrual cycles, and promote healthy hair growth.
Tocos is a soluble rice bran full of vitamin E, essential for healthy skin and connective tissue. Its creamy vanilla taste makes it an excellent addition to smoothies or tonics.
Triphala means “three fruits,” and it is made from Amalaki, which manages Pitta and supports the liver and the immune system; bibhitaki, which is suitable for Kapha and supports the respiratory system; and heritage, which removes toxins and is suitable for all three doshas.