Need to know: the Wunderous power of adaptogens

Wunder Workshop is the turmeric brand, sourcing this fragrant organic spice from Sri Lanka and creating products that benefit your health & wellbeing. Recently the brand added two adaptogens to its product family, one that helps you counteract the negative effect of stress, the other to enhance your skin’s natural glow & I thought it would be helpful to share my thoughts about them with you.

One of the signs of our times, with a wider reaching tentacles of the world-wide web is that many people prefer to self-diagnose themselves or go to the doctor at the first sign of a cold, asking for antibiotics. On my recent trip to Moscow I was horrified to see the bombardment of the nation with medication ads on TV, followed by my eldest bewildered question: ‘ Mum, why are there so many pharmacies in Moscow, are people here very sick?’ There is a time and the place to consult the doctor, but a lot can and should be said about the benefits of lifestyle and holistic practises that we can all benefit from in the long-term.

As human lifespan become longer & we all will be expected to work for an extended period of time before retiring, compared to previous generations, good health becomes paramount. After all, we only have one health and while many take it for granted while it is good, it helps to shift the focus from superficial good looks to looking after our long-term health & wellbeing, both of which, make us not only feel better, but looking better too.

Adaptogens are widely used in Chinese medicinal practises because they help increase our resilience to environmental, mental, biological, emotional and physical stresses that we all experience daily. Certain herbs and plants help to normalise functions within our bodies and make us feel better in our skin, as well as in our bodies. A long time ago I remember listening to an interview with a well-known Russian doctor, who said that happiness and health for her is when she wakes up feeling energised and with no aches or pains. Ask yourself, how often do you experience that?

Zoe Lindt Van’t Hof, co-founder of Wunder Workshop, has been a long-term follower & advocate of holistic lifestyle, in a non-restrictive way. When you see her, with the sparkling eyes, glowing skin and contagiously grounding vibes, you instantly understand that she is the best advertisement for her brand and efficacy of the products she creates, as well as holistic lifestyle that she leads. Zoe is inspiring as a person, and as professional, yet she remains calmly focussed and generous with sharing her knowledge & tips.

Latest Wunder Workshop additions, launched earlier this summer, are brand’s first adaptogenic blends. Zoe & Tom, her right-hand partner,  have picked the ingredients based on their single functionalities, but also factored in the synergies between the ingredients. Unlike centuries ago, now spices seem to be widely available from retailers, but for me the choice often correlates to the quality of the spices & when it comes to turmeric, I can honestly say that Wunder Workshop is my favourite turmeric brand. Why? Well, simply put it is because Zoe & her team are dedicated to sourcing the best ingredients, factoring manufacturing practises in cultivation, quality of the soil, climate & harvesting times into their products.

Golden Balance is a blend (organically certified) of turmeric with Ashwagandha, Licorice, ginger, black pepper, cayenne pepper. This unique blend of organic Ayurvedic herbs and spices is designed to combat a stressful modern lifestyle, managing cortisol levels and improving hormone balance. Ashwagandha is rich in iron, improving alertness, as well as strengthening the body’s response to stress and anxiety by reducing adrenal fatigue and stabilising thyroid hormones. Turmeric, liquorice and ginger have powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and digestive properties, whilst cayenne pepper stimulates metabolism and circulation, revitalising and rejuvenating the body.

‘In our society’s hectic lifestyle where our bodies and hormones are constantly put to the test, Golden Balance helps to maintain your balance day in day out. It can be enjoyed at any time of the day in juices, smoothies, lattes as a nutritional supplement’

I have started my trial of those two adaptogenic blends with this one and has made it daily, generally in the evenings, either with full-fat organic milk or Rude Health Brown Rice Drink, which vanilla undertones compliment the taste of the blend. However, when I met Zoe & Tom during their customer presentation at Content, they mixed it up for me with oat milk and I have to say that it really does compliment the malty taste of the blend perfectly. It also works well in banana smoothies, as well as green smoothies or juices, but of course, this always comes down to personal taste.

The second blend, called Golden Glow is a blend of turmeric* with Maca*, Rice Bran, Brahmi*, black pepper* (organically certified ingredients). Zoe believes that glowing skin starts from the inside & this is full of beneficial antioxidants and vitamins. Rice bran is a rich source of vitamin E, which protects skin from premature ageing and environmental pollution. It also contains tocotrienols (“tocos”), which may have anti-cancer, neuroprotective and cholesterol lowering properties. Maca, a natural hormone balancer, can enhance the body’s ability to combat anxiety and depression which may negatively affect skin appearance. Furthermore, the antioxidants in brahmi, turmeric and rice bran help to relieve stress and expel toxins from the body and the upper epithelial layers of the skin, stimulating skin cell regeneration. Brahmi is a potent Ayurvedic nootropic herb that has been known to naturally boost cognitive ability, helping you to feel focused and alive.

To “glow” is more than just having wonderful skin, it is about having a radiance that transcends appearance and that is often affected by our mood and alertness.

Golden Glow is a versatile blend that can be enjoyed at any time of the day in juices, smoothies, lattes as a nutritional supplement. All you have to do is add 1/2 tsp to your morning smoothie or to warm milk/mylk. I also add it to my protein shake, which I drink half an hour before working out or instead of lunch, on a hectic day.

Who knows the brand better than its founder? With this thought in mind, I asked Zoe a few questions, in order for you to be armed with knowledge and information, giving you food for thought and fuel for your brain.

Are your adaptogenic blends meant to be taken daily, alongside each other at different times or interchangeably?

Zoe: ‘We recommend that people take them over a certain period of time and then take a break from them, with ayurvedic herbs (and most potent herbs in general) more isn’t always better. It is best to take small doses spread over the day, for example one half teaspoon in the morning with your smoothie and then half a teaspoon for an afternoon latte. They can be taken alongside each other, but they have different purposes. So, if one is really looking to balance their hormones and stress levels, Golden Balance is the one. Golden Glow’s main focus is for enhancing brain cognition and nurturing the skin from the inside out.

Do you recommend them for women of different ages who lead hectic, stressful lives & what effect can they expect when taking those supplements regularly?

Zoe: ‘We recommend them for both adult men and women who lead stressful lives, as adaptogens have the unique ability to restore the balance of endocrine hormones and immune system. Dr Nikolai Lazarev (fellow Russian 🙂  defined adaptogens in 1947 as ‘an agent that allows the body to counter adverse physical, chemical and biological stressors by raising non-specific resistance to such stress, thus allowing the organism to adapt to the stressful circumstances’.

Are there are contraindications to taking those adaptogenic blends, like under or overactive thyroid?

Zoe: ‘We always recommend to speak to a specialist when taking any food supplements, if one suffers from certain diseases or conditions. However, we do know that Ashwaghanda should be avoided, if you have hyperthyroidism, as it is one of the few herbs that has direct effect on thyroid function, making it useful for hypothyroidism.
For those of you you, who are interested to learn more about adaptogens, there is a lot of interesting research on the specific herbs we are using and on adaptogens in general.

When you say use adaptogen for a certain period of time & then take a break, can you expand on that recommendation a little, in terms of the time frame for taking/abstaining?

Zoe: ‘There is no fixed guideline on this, but from what we have learned, one would suggest that if you are using them for say six weeks, do take a full week off. These ‘breaks’ are suggested to let the adaptogenics take effect in your system’.

Each adaptogenic blend comes in a dark amber coloured glass jar, with a screw on lid. You can store it in the kitchen, away from direct heat. Make sure it is stored in a dry & cool place. The jar is practical for travel. Each blend is very finely milled, making it very easy to blend with any liquid – I tend to use a hand whisk when making a cup of milk in the afternoon & it leaves no tiny particles behind. Easy to use, delicious to drink.

As to the effect of taking those adaptogenic blends, after taking each of the blends for a month, one after another, here is what I have noticed:  as I am genetically blessed with my skin, I can’t say that the Golden Glow blend has transformed my skin, however, my skin looks more radiant. Yes, summer always makes us look better, but with the heatwave, skin can become unbalanced and mine coped really well, so I can attribute it to the positive effect of the blend. As to the Golden Balance, it has become a much-needed & trusted ‘assistant’ and I am sure it will continue being one when the warmth of summer gives way to the gloominess of autumn and dampness of winter. It does help the mind cope better with multiple tasks at hand. With the children on the summer holidays, when you have to combine work and entertainment, tempers might flair, even when it’s warm and sunny, but you are pulled in different directions. Taking a supplement to help balance your body and hormones is a good idea, as long as there are no counter indications, nor a big pile of supplements you are taking already. I did my testing of those two blends, one after another, with no additional supplements in my diet, apart from protein powders that I favour. I like the taste, I like the science & research that Zoe diligently did, before launching those products and I do feel better in myself, when it comes to daily life, full to the brim with professional & personal tasks.

For more information about Wunder Workshop and their range of supplements, including adaptogenic blends, priced £17.50 per 40g jar, please click here

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