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Ashwagandha: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Malaise

by Ben LeVine  Ayurveda is India’s ancient medical system, over 3000 years in the making; Ayur for life and Veda for knowledge. A guiding principle of the practice is the recognition that mind and body are inseparably interconnected and that the mind can be a powerful force in transforming and healing the body.1 Health, in this system, is not merely the absence of a negative, like disease, but an affirmation of the positive—a state of dynamic harmony with oneself and one’s environment. Stress, which in modern times is largely mentally triggered (that 5pm deadline isn’t going to eat you like a tiger would), wreaks havoc throughout our body when it becomes habitual. Cortisol, the “stress hormone”, becomes elevated during chronic...

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Why Tea: The Science Behind the Steam

by Ben LeVine Imagine waking up to a dystopian world where your roasted and rich morning cup of coffee was replaced by a white pill containing 5 cups worth of powdered caffeine. Your daily pleasures taken away, standardized, tasteless; take 3x a day. This seems to be the case in the world of adaptogens. Admittedly, I’m taking this to an extreme, but walk through any natural food stores and find the aisle dedicated to adaptogenic extracts, tinctures, powders, and pills. You’ll rarely, if ever, see tea. Part of our mission here at Taproot Adaptogen Tea is to change that. Coffee tastes great and its main attraction—caffeine—is highly soluble in hot water. Can the same be said for adaptogens? Or are...

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Caffeine and Adaptogens: Cycling to Superhuman.

by Ben LeVine {this post originally appeared in elephant journal} “It is our ability to acquire, use, and conserve energy that ultimately defines our lifetime adaptive success.” - Donald Yance Coffee, tea, yerba mate, chocolate. I love them all. And I’ve consumed them copiously in my quest to understand caffeine, energy and bio-individuality. Cross-referencing personal experience with new research, I’ve tested and tasted through euphoria and headache. After severe denial I finally admit: consumed habitually, caffeine is a zero-sum energy game. That was hard to say. And sure, I’m ignoring all the beautiful subtleties of your brew of choice—antioxidants, L-theanine, theobromine and more. But I’m only concerned here with energy over time. Let me explain.  One of caffeine’s main mechanisms of...

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Why Adaptogens?

by Ben LeVine Stress Wasn’t Always a Four Letter Word.  In our hunter-gatherer past, stress was a crucial part of our survival. “Fight or Flight” wasn’t just a cute description of our stress hormone cascade. But when that mountain lion retreated and padded its way off into the woods, it was back to the fire for us, with “Feed and Breed“ and “Rest and Digest” back in full swing. Ah, the good life. But now it's the 21st century and while that lion is still sometimes a lion, more often it’s your overflowing work email, the traffic on your way home from yoga, and even your relaxing weekends full of “mustgettothemountains to adventure becauseIworkhardplayhard!” The lion takes many forms. And...

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