Adaptogens for Focus and Calm
Megan Tries It

Adaptogens for Focus and Calm

Megan tries it: Adaptogens

Megan O’Neill is new to goop—and the initiation process involves a pretty fantastic learning curve. Here, her adventures in onboarding, goop-style:

I’m pretty great at weekend mode. There’s lots of action in the kitchen (the Detox Granola Bars from goop are delightfully chewy and coconut-y, and I make them for the week ahead so I’m prepared when sweet things I don’t want polluting my system materialize in the office). There’s also lots of gallivanting around Brooklyn to pop into my favorite boutiques, a respectable amount of nighttime cocktails, maybe a trip to an infrared sauna, and a yoga class or two. Saturday is pure amnesic bliss; Sunday is…happy enough; Sunday night, not so much.

I love my job, but the cruel tailspin that is Monday morning for me is really rough. My to-do list creeps up the second my eyes flit open, and all day I’m more distracted than the other six days of the week. In response, I’ve developed a morning routine that overflows with rituals and potions but still, they’re only half a match for Mondays.

I’ve discovered something of a trick, and I think I’ll be doing it for the rest of my days: Adaptogens. Herbs and botanicals from ginseng to certain mushrooms, adaptogens are said to help the body deal with both mental and physical stress, and they’re seriously worth investigating. Used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, many adaptogens have clinically proven effects, and some are even shown to increase cognitive function.

After trying a sizeable shelf full of different adaptogenic powders, the two that made the biggest difference for me were Brain Dust from Moon Juice and Mucuna Pruriens from Sun Potion. Brain Dust is a blend of six different organic adaptogens, including ashwagandha; and Lion’s Mane, a mushroom. It’s spiked with stevia, which tempers the intense bitterness of ashwagandha and lends a subtle, pleasant sweetness.

  • Brain Dust Moon Juice Brain Dust
    goop, $38

    We recommend adding one teaspoon of this formula to 8oz of any hot or cold liquid (it’s especially good with nut milk, water, or tea).

The only thing in Sun Potion’s mucuna pruriens are extracts of the beans of the mucuna pruriens plant. The powder is the tiniest bit bitter if you’re sampling it straight, but the taste is so mild that it’s barely detectable in tea.

  • Mucuna Pruriens Sun Potion Mucuna Pruriens
    goop, $36

    Mix ½ teaspoon (2 grams) in water or tea. It’s an excellent addition to elixirs, smoothies, raw treats, soup, and more.

Both powders turbocharge a tea, coffee, latte, smoothie, lemonade, water, soup—really, anything. The intense jolt mucuna gives me feels real (in Central America, one of the many places where mucuna is cultivated, people drink it as a coffee substitute). Brain Dust helps when my discouraged mood is my biggest roadblock, and I need help shifting out of it. I measure out either half a teaspoon of mucuna or a full teaspoon of Brain Dust (it tells you how much on the back of each one), vigorously mix it up until no clumps remain, and let my adaptogenic-charged morning drink (lately I’ve been going for a Sencha green tea) work its magic. Soon after, I’m in the zone, feeling strangely more on top of my ever-expanding inbox and mounting tasks. Of course, people respond to things very differently and placebos themselves can be very effective, but I don’t think I’m imagining my laser focus. My words flow more freely as I type, and I don’t need to take as many breaks to gaze out the window or scroll Insta.

Monday morning will never not be Monday morning, but my new adaptogen-infused Sencha routine is helping make the transition from my beautifully lazy weekends smoother: Sunday night has become remarkably less terrifying, and weekend mode lasts a few fabulous hours into Monday.

These are the musings and opinions of Megan O’Neill based on her own personal experience. Individual responses can vary greatly.