How to choose the right adaptogenic herb

You take great care of your kids and your husband, but if your own health falls last on your list, consider boosting your reserves with an adaptogen, a family of herbs that benefit a variety of health challenges. “Adaptogens improve our resistance to stressors of all types, emotional and physical. They are a true mind-body therapy that can normalize a wide range of physiological functions,” says Tori Hudson, ND, a naturopathic physician in Portland, Oregon, and author of Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (McGraw-Hill, 2008). Here’s a guide to which adaptogen might best support your health.

For “mommy brain:"  rhodiola. “This herb has a long history of use in Eastern European countries and a fair amount of research showing that it improves memory, cognitive performance, and physical endurance,” says Hudson. Dose: 100–200 mg daily

To balance hormones:  maca. If you suffer from irregular cycles, PMS, or symptoms from perimenopause or menopause, try this root, which has been a Peruvian-diet staple for generations. “Maca has something to offer women of all ages, and can be taken long-term,” says Hudson. Dose: Two 500-mg capsules daily of a supplement containing a standardized extract of Lepidium peruvianum.

To bolster your defenses: astragalus.If you catch every virus that crosses your path, try this herb, which boosts your immune system. Dose: 300–500 mg daily at the first sign of sickness until the illness has subsided