fertility adaptogens

3 fertility adaptogens – Ashwaganda, Reishi and Cordyceps

fetility superfoodsYes, these adaptogens are medicinal mushrooms which are powerhouses and magical wonders of the woodlands and fields.

Their balancing and regulating effects help us

adapt to stressful situations

support the nervous system

balance hormones

boost immune cells

create stability in the body


The 3 adaptogens I am discussing this month I often use in clinic –  Ashwagandha root and the fungi cordyceps and reishi.

3 fertility (Hormonal) adaptogens 

3 fertility adaptogens - Ashwaganda, Reishi and CordycepsAshwagandha root (Withania somnifera).  Originally used in Ayurvedic medicine the taste  of this herb is sweet, bitter and pungent, light and slimy in nature and hot in potency!  The composition of this adaptogenic herb includes glycosides, acid, starch, sugars,  amino acids and  approximately thirteen alkaloids like trophine, anapherine, anahygrine.

It is a wonderful  tonic and adaptogen that both strengthens and calms the nervous system and helps us all cope with 21st century living.  (more about this below).

3 fertility adaptogens - Ashwaganda, Reishi and Cordyceps

Fungi  – medicinal mushroom adaptogens: Cordyceps  and Reishi

These two medicinal  mushrooms support hormonal and endocrine well being. Fungi produce mushrooms  in the same way that plants produce flowers as a means of reproduction. They have traditionally been used in  both western and traditional Chinese medicine for their adaptogen virtues; anti-tumour activity; viral and bacterial infections.

They are  rich in polysaccharides beta glucan 1-3 and beta glucan 1-6

have a  strong effect on the gut microbiome.

increasing the growth of bifidobaterium and lactobacillus and the necessary short-chain fatty acids for healthy food breakdown.

Being adatogens they  strengthen self-regulating forces.

Cordyceps is also known as Chinese caterpillar fungus.  It  supports the kidneys and encourages power, stamina and strong will – all solar plexus chakra attributes.  According to traditional Chinese medicine  the kidneys are believed to store our energy and considered the root of life including physical and mental energy. They believe that renal insufficiency  can result in depression, lack of will-power; fear, worry, ex­haustion and a feeling of inner void.

3 fertility adaptogens - Ashwaganda, Reishi and CordycepsReishi. The “eternal life mushroom” is known mainly for it liver love and associated with the solar plexus chakra.  In China, Reishi has been used as medici­nal substance for more than 4000 years.  Reishi effectively counteracts all kinds of bodily inflammations. This is mainly due to its high content of triterpenes which helps breakdown bacteria and  encourages wound healing (I am thinking post surgery here!) Remember 21st century living including  stress, al­cohol and various medicinal substances increase histamine release but the adatogen Reishi  can be used to reduce excessive histamine release and help reduce pro-inflammatory reactions.

How these 3 adaptogens support you

Support adrenal glands to reduce stress and anxiety

Ashwagandha has been shown to support the adrenals via normalising cortisol levels. Ongoing stress can be detrimental to fertility health. Adrenal function is closely linked to hormonal balance including thyroid function so by taking Ashwagandha  you can not only support your adrenals but also your thyroid as well and  help soothe and calm the brain.

Cordyceps shows regulating effects. It helps regulate cortisol so has calming effects and helps balance the release of stress hormones and support fertility.  It is  especially useful for psychological or physical stress related health issues – including fatigue, anxiety, insomnia etc.

Cordyceps is considered in Traditional Chinese medicine to support depression and  provides power, stamina and a strong will.

Reishi – While being so­porific and calming in the evenings this adaptogen is stimulating during the day – helping us respond appropriately to external influences.    Did you know that all gastro-intestinal disorders involve the autonomic nervous system and in particu­lar the parasympathetic nervous system?

 All 3 adaptogens support the parasympathetic nervous system but Reishi  contains adenosine and  which soothes and relaxes the gastro-intestinal muscles and its high triterpene concentration help regulate histamine release.

2. Womens health conditions

Ashwagandha can be used to support  vaginal itch, inflammation, swelling in the uterus, leucorrhoea, loss of hunger; stress related hormone imbalances, lethargy and can be used as an  aphrodisiac.

Cordyceps strengthens  the production of sex hormones, reproductive wellbeing, sexual instinct, genitals and the neurological system. This medicinal mushroom can be used to treat all kinds of genital-related problems. It is effective against sleeplessness and night sweats  and supportive in the treatment of menstrual irregularities.

Both Cordyceps and Reishi improve wellbeing and have positive effects on not only cholesterol but supports  menstrual and menopausal issues such as excessive heat and sweating; joint pain.

Reishi is closely related to the liver.  Think detoxification, blood fat value (cholesterol, fat around the middle; oestrogen issues, menstrual irregularities, sub fertility, PCOS, endometriosis, methylation pathways).  It eases neurological disorders, particu­larly those related to weakness, neura­sthenia, forgetfulness, uneasiness, and sleeplessness (I am thinking menopausal here!). It can balance cardiac arrhythmias and severe blood pressu­re fluctuations.

3. Increases your energy with these adaptogens

Ashwagandha has been shown to significantly impact athletic performance by improving heart and lung capacity while increasing energy levels. Not only is this useful for the purposes of exercise, it is also helpful for people who struggle with fatigue-related conditions.

Cordy­ceps improves performance including respiratory or­gans; heart and physical stamina –  whether this is sport, sexual or work related!  It is often used to help re-genera­te after sports as it ensures quick recovery.

Reishi increases the blood’s saturation with oxygen, which helps you feel energised and full of vitality.It  is known as “king of the mushrooms”




Energy pick me up – take 3 to 6 grams  of ashwagandha root  with a glass of warm  (plant) milk to give you a pick me up

4. Stabilise blood sugar

Ashwangdha is used to stabilise blood sugar levels – this is an example of the herb’s adaptogenic effect. Considering the impact of blood sugar levels in illnesses such as those seen in my clinic (PCOS, anxiety and depression) this herb can have a profound impact on your fertility health.

Both Reishi and Cordyceps are important in the treat­ment of type I and type II diabetes  and blood sugar dysregulation.  These medicinal mushrooms  really are useful when blood sugar disorders are seen.

5. Combat ageing

Ashwagandha  contains an active ingredient called withanamides.  These magical ingredients have shown to contains natural antioxidants that scavenge free radicals so great for anti aging.

Reishi  supports better oxygen saturation through the blood.  It positively effects heart functionality and cardiac activities and has a blancing effect on the nervous system which helps  reduce blood pressure fluctuations and is a great anti-inflammatory.

6.  Adaptogens are immune boosting and anti-inflammatories

Ashwagandha has excellent immune-boosting effects on your immune system. As the herb is rich in iron it also contributes to red blood cell count (so great for fertility and nutrient values).  It is also good for urinary disorders  because its a natural diuretic.  The anti-inflammatory properties in this herb can be used to ease joint stiffness and pain  – not only useful to ease chronic ailments of joint pains like rheumatoid arthritis but fantastic for menopausal joint pain too.

Cordyceps is used to strengthen the vital energy of the lungs so it’s a “go to” with upper respiratory illnesses. It has antibiotic effects and helps regulate white blood cells, macrophages and natural killer cells.  It supports blood’s pH value and can help prevent the growth of Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium paraputrificum which are both believed to enhance cancer. By triggering Peyer plaques – natural killer cells increase and your immune system can be supported.

Reishi  – fantastic for the liver  this fungi has anti-inflammatory properties.  It is fantastic for allergic reactions – helping to decrease histamine release  (which soothes itching and in­flammations) and ensures the body’s oxy­gen supply. Put simply, it helps regulate the im­mune system  as well as has relaxing and calming effects so great for auto immune health issues and also digestive support due to its anti-inflammatory and mucosa-protecting features.


Cordyceps range of application  (traditional Chinese medicine)

  • strengthening lung and kidneys (cough, cold, breathlessness, asthma, bronchitis)
  • emotional soothing
  • reduces mucus and hemorrhage
  • enhances sexual energy
  • supportive against joint, rheumatic, fibromyalgic and muscular pain
  • used post-illness fatigue and strengthens the immune system (including auto immune )
  • anti-inflammatory

Reishi’s range of application (again TCM) 

has effects on stomach, spleen, lung, liver, kidney and heart

soothes and nourishes the heart

helps detox

eases the mind; serves as a sedative& is a great tonic

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Disclaimer: Disclaimer: This article has been written for inspiration and education purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease and it does not replace evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment by  your qualified health care professional.


Justine Evans ND – Hormone alchemist.  Justine  is a registered naturopath, nutritional therapist, body worker and healer.  She integrates functional medicine with eastern philosophy to provide a multi dimensional approach to reproductive well being. Contact Justine on 07747 133170 for an online consultation now or see her in her clinic – Stroud in Gloucestershire and Twickenham, London




Sources of Information:

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India.
Dravyaguna vijnana by Prof. PV Sharma.
Charaka Samhita of Agnivesh by Vaidya Sri Satya Narayan Shastri.

Evolutionary herbalism by Sajah Popham

Healing with Mushrooms – Mykotroph. Institute for Nutritional and fungal medicine

Entangled Life – Merlin Sheldrake

Wild Apothecary – Amaia Dadachanji

Energetic and Physical Aspects of Plants – Spagyric Medicine

Wild Nutrition by Henrietta Norton

Your Guide to Ayurvedic Herbs – Sebastian Pole

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