Okay, What Exactly Are Adaptogens, and Can They Help With Libido?

Alison Wu

Adaptogens might be one of the biggest buzzwords of 2018, but despite recent attention, this field of medicine is certainly nothing new. "Adaptogens are a broad family of herbs and plant medicines that have been used for thousands of years throughout the world," says functional medicine practitioner William Cole, DC, in an article for MindBodyGreen. Though generally not accepted by mainstream Western medicine, they're integral to traditional Eastern medicine.

While best known for their ability to fight inflammation, adaptogens, it's believed, could also help regulate sex hormones. Recipe developer and wellness blogger Alison Wu says ashwagandha is the key ingredient. "Ashwagandha is one of the best adaptogens for helping people cope with stress, which overwhelms and exhausts the body, decreasing sexual desire, arousal, and function," she says.

As Valentine's Day approaches, Wu has been experimenting with recipes that harness the benefits of adaptogens and other libido-boosting ingredients. The result? Lavender Cacao Moon Milk, a chocolate berry drink that contains a medley of ingredients aimed to enhance sex drive, stamina, and more. "Raw cacao is said to boost your mood and your libido-it contains phenethylamine, which induces the release of endorphins and pleasurable neurochemicals, like serotonin," she says. Meanwhile, Wu added traditional Chinese medicine favorite Schisandra, "an adaptogen and an aphrodisiac that tonifies the organs."

Curious to find out what all the fuss is about? Try her Valentine's Day adaptogen recipe.

Lavender Cacao Moon Milk


4 cups hot water
3 tbsp. coconut butter
3 tbsp. dried lavender flowers
2 tbsp. tocos
1 1/2 tbsp. raw cacao powder
1 tsp. Schisandra berry powder
1 tsp. ashwagandha
1 Medjool date, optional
Pinch of pink salt


In a small saucepan over medium-low, heat the water, coconut butter, and dried lavender. Bring to a low simmer and allow the lavender to infuse into the milk for about five minutes. Strain out the flowers using a mesh sieve.