Years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's autoimmune hypothyroid disease (along with a host of other issues, like leaky gut). Because of these autoimmune conditions, I decided to completely overhaul my diet to help with the brain fog, fatigue, and digestive woes I was dealing with on a daily basis.
I adopted a plant-based diet that eliminated all gluten, dairy, processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine—and it helped tremendously in my personal healing process. My energy soared, my immune function improved, and my thyroid and digestive health began to regulate.
Since then, I've done a lot of experimenting with various functional foods and herbs, and I've definitely landed on a few personal favorites when it comes to my thyroid and overall health. One of my favorite ways to combine several of these nourishing ingredients at once is to whip up functional wellness tonics—which are much more than just trendy beverages.
I've written about my brain-fog-busting tonic for helping fight fatigue and promote energy and focus, and now, I want to share another one of my go-to mixtures for when I need a little more calm and balance (and anti-inflammatory properties)—my turmeric and shilajit tonic.
This tonic has been inspired by centuries-old ayurvedic tradition. It boasts homemade hemp milk, a hint of raw honey, freshly juiced carrots, ginger, turmeric, and adaptogenic plant ingredients such as maca, ashwagandha, shilajit, reishi, and chaga—plus powerful digestion-balancing herbs like cardamom, vanilla bean, and black pepper. Along with providing adrenal and immune support and anti-inflammatory properties, this warming tonic basically tastes like you're sipping on sunshine.
Here, learn why I think the ingredients in this tonic are so special for promoting wellness—and scroll down for the full recipe!
Turmeric has been used as a medicinal strategy for supporting cardiovascular1, digestive2, joint3, and immune health4 for thousands of years, and it's one of the most healing roots for the body. Along with potent antioxidants like curcumin, turmeric contains an array of essential micronutrients5, including vitamins C and K, several B vitamins, iron, calcium, manganese, potassium, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. The anti-inflammatory properties6 of turmeric are one reason this tonic is especially beneficial for stiff joints7, which can be a challenge for women with Hashimoto’s and other hypothyroid conditions.
I'm a huge fan of shilajit. The natural plant complex has been known and used for centuries by people living in the mountains of Central Asia—Nepal, India, Russia, and Tibet. Sanskrit for "Conqueror of mountains and destroyer of weakness,” shilajit has historically been touted for its energizing and strengthening effects in these cultures with rough terrains. Modern science now points to shilajit’s role in energy balance8.
Mineral-rich shilajit helps metabolize food for energy, contains a variety of antioxidants that protect cells throughout the body, and may help combat fatigue9 and stimulate the brain8 (according to studies in rats and cell cultures). It dissolves well in water. I keep shilajit in my purse for when I need a quick brain boost.
Lotus Blooming Herbs is a company I trust that supplies Himalayan-sourced, fair trade shilajit in its genuine and authentic form—a black, gummy mineral resin.
The use of the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha can be traced back more than 2,500 years, and it is highly revered in ayurvedic medicine for its value as a multipurpose herb that brings holistic healing to the body. Bonus: It's another superstar plant bioactive with robust clinical research evidence for countering stress10 and supporting thyroid balance11.
Specifically, ashwagandha has been shown to lower your body's stress hormone12, cortisol, which can make you feel more calm and support adrenal balance. It can also help out an underactive thyroid. A randomized controlled trial11 found that after just eight weeks of supplementing with ashwagandha, patients with hypothyroidism had much healthier thyroid labs (higher T3 and T4; lower TSH)and therefore more normal, balanced thyroid function.
Ginger is an herbal known for its digestive support efficacy. Clinically shown to reduce and even prevent symptoms of nausea and vomiting13. ginger’s antiemetic effects have proven effective against motion sickness14, morning sickness15, post-operative nausea and vomiting16, and chemotherapy-induced nausea17.
Ginger has also been shown in a 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials18 to have anti-inflammatory effects and the ability to alleviate markers of oxidative stress. These effects underlie this herbal root’s ability to reduce muscle pain and soreness associated with exercise19 and arthritis20.
Carrots are a naturally sweet addition to this turmeric-led tonic. Carrots are loaded21 with carotenoid antioxidant beta-carotene, and also delivers a variety of other micronutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and folate to highlight a few. carrots provide several immune-boosting effects. Carotenoids fight oxidative stress due to their intrinsic antioxidant properties22. In fact a clinical study using carrot juice23 as the intervention demonstrated positive effects on antioxidant status and oxidative stress.
Beta-carotene and other carotenoids play a protective role in skin health24 and vision25. Beta-carotene is considered the most important provitamin A carotenoid (i.e., beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in our body), and vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin known to be critical for immune system function26.
Maca is an adaptogenic root native to South America. Historically used in the Andes as a botanical strategy to treat anemia, infertility, and hormonal balance, current research suggests maca may help with menopausal symptoms27 (think hot flashes), but more research is needed to suss this potential benefit out definitively.
From reproductive, immune, brain, skin, and digestive functions to helping with fatigue, the potential bioactivities of maca28 are numerous, but not convincingly backed up by high-quality research yet. What I can say for sure is that maca has a distinct caramel-like taste and is packed 29with fiber, amino acids, iron, calcium,, potassium, copper, vitamin C and phytonutrients.
Reishi and chaga
These are two mushrooms used historically in Asian medicine traditions for longevity and their immune-modulating properties30. These fungi may help to promote the activation key immune cells and pathways to protect from pathogens and disease processes. For example, reishi and chaga, along with other medicinal mushrooms, have been studied in animal and cell models for their ability to modulate cytokine production31, along with other mechanisms that have direct relevance for cancer (although studies in humans are still to come).
Hormone-Balancing Turmeric Tonic
Juiced, warmed, and blended, this tonic led by turmeric is a delicious way (packed with nutrients, fiber, and phytochemicals) to sip your way to more balance and better health.
- 1-inch knob of fresh turmeric
- 1-inch knob of fresh ginger
- 1 carrot
- 1½ cups homemade hemp seed milk
- 1 tsp. maca powder
- ½ tsp. reishi powder
- ½ tsp. chaga powder
- Pea-size amount of shilajit resin
- 1 tsp. ashwagandha powder
- Pinch of black pepper
- 1 to 2 tsp. raw honey
- Using a juicer, juice fresh ginger, turmeric, and carrot. (Alternatively, you can blend these ingredients with the hemp seed milk and strain with a cheesecloth.)
- Pour juice into a small saucepan along with hemp seed milk (purified water blended with 2 tsp. organic hemp seeds.) Heat over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until mixture is gently warmed but not boiling. Add in a pea-size amount of shilajit, and stir with a whisk until well mixed.
- Pour mixture into a high-speed blender along with ashwagandha, maca cardamom, mushroom powders, black pepper, and raw honey to taste. Blend on high until mixture is creamy and frothy, about 30 to 60 seconds.
- Pour into a mug and enjoy. If you have a milk frother, you can add additional hemp seed milk to the frother and top your mug off, adding a dash of cardamom and another drizzle of honey for added delight.
Fern Olivia is a speaker and influencer on the power of integrative medicine, yoga, and holistic lifestyle practices. She graduated Cum Laude from Syracuse University with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises. She is also a Board-Certified Holistic Health Practitioner (AADP) from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Fern is the founder and CEO of Thyroid Yoga® and now trains wellness leaders and practitioners, integrating Reiki, Sound Healing and Intuitive Healing into the practice. Today, she works with clients through Personal Retreats in Nosara, Costa Rica and virtual Thyroid Yoga® sessions and mentorships, available globally.
Fern has partnered with Dr. Gabrielle Lyon at The Ash Center for Comprehensive Medicine, Dr. Robin Berzin and Dr. Jeffrey Egler at Parsley Health, among leading health practitioners, expert yoga instructors, and brilliant entrepreneurs. Together with these exceptional doctors and renowned practitioners, she offers Thyroid Yoga® in tandem with integrative medical practices, yoga studios, and wellness centers. Fern is a certified Reiki practitioner and registered yoga teacher.
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Check out Using Yoga To Balance Thyroid Hormones? Yes, It's Possible!