The concept of adaptogens was originally created in 1947 to describe a substance that may increase resistance to stress. Adaptogenesis was later applied in the former Soviet Union to describe remedies thought to increase the resistance of organisms to biological stress. Another definition for an herb to be considered an adaptogen requires that it must be nontoxic, nonspecific, and thought to affect physiology of the organism. Wikipedia - Support Wikipedia
There has been debate among the scientific and medical community for many years over the proof that these herbs and super foods have any true benefit. The problem of proof arises when we fail to understand that the forms of medicine from which the knowledge to these herbs are based on observational study over 1,000's of years! In Asia, the Middle East, South America and Europe plant based medicine has been refined and adapted for generations and generations.
We forget that previous to the "scientific age" all knowledge was past down orally or in written form from one healer to another. It is through this long chain of experience that we have come to know about the power of these plants. So, I am not going to offer proof per se, however at the bottom of this post you will find some research links because we are now entering a new age of reason and commonsense. Researches are, more than ever interested in unlocking the ancient knowledge and wisdom of letting food, ie plants, be thy medicine!
Below you will find the tried and true adaptogens for immunity and stress. For questions about how you can personally integrate these plant based therapies into your regime you may want to seek advice and guidance form a Wellness Consultant, ND, Herbalist or Chinese Medical Doctor or Acupuncturist.
Adaptogens take time to create change, they are meant to be used as a tonic on a daily basis over a period of time. It is also advisable to take breaks, allowing the body to integrate. This break taking will be a new post in the near future. Many people who have been chronically ill are feed up with protocols for good reason. Taking breaks is VERY IMPORTANT!
Immunity Boosting Adaptogens
Cordyceps - Cordyceps sinensis
This is the funniest looking fungi. Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on the larvae of insects. When these fungi attack their host, they replace its tissue and sprout long, slender stems that grow outside the host’s body.
Cordyceps increase the body’s production of the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), essential for delivering energy to the muscles improving the way your body uses oxygen,
Cordyceps and the following fungi, Reishi are often paired together in capsule form.
See below for sources for these adaptogens.
Reishi - Ganoderma lucidum
One of the most important effects of the reishi mushroom is that it boosts immunity
This fungus has potential cancer-fighting properties. Helps with fatigue and depression by improving overall cellular function at the mitochondrial level, the power plant of your cells.
It's also good for the brain and is currently being researched as a possible aid for those suffering from neurological disorders.
In addition to all that goodness, it support regeneration of the liver improving the ability to capture and release toxic byproducts from the blood.
Eleuthero - Eleutherococcus senticosus
The main active agents in Panax ginseng are ginsenosides, which are triterpene saponins. Beneficial effects include anti-inflammation, antioxidant. As well as inhibiting cancer growth. Clinical studies indicate that ginseng improves psychologic function, improving depression symptoms and elevating mood. Additionally ginseng helps regulate blood sugar, beneficial to those who may be borderline diabetic.
It is generally well tolerated, but there can be contraindication to take in consideration. In particular it may interact with warfarin, oral hypoglycemic meds, insulin and phenelzine.
It is advisable to consult with you health care practitioner and your medical doctor before adding this to you protocol. Maximum time to use 3 -4 month, then take a break and return to it if needed.
Adaptogens for Stress & Mood
Holy Basil - Ocimum tenuiflorum
Is an aromatic perennial plant native to the Indian subcontinent. It is a cultivated plant throughout the Southeast Asian tropics.
Holy Basil maintains equilibrium among biochemicals associated with the stress system in the body. Ursolic, Rosmarinic acids and Eugenol have all shown antioxidant activity and support normal levels of inflammation.
Highly revered in Ayurvedic Medicine, Holy Basil is the calm the F%@& - down herb! Taken as a tonic herb it supports the nervous system by reducing ennevation.. overstressed nerves! Jangled and overwhelmed feelings indicate the use of Holy Basil.
Ashwagandha - Withania somnifera
Studies have shown that ashwagandha helps modulate the stress response of cortisol secretion. Cortisol is a "stress hormone" secreted by the adrenal glands in response to stress, as well as when your blood sugar levels get too low. With prolonged stress cortisol levels become chronically elevated, leading to high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen.
Studies of chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented with ashwagandha had significantly greater reductions in cortisol, compared to a control group. Those taking the highest dose had a 30% reduction, on average.
Ashwagandha is best taken as a tonic over a longer period of time to produce the most benefit.
Rhodiola - Rhodiola rosea
90 Rhodiola species exist world wide (55 of which are found in China, and 30 of which can be found in Tibet) all of which resemble sedum (Sedum sp.), the popular garden ornamental, and are members of the Crassulaceae family. Both of these genera are often referred to as 'stonecrops' due to their ability to survive in dry rocky areas.
In Chinese medicine plants medicinal qualities are often linked to their survival habits. This wonderful herb can survive almost anywhere. It is tenacious and can out last any stress. What it is able to do in nature, it will do for you.
Together these three herbs have been the best source of support for me in times of unrelenting stress!
Daily Stress Balance - Herb Pharm. Supplies all three stress adaptogens in one formula, along with ginseng. Dosages are moderate making it useable for a good long time to get the benefits. Use as directed
Andrena Soothe - Herb Pharm is another good option, combining reishi and ashwagandha. Use as directed
CordyChi - Host Defense. A simply blend of just these two potent healers cordyceps and reishi. Start with one cap two to three times per day.
NCBI & National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health
FDA Warning: This information is for education only and is not meant to diagnose, treat or prescribe for any disease or medical condition
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