Are adaptogens the solution in the modern age?

All the time we are looking for some miracle remedy helping us to live in harmony with ourselves, manage daily life stress and have a clear, calm mind, feel energetically, satisfied and experiencing peace in our mind and body…

Adaptogens are natural substances: herbs and mushrooms, which are supporting a body to restore homeostasis, equilibrium or balance. They are nonspecific – it means they work holistically on whole body and mind. Those amazing remedies make us more resistant to stress and are known in thousands of years for helping humans to recover from any imbalance: physical, emotional or mental.

Adaptogens have some pathways they are affecting numbers of processes in the body; such as regulating stress hormones, improving oxygen uptake in cells, reducing oxidative stress, detoxifying, etc. Generally all those processes are bringing the body to optimal functioning or homeostasis.

Optimal functioning or homeostasis means perfect electrolytes, hormones balance, ph level, blood sugar, body temperature, and many more functions and settings in our bodies.

Is it this state of wellbeing, good mood and flow in life we are seeking for? How do we get there? Can adaptogens bring us in to optimal functioning?

Thousands of years it is known how to reach optimal functioning – homeostasis or Ying and Yang balance. In TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) there are few cornerstones for health support: herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage tuina, body-mind exercise qigong and dietary therapy. Combination of all those measures leads us to holistic health.

Let’s explore here one little part of herbal therapy – adaptogens.  Even all of them makes us more resistant to stress, are antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effect, each of them have some specific use. Maybe we can find out which of it suits best for our needs.

Panax ginseng – used for centuries for very week people, elderly, restores vital energy, very potent antioxidant, have anti-inflammatory, detoxifying effect, improves memory, mood and mental performance, induces calmness, has immune enhancement and anti-cancer effect, good remedy for chronic fatigue, menopausal disorder, supplies blood flow to internal organs and allows better organ health, improves energy productions in cells, treats impotence, diabetes etc…

Scientific research about Panax ginseng shows how important the composition of bioactive components is to achieve health effect. Fresh ginseng isn’t stabile at room temperature. Dried and powdered white ginseng is less effective compared to traditional red ginseng. It’s important to look after good quality Red Korean ginseng with right composition of all active compounds. Only this type of ginseng made by traditional preparation method (steaming and drying fresh ginseng root), choosing the right kind and at least 6 years old roots, has proven health benefits. Don’t buy cheap ginseng, look after ginseng manufactured by strictly traditional prescription.

Ashwagandha– is one of the most important herb in India and been extensively used for numbers conditions in Ayurvedic tradition for thousands of years. It improves stamina and endurance, stress resistance, good remedy for depression, hypothyroidism, brain function, cognitive improvement, anxiety, mood insomnia, ADD, ADHD, arthritis, diabetes, liver disorder, constipation, incontinence, impotence, regulates cortisol, have anti- aging, rejuvenating, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer effect, adjuvant for chemotherapy, boosts testosterone levels for men, increase libido.

Numbers of scientific research have proved about countless health benefits of ashwagandha. There are available extracts of ashwagandha for stronger effect. The remedy is safe and beneficial for longer use because of immune support and antimicrobial abilities. Demand for ashwagandha root raw material is expanding powerfully in the world and we can find very low quality, industrially cultivated ashwagandha products in the market. Therefore look after trustable manufacturers for quality certificated, ecological ashwagandha extract. Have to be used with caution by hyperactive thyroid condition (hyperthyroidism)

Shisandra–  improves resistance for stress, immune system, digestion,  tested for Alzheimer, Parkinson, anxiety, liver diseases( hepatitis), liver detox,  anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, fights physical and mental fatigue, have mind sharpening powers, anti-aging effect, stimulant like caffeine without side effects , balance hormones, sexual stimulant,  prevent osteoporosis. Shisandra has to be used with caution for people with conditions like high stomach acid, ulcers, and reflux. Available like fresh and dry berries, juice, powder and extract (look for standardized to shisandrins).

Holy basil-tulsi– used for centuries to reduce anxiety, stress, depression, improves mental clarity and memory, reduces stress hormones, menopausal symptoms and supports hormone balance, treats cold, bronchitis, digestive system, improves immune system.

Astragalus root– very important herb in traditional Chinese medicine for restoring, supplying and activating qi flow, tonic for longevity, repairs DNR (telomerase stimulating effects), have anti- aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral effect, improve blood circulation, heart and kidney function, rejuvenate skin, treat diabetes, season allergies etc. Astragalus root is the irreplaceable herb for enhancement of immune system, therefore has been done countless researches for numbers of conditions with great results. Generally, decrease inflammation in body and increase energy level. Available in powder, extract form.

Licorice root– improves digestion, chronic constipation, stomach upset, reflux, cold, fights infections, anti-inflammatory and improves resistance for stress, one of most important supplement for strengthening the adrenal function. Used for PMS, menopausal symptoms, gastrointestinal, liver disorders, diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and lupus.  Use with caution by those with high blood pressure.

Rhodiola rosea (arctic root or roseroot) – induce mental clarity, antidepressant, improves immune system and stress response, sexual and reproductive function, fights chronic fatigue – effective for improving physical working capacity, burnout, recovering after flu. Tested for diabetes (rhadiola and cinnamon extract)

Cordycep mushrooms– antioxidant, have ant-inflammatory, anti-microbial effects induce mental, cognitive improvement, increase energy levels (mitochondrial production of ATP), fight fatigue and improve stamina, athlete’s performance. Tested to treat asthma, clean lungs and have anti- cancer effect, beneficial for people with Lyme decease.

Herbal medicine experts give us advice to change herbs after some weeks of use for better effect. Adaptogens however can we use for longer period of time. Good to remember that even those natural remedies suite very well for our symptoms, they can affect us in different ways. As we start to use adaptogens we already are in very different conditions and we have specific imbalances in our body and mind.

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