All the time we are looking for some miracle remedy to help us to live in harmony with ourselves, manage daily life stress, have a clear, calm mind, feel energetically, and satisfied, and experience 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 – which means they work holistically on the whole body and mind. Those amazing remedies make us more resistant to stress and are known for thousands of years for helping humans to recover from any imbalance: physical, emotional, or mental.
Adaptogens have some pathways that are affecting a number 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, hormone 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?
For thousands of years, it is known how to reach optimal functioning – homeostasis or Ying and Yang balance. In TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) there are a few cornerstones for health support: herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage tuina, body-mind exercise qigong, and dietary therapy. A combination of all those measures leads us to holistic health.
Let’s explore here one little part of herbal therapy – adaptogens. Even though all of them make us more resistant to stress, are antioxidants, and have an anti-inflammatory effect, each of them has some specific use. Maybe we can find out which of it suits best for our needs.
Panax ginseng – used for centuries for very weak people, and the elderly, restores vital energy, very potent antioxidant, has an anti-inflammatory, detoxifying effect, improves memory, mood, and mental performance, induces calmness, has immune enhancement and anti-cancer effect, a 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 effects. Fresh ginseng isn’t stable 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 the right composition of all active compounds. Only this type of ginseng made by traditional preparation methods (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 herbs in India and has been extensively used for a number of conditions in Ayurvedic tradition for thousands of years. It improves stamina and endurance, stress resistance, a good remedy for depression, hypothyroidism, brain function, cognitive improvement, anxiety, mood insomnia, ADD, ADHD, arthritis, diabetes, liver disorder, constipation, incontinence, impotence, regulates cortisol, anti-aging, rejuvenating, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer effect, adjuvant for chemotherapy, boosts testosterone levels for men, increases libido.
Numbers of scientific research have proved countless health benefits of ashwagandha. There are available extracts of ashwagandha for a stronger effect. The remedy is safe and beneficial for longer use because of its 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 for hyperactive thyroid condition (hyperthyroidism)
Shisandra– improves resistance to stress, immune system, and digestion, tested for Alzheimer, Parkinson, anxiety, liver diseases( hepatitis), liver detox, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, fights physical and mental fatigue, has mind sharpening powers, anti-aging effect, stimulant as 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, and depression, improve mental clarity and memory, reduces stress hormones, and menopausal symptoms, support hormone balance, treat cold, bronchitis, and digestive system, and improve the immune system.
Astragalus root– a very important herb in traditional Chinese medicine for restoring, supplying, and activating qi flow, tonic for longevity, repairs DNR (telomerase stimulating effects), have an anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral effect, improves blood circulation, heart, and kidney function, rejuvenate skin, treat diabetes, season allergies, etc. Astragalus root is an irreplaceable herb for the enhancement of the immune system, therefore has been done countless types of research for a number of conditions with great results. Generally, decrease inflammation in the body and increase energy level. Available in powder, or extract form.
Licorice root– improves digestion, chronic constipation, stomach upset, reflux, and colds, fights infections, is anti-inflammatory, and improves resistance to stress, one of the most important supplements for strengthening 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) – induces mental clarity, antidepressant, improves the immune system and stress response, sexual and reproductive function, fights chronic fatigue – effective for improving physical working capacity, burnout, and recovering after flu. Tested for diabetes (Rhodiola and cinnamon extract)
Cordyceps mushrooms– antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial effects induce mental and cognitive improvement, increase energy levels (mitochondrial production of ATP), fight fatigue, and improve stamina, and athlete’s performance. Tested to treat asthma, clean lungs, and have an anti-cancer effect, beneficial for people with Lyme disease.
Herbal medicine experts give us the advice to change herbs after some weeks of use for better effects. Adaptogens however can be used for longer periods of time. Good to remember that even though those natural remedies suit us 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 bodies and mind.