Adaptogens

Terms Defined

The word adaptogen refers to the nonspecific, endocrine-regulating, immune-modulating effects of certain plants that increase a person's ability to maintain optimal balance in the face of physical and emotional stress. These botanical agents provide the perfect antidote for the life-robbing deficiencies in vitality created by the demands of modern life.

Homeostasis is the ability of the body to adapt in order to maintain relative constancy in response to and while interacting with internal and external (environmental) factors. It is the dynamic equilibrium or naturally occurring rhythm of the body that maintains the base rate or “set point” of the body.

The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce and release hormones that help control many important body functions, including the body's ability to change calories into energy that powers cells and organs. The endocrine system influences how your heart beats, how your bones and tissues grow, even your ability to make a baby. It plays a vital role in whether or not you develop diabetes, thyroid disease, growth disorders, sexual dysfunction, and a host of other hormone-related disorders.

Glands of the endocrine system: Each gland of the endocrine system releases specific hormones into your bloodstream. These hormones travel through your blood to other cells and help control or coordinate many body processes. More info...

Adrenal glands: Two glands that sit on top of the kidneys that release the hormone cortisol.

"These botanical agents provide the perfect antidote for the life-robbing deficiencies in vitality created by the demands of modern life... By exploring how stress affects the body, you will understand why adaptogens are essential as the foundation of any effective program for improving health and well-being, regardless of a person’s challenges or goals. Researchers are finding the adaptogens positively affect every aspect of human and animal health.

Herbal adaptogens and adaptogenic formulations can be considered tonics for the entire body, including the adrenal glands, brain, heart, immune system, and liver, because they strengthen resistance to unfavorable influences and limit the consequences induced by chronic stress. In an ever-changing world, herbal adaptogens enable us to adapt and delay the ill-effects of aging. They are the foundation of natural medicine for healthy aging."
- From 'Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism: Elite Herbs and Natural Compounds for Mastering Stress, Aging, and Chronic Disease' by Donald R. Yance, CN, MH, RH
"The mechanism by which adaptogens achieve their stress-protecting, normalizing action is well researched (mostly in the USSR and Japan). Adaptogens act to restore hypothalamic and peripheral receptor sensitivity to the effects of cortisol and other adrenal hormones. In this way, adaptogens enable the body to mount an appropriate stress response with lower amounts of cortisol than would otherwise be required. In addition, adaptogens help the adrenals return to normal more quickly. Brekhman’s colleague, Dr. I.V. Dardymov, showed that adaptogens enhance utilization of glucose, resulting in lower levels of stress-induced hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia. These studies were confirmed by Professor Farnsworth’s laboratory at the University of Chicago.

Clinicians have noticed that certain adaptogens act synergistically, and that they work best when combined. One of the leading researchers in adaptogen research today is Ben Tabachnik, PhD, who emigrated from Russia nearly a decade ago, bringing with him the accumulated knowledge of adaptogens, once guarded as a state secret by the Soviet government. Tabachnik pointed out that specific combinations of adaptogens are even more effective than when they are used separately. He also found that certain combinations were more effective at certain times, such as before competition or after competition, when they often speeded the recovery process."
- Dr. Ward Dean, M.D.
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For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.