Adaptogenic herbs are plants that have been used as rejuvenating and restorative tonics in ancient herbal medicine systems from different cultures around the world. They are characterized by relative safety and generalized action throughout the body, rather than individual organs or diseases. Its use produces both physical and mental well-being and equips the person to handle stress and difficult situations.
Our body has specific homeostatic mechanisms that regulate everything from body temperature to blood glucose levels with the help of a biofeedback system. When the level of glucose in the blood increases after a meal, the hormone insulin produced by the pancreas carries more sugar to the cells to bring it to a normal range. When the blood glucose is low, it is replaced by an inverse mechanism. Similarly, the hypothalamus in the brain controls body temperature by releasing extra energy to warm the body and activating the sweat glands to cool it when necessary.
Adaptogenic herbs emulate our body's natural homeostatic system and allow us to adapt to both physical and mental stress, including stress due to emotional problems in life, hectic schedules, strenuous activities, extreme heat and cold, debilitating diseases and injuries. It is known that they influence:
Production of stress hormone. Nervous system and neurotransmitters. Immune system of the body Inflammatory responses of the body. Glucose metabolism Production and release of energy.
Of all medicinal plants known to man, only a few are recognized as adaptogens because, according to the definition, herbs must promote general health, with special emphasis on reducing stress, and must have high levels of safety. This term was only coined in 1947 by the Russian pharmacologist Dr. Nikolai Lazarev, but adaptogenic herbs were often used by warriors, athletes and travelers who undertook long and difficult journeys through mountains and rugged terrain.
1. Chinese / Asian Ginseng
This herb is as well known as an adaptogen that the term "ginseng" has become a common suffix for many unrelated adaptogenic herbs from around the world. The fleshy roots of the plant. Panax ginseng They are the part with medicinal value of Asian ginseng, also known as Chinese and Korean ginseng, depending on the origin of it.
Panax means "panacea of all evils" and "ginseng" for "man – root", which refers to the bifurcated roots that resemble the lower parts of a person. True to its name, it has been widely used in Chinese medicine for the treatment of all kinds of diseases, although it was previously popularized as an aphrodisiac and longevity herb. The dry ginseng root is available whole, sliced or powdered. It is a common ingredient not only in many therapeutic formulations, but also in cosmetic and hair care products. It is considered safe to use in small doses, but the presence of phytoestrogens prevents its use during pregnancy.
2. American ginseng
Belonging to the same genus of Asian ginseng, the roots of Panax quinquefolius or American ginseng has similar medicinal properties, and is used in the same way as Asian herb. The active agents or ginsenosides in American ginseng are similar to those contained in Asian ginseng, so they can be used interchangeably for all medicinal purposes. American ginseng extract: Cold cold is a remedy for the popular cold, thanks to its immune boosting action, but now it is under scanner.
Although the Native American Indians have been using the herb in their medicinal preparations, it came to be prized as an important medicinal herb due to the great demand in the United States.th Century of the Chinese, who paid generously for the collected root of nature. In fact, it has become quite rare in many of its native states due to overexploitation, and is now listed as an endangered plant there. However, it is now widely grown in many parts of America and Canada.
3. Eleuthero or Siberian ginseng
Siberian Ginseng or Eleutherococcus senticosus is a plant of the same family Araliaceae of Asian and American ginsengs, but it is not considered a true ginseng since it does not belong to the genus Panax. The habit of the plant is also different, being Eleuthero a thorny shrub with woody roots.
Siberian ginseng is actually a native of northeastern Asia, but it probably got its name because of its popularity in traditional Russian herbal medicine. Chinese medicine also makes extensive use of this herb. The active ingredients in this herb are eleutherosides, not ginsenosides. Therefore, they can have a completely different action and effect on the body, so it is not legal to project it as ginseng.
Eleuthero is used to treat various problems, such as joint pain, muscle spasms, mild depression, insomnia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Not only does it improve concentration and increase the power of memory, it also improves mental and physical well-being in general.
4. Ashwagandha – Indian ginseng
Ashwagandhaor Withania somnifera, is a medicinal plant widely used in the ancient flow of Ayurvedic medicine of India. Although it is commonly known as Indian ginseng due to its adaptogenic properties, it has no relationship with ginseng. However, it has many beneficial effects similar to ginseng. In fact, Ashwagandha is generally considered a longevity and aphrodisiac drug, often prescribed by Ayurvedic practitioners to treat the impotence and decline associated with aging.
The Sanskrit name of the plant "Ashwagandha" literally means "horse smell" and comes from the distinctive odor of musk from the aerial parts of the plant, but it is the root that is used mainly in medicinal preparations.
Ashwagandha is used to treat insomnia, which is very evident by its scientific name "somnifera" which means "induce the dream". It is known to regulate blood pressure and balance state of mind. The herb is also used to improve health and vitality in general, and to relieve anxiety, chronic fatigue and many other debilitating conditions.
5. Maca Root – Peruvian Ginseng
The root of Maca that resembles a turnip is an adaptogen of the highlands of Peru, as indicated by the common name. However, it is not related to ginseng. Plant Lepidium meyenii is a biennial herb that belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables to which also belong the turnips, the mustard and the cabbage.
It is believed that the effect of increased energy of the roots of maca is the reason for the courage and strength of the Inca warriors who consumed it in large quantities during the conquests. It is believed that his sexual appetite has also increased.
Maca root, highly nutritious, has been a staple of Andean cuisine, probably for thousands of years, so the herb could be one of the safest. It is usually roasted or boiled before consumption and is made in several dishes. The flour is used to make bread and pancakes. The leaves are also eaten as vegetables.
Maca root It is usually available in powder form and is widely used by athletes to increase endurance. Provides stress relief and improves mood. The plant hormones in the maca root help to alleviate the feminine problems like the premenstrual syndrome and the problems associated with the menopause.
6. Arctic Root – Rhodiola rosea
A perennial herb of the Arctic regions, Rhodiola rosea supposedly gets its name from the rose smell of its roots. The aerial parts of the plant are eaten in salads, but it is the thick and fleshy root that has medicinal importance.
As an adaptogen, Rhodiola has the backing of several hundred years of use by Russians and Scandinavians who used it to survive the harsh conditions of the Arctic region. He also has a place in Chinese medicine, which he recommends to overcome altitude sickness. The herb, usually available as a dry root or as a Rhodiola extract, can be used to relieve stress because it has a balancing effect on the stress hormone cortisol. It also improves the heart and brain function.
7. Berries of 5 flavors – Schisandra chinensis
This is a woody vine native to northern China, which contains clusters of bright red berries that are said to have sweet, salty, spicy, sour and bitter flavors combined. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve health and resistance, and to treat various inflammatory diseases and conditions.
It has been shown that Schisandra has a protective effect against stress in various conditions, from heat stroke to freezing and from irradiation to heavy metal poisoning. It has beneficial actions on the cardiovascular, respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. The Chinese consume a wine made from berries as a tonic for general health and the Japanese use it to prevent seasickness.
8. Tree of life. Moringa oleifera
Commonly called horseradish tree and drumsticks, this tree is grown mainly for its nutritious leaves and tasty pods cooked as vegetables by the natives of Asia and Africa. All parts of the tree, from the roots to the bark, have well-known medicinal uses. Ben oil extracted from Moringa The seeds have many unique properties, including cell rejuvenation. This expensive oil is an ingredient in many high quality anti-aging products. However, dried and powdered leaves are more popularly used as an adaptogenic herb.
Moringa leaves are used to treat high blood pressure, improve digestion, regulate blood sugar and reduce inflammation. It is considered a tonic for the thyroid and liver. The leaves, which are frequently used in curry, are not only safe for all ages, but are also recommended for nursing mothers because of their property to improve milk production. It is often given to children to get rid of intestinal worms.
What it does Moringa An adaptogen is its ability to reduce stress and to equip people to face physical and mental challenges. Regular consumption has been associated with greater energy and resistance, restful sleep and resistance to diseases.
9. The pea Astragalus spp.
More than one species of this low-growing legume plant has excellent health benefits, but Membranous astragalus It seems to be the most popular. The multiple action of this herb includes stimulating the immune system, regulating blood sugar and blood pressure, and improving the function of the heart and circulatory system. It also has a beneficial effect on the respiratory system, so it is commonly used to treat asthma and upper respiratory infections.
When used as a dietary supplement, it has been found that astragalus root extract has an excellent antioxidant action. In cytological studies, an active component of the herb called cycloastragenol has shown the activation of telomerase in immune cells, which results in an anti-aging effect. This has generated a wide interest in this herb among the scientific community.
10. Licorice Root
Dry root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, An herbaceous plant of the bean family is liquorice or licorice that is used as a sweetener and flavoring agent, and also as a medicine. The common use of licorice flavor in sweets, which do not actually contain licorice, may have reduced its importance as a healing herb, but it has a long history of use for specific problems, as well as a cure for all.
The Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun (King Tut) even buried him with his body for use after life. The Greek doctor Dioscorides, author of the From Materia Medica the medicinal plants caused that the army of Great Alexander chewed the roots of licorice to give them resistance and resistance during its long military expeditions to distant countries.
The herb is native to parts of Europe and Asia, but several ancient cultures around the world have included it in their systems of traditional medicine. The fact that the roots are often given to petty young children to pacify them and provide relief for several common childhood problems, from a sore throat to stomach problems, shows that it is considered safe for everyone, although it should be Educate yourself about the side effects, warnings and interactions here. It is now recommended for liver diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome and autoimmune conditions such as lupus and osteoarthritis.
How do adaptogens work?
The exact mechanism of functioning of the adaptogenic herbs has not yet been fully understood, but they could be causing beneficial changes through their action on the thyroid, the thymus and the adrenal glands, and by modulating our immune system and neuromuscular pathways. .
Many practitioners of modern medicine and people firmly rooted in Western medicine (or allopathy) often question the efficacy of herbal medicine. But anyone who has experienced gastric relief by drinking a mint tea or a mental alertness after a cup of strong coffee should have no trouble recognizing the potential of herbal preparations. In fact, a large number of allopathic drugs, including common analgesic aspirin and L-dopa used to treat Parkinson's disease, were originally derived from plants.
The main differences between herbal preparations and drug molecules isolated from them are their mode of action and potency.
The individual drug molecules have a precise and well-defined action. But they produce severe effects and often damage the body while treating a specific disease. That's because they lack the support of other natural substances present in the same herb, which were meant to polish their rough edges.
Always use herbs with caution
The herbs have a generalized and holistic action, thanks to the different active molecules present in them. They work synergistically, moderating the effect of others. That does not mean that medicinal herbs are devoid of side effects. They are very powerful and people react differently to them due to differences in the constitution of their body. You should only take them according to the dosage prescribed by qualified herbalists.
Adaptogens are generally recognized as safe with thousands of years of use that recognize their safety and effectiveness. However, young children, pregnant and lactating women, and those taking medications for specific conditions should avoid taking any herbal medicine, including adaptogens, without talking to your doctor or certified health professionals. herbal medicine.
Reference: https://www.naturallivingideas.com/10-adaptogenic-herbs-for-stress-relief/, by Susan Patterson
You May Also Like: