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Adaptogenic Herbs: What Do They Do & Why Are They Good for You?

October 16, 2022

Known as nature’s stress relief, adaptogens are herbal pharmaceuticals that are thought to counteract the effects of stress on the body. Manufacturers sold them in various forms such as supplements, teas, powder, tinctures and capsules.

For the record, they do have proven benefits. In this blog, we will tackle all of their perks and how they work in your body.


What are adaptogens?


So let’s start with the basics. Oxford Languages defines an adaptogen as “a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.”

Adaptogens have been used for decades in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda but only recently gained popularity in the rest of the world. Today, they are manufactured all over the globe.


How do they work?


Well, they are not called adaptogens for no reason. They help your body adapt to environmental stressors.

At a molecular level, adaptogens function by keeping a stable balance in the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands. They work by manipulating the body’s reaction to stress, improving our resistance to stressors. They also have an impact on DNA synthesis, resulting in the production of proteins the body employs to fight the negative consequences of stress.

Oh, and they also prevent fatigue, fight depression, improve focus, and increase your mental work capacity. Promising, right?


A list of adaptogenic herbs and what they can do for you


There are three main adaptogenic herbs proven to be both safe and nontoxic: Rhodiola Rosea (Arctic root), Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng), and Schisandra Chinensis.


  • Rhodiola Rosea (Arctic root)– includes more than 140 active components, with rosavin and salidroside being the two most potent. They are known to improve symptoms of burnout, help with fatigue and improve exercise performance and brain function.


  • Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng)– contains the active ingredient called eleutherosides. They are used to boost vitality, promote emotional health, and keep colds and flu at bay.


  • Schisandra Chinensis– contains Lignans (schizandrin, deoxyschizandrin, gomisin) triterpenes and volatile oils as its main bioactive components. They are known to protect the liver and the nervous system. Other animal research indicates that they might also enhance both physical and mental functioning.


Adaptogens include at least 70 different varieties of medicinal plants. Aside from the three mentioned, Ashwagandha, holy basil, and astragalus are also well-known adaptogens notorious for stress relief.


While the promise to help you adapt to stress is promising, more study is still needed. Before trying an adaptogen product or any new supplement, talk to your doctor for professional guidance and advice. You can also read our blog on how to reduce stress for further knowledge.


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