ADAPTOGENS - HERBS FOR RADIANT HEALTH, STRESS RELIEF AND LONGEVITY
“The essence of all beings is Earth. The essence of Earth is Water. The essence of Water is Plants. The essence of Plants is the Human Being.” Swahananda
Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt to stress, whether physical, chemical, biological, emotional or environmental. They support the normal metabolic processes of the body and help to restore balance.
In order to meet the criteria as defined by the word adaptogen a substance must be non-toxic, produce a nonspecific response in the body which boosts the ability to resist multiple stressors, and exert a normalizing influence on physiology.
Adaptogens strengthen the immune, nervous and glandular system, increase metabolic efficiency and reduce susceptibility to illness and disease.
Adaptogens have a broad influence on the entire body. They are exceedingly effective tonics that can be taken daily and safely used over a long time. Many of these substances have a history of use that extends for hundreds and thousands of years and a huge body of experience has been accumulated and recorded regarding their therapeutic application.
All adaptogens modulate and/or enhance the immune system and have the ability to reverse the decline of immune system function due to age or the immunosuppression caused by stress. They all provide antioxidant nutrients and have been proven to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Adaptogens have the unique ability to normalize body functions and balance body systems. This ability to promote homeostasis is one of the most important qualities of adaptogens.
In cases of hypoactivity (deficient/low functioning) a number of adaptogens will strengthen and increase function. If there is hyperactivity (excessive functioning) these same immune modulating adaptogens gently reduce and normalize functioning. This is due to their amphoteric effect.
ACTIONS OF ADAPTOGENS – Adaptogens enhance health and well being in general and create a positive effect on both the body and the mind. They work at the cellular level, ensuring that the cells have access to adaptive energy, protect energy resources from depletion and work as excellent tonics in states of fatigue and stress.
Adaptogens stimulate the mitochondria, parts of our cells that produce energy and this mitochondrial energy production is necessary for physical strength and vitality.
Some adaptogens support liver function thereby ensuring the removal of toxins and the enhancement of health and well being. They slow the biological aging process by reducing the impact of physiological factors such as oxidation and stress.
BODY, MIND & CONSCIOUSNESS – Our health and well being can be defined as a state of balance between the body, mind and spirit. In fact, many traditional systems of medicine define it this way. The body is a natural system, and as all natural systems do, it self corrects and is constantly striving for organization, healing and balance.
As human beings we are physically, emotionally mentally and spiritually very complex. Each of us is a completely unique individual and it is the individual, not their dysfunction or disease, we aim to address.
Disease can be understood as the result of physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental and social imbalance. When all of these aspects of life are taken into account and brought into balance, healing takes place naturally.
Adaptogens play a major role in emotional, spiritual and physical health because of their ability to regulate and balance the complex connections between the brain and nervous system, the endocrine system and the immune system.
Research has demonstrated that meditation and prayer changes brain chemistry, affects body chemicals such as neuropeptides and hormones and therefore can help reduce stress.
In addition, positive social interactions have also been shown to help prevent infection and it is a proven fact that our moods affect our immune system. Prayer, ceremony, ritual, meditation and positive social support are all valuable additions to the use of adaptogenic herbs and will enhance their benefits.
Additionally, changes in diet, physical exercise, stress reduction techniques, as well as acupuncture, massage, yoga and deep breathing exercises all help to stimulate the body, mind and consciousness and their innate healing forces.
Adaptogenic herbs offering SPIRITUAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS include American ginseng, licorice and reishi.
ADAPTOGENS AND STRESS RELIEF – Stress causes changes in hormone levels, effects the immune system and our cardiac and gastrointestinal function. The consequences of acute and chronic stress can persist long after the initial stressful event has ended and its physiological and psychological effects are predictable. Stress can be defined as any agent or event that threatens the body’s normal homeostasis.
When under extreme stress women cease to produce reproductive hormones and begin to store fat. Men halt sperm production and stop producing hair.
When we are under stress we are using much more of our energy resources. Our energy supply can be depleted because nutrients are being converted to energy that is needed to counter the effects of stress. This can easily cause us to become fatigued and if prolonged can lead to a host of health problems. Another effect of stress is the creation of free radicals. If the concentration of free radicals exceeds the body’s ability to neutralize them, our cells can be harmed, especially the mitochondria, our cell’s energy production source.
Adaptogens help the body achieve an adaptive response and increase our ability to cope more effectively with stress. They modify the body’s reaction to stress and alter the release of stress hormones.
STRESS RELIEF – Between 75-90% of visits to a physician are due to stress-related concerns. Acute and chronic stress contributes greatly to disease and hastens the aging process. Adaptogens can be thought of as anti-stress aids.
Adaptogens offering specific anti-stress properties include American ginseng, Astragalus, eleuthero, licorice, reishi, schizandra.
These adaptogens specifically modulate levels of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol and provide specific adrenal support – American ginseng, eleuthero, licorice, reishi, schisandra.
HEART disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. with stroke coming in third. Adaptogens with specific cardioprotective abilities include – American ginseng, Astragalus, Eleuthero, Reishi, Schisandra.
Several nootropics and nervines also have cardioprotective and cardiotonic effects. My favorites are hawthorn, rosemary, and motherwort.
IMMUNITY - Normal functioning of our immune system is critical to our over-all health and vitality and a healthy immune system is an expression of homeostasis. Research has demonstrated that the brain is the dominant player in control of the immune system and that the cells of our immune system communicate with each other. They also interact with nerve cells, creating an intimate connection between the immune and nervous systems. The neuroendocrine system works with the immune system, communicating via neurotransmitters, substances that send signals between nerve cells and also uses hormones traveling through body tissues and the bloodstream. All these substances interact to maintain homeostasis whether we are under acute or chronic stress.
Adaptogens exert a profound affect on the immune system and greatly assist the body in countering the affects of chronic stress. They improve the body’s natural defenses by providing increased immunity thereby increasing our resistance to pathogens and infection. They also exert a direct influence on the nervous system thereby enhancing the body-mind connection.
Most adaptogens have immunomodulating or immunostimulating properties. It is important to understand the difference between these two actions.
Immunomodulators, are also referred to as immune amphoterics, and these herbs possess the ability to modulate, regulate and normalize immune function.
IMMUNOMODULATORS include American ginseng, eleuthero, licorice, holy basil and reishi.
Immunostimulants boost the activity of the immune system but do not have the ability to normalize an excessive immune response.
Schisandra is an immunostimulant.
Spiritual – lack of meaning in one’s life and soul sickness.
Psychological – anger, fear, depression, worry, anxiety, grief, loss, desire, major life changes, mental illness, mental trauma and overwhelming responsibility.
Nutritional – food allergies, refined and/or processed foods, nutritional deficiencies, alcohol and drugs, mineral depleted foods and free radicals.
Biological – exposure to bacteria, molds, viruses and parasites.
Physical – high blood pressure, surgery, trauma, severe illness, infection, strenuous exercise, lack of oxygen, intoxication and drug use, sleep deprivation, chronic overstimulation, pregnancy and having a new baby.
Chemical – exposure to toxins, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, heavy metals, fumes, dust, smoke, tobacco, household and industrial chemical and synthetic drugs.
Environmental – exposure to extreme heat or cold, noise, changes in barometric pressure and/or altitude, ultraviolet light, allergens, xenoestrogens, electromagnetic influence of microwaves, high voltage electric lines and radio waves, and radiation.
Adaptogenic herbs that are listed on our website as simple extracts include American ginseng roots, Astragalus roots, Holy basil, Eluthero roots, Licorice roots, Reishi mushrooms, Rhodiola, Schizandra berries and Baltic amber. You'll find them here:
You'll find our Adaptogen Blend Formulas below:
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