This Article was Originally Published in Chiropractic Economics in May, 2011. I wrote it as a brief introduction to four of the most well-known adaptogens and one herb with adaptogen-like properties. As always, feel free to leave any questions and I will do my best to answer. Stay Healthy,
Adaptogens can be likened to a network support system similar to your best friend or family member who is always there for you. Adaptogens buffer the effects of stress and increase your tolerance and energy levels, while reducing free radicals.
Free radicals are metabolic toxins that can hasten the aging process. Those taking adaptogens may find their anxiety level dropping, their cravings for sweets and caffeine reducing, and see positive changes in their sleeping patterns. Richard Brown, MD, author of The Rhodiola Revolution,1 notes that his patients overcame fatigue, had sharper memory and improved sexual performance, and eased depression by taking adaptogens.
Among the well-known adaptogens are Rhodiola rosea, Withania somnifera (also called Ashwaganda), Schizandra chinensis, Acanthopanax senticosus and an herb that has similar qualities to an adaptogen, Andrographis paniculata.
Withania somnifera, in doses of 200 mg with 1.5 percent withanolides, has shown positive effects in reducing anxiety, promoting sleep, and easing inflammation of muscles.
Fried foods and preservatives, alcohol, excess belly fat, pesticides, and herbicides combine to put a great deal of stress on the liver. Schizandra chinensis, in doses of 100 mg with 0.8 percent schizandrins, helps the body absorb phosphorous, fights free radicals, and cleanses the liver. This is useful because the liver breaks down fats, filters toxins from the blood, and repairs blood cells.
Acanthopanax senticosus, in doses of 100 mg with 1.3 percent eleutherosides, is a shrub found in the Far East and when used with Schizandra relieves stress and builds endurance.
Andrographis paniculata has adaptogen-like qualities. It too is non-toxic and fast acting. Clinical studies show that this herb with 300 mg and 4 percent andrographolides assists the immune system and it can be used to treat cold and flu symptoms, and provide sinus and allergy relief.2-3
When the body and mind are under stress or strain, cells use more energy than normal and this is referred to as “short-term adjustment.” If the stress or strain continues, the cells have to adapt and work at higher levels. It is believed that adaptogenic substances increase the capacity of cells to manufacture energy resources and use them more economically during longer periods of high demand.
Adaptogens have been called the “key to well being,”4 as they shield the body against the ravages of time, stress, and disease. Adaptogens release the body’s own innate resources of energy, vitality, and strength. They help the mind and body help themselves.
1 Brown RP, Gerbarg PL. The Rhodiola Revolution. Emmaus, PA. Rodale Publishing; 2004.
2 Cáceres DD, Hancke JL, Burgos RA, et al. Use of visual analogue scale measurements (VAS) to assess the effectiveness of standardized Andrographis paniculata extract SHA-10 in reducing the symptoms of common cold. A randomized double blind-placebo study. Phytomedicine. 1999 Oct;6(4):217-23.
3 Poolsup N, Suthisisang C, Prathanturarug S, et al. Andrographis paniculata in the symptomatic treatment of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2004 Feb;29(1):37-45.
4 Wahlstrom M. Adaptogens: Nature’s Key to Well-Being. Goteborg; Skandinavisk Bok, 1987.
Richard DeSoto is the founder and president of Kare-N-Herbs, the US leader in herbal adaptogens, with Kold Kare, Energy Kare, Kare-N-Liver, and Tranquility Kare. He is also the host and producer of The Health Seminar radio program. His philosophy is, “we were put here to help each other.”
Information on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. HerbalSource is not a substitute for a doctor, so always consult your doctor for issues regarding your health and lifestyle.