Posts Tagged ‘adaptogenic herbs’

Adaptogenic may or may not be a word you are familiar with. It is used when it comes to healing herbs. Adaptogenic herbs (or adaptogens as they are sometimes referred to) improve the body’s ability to resist a number of different stressors that it comes in contact with. These stressors can be physical or emotional in nature. They can also be biological or environmental.

The Russian scientist, Dr. Nikolai Lazarev coined the term “adaptogenic” in the year 1947, although the knowledge of such dates backs thousands of years and can be traced to China and ancient India. Dr. Lazarev described an adaptogenic herb in this way. He defined it as “An agent that allows the body to counter adverse physical, chemical or biological stressors by raising nonspecific resistance toward such stress, thus allowing the organism to ‘adapt’ to the stressful circumstances.”

An adaptogenic herb is a natural herb that can adapt to whatever circumstances it encounters. That makes it very useful for the human body and its many systems.

Adaptogens are particularly beneficial at coping with anxiety and extreme fatigue. Be aware that adaptogens are rich in antioxidants but antioxidants are not adaptogenic herbs per se. In other words the main function of an adaptogen is not to work as an antioxidant. Adaptogens are sometimes called rejuvenating herbs, restoratives or other lesser known terms such as qi tonics and rasayanas.

Adaptogens are in a class that is all uniquely their own. There is a good reason for this. They are unlike any other kind of substance known to humans. They are different because they can perform many functions all at once. They are able to strengthen the immune system as well as balance it with the endocrine hormones. They also help to keep the homeostasis of the body at the optimal level it is supposed to be at.

Adaptogenic herbs are not as commonly known to the general public because their main use is in either Ayurveda medicine or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

They are generally broken down into three categories. There are Ayurveda herbs, Chinese herbs and Western herbs. The number one adaptogenic herb that all others are measured against is red ginseng which comes from Asia. This type of ginseng is referred to as Chinese ginseng, Japanese ginseng or Korean ginseng. Siberian ginseng and white American ginseng would fit here as well.

There are a variety of foods that are thought of as adaptogenic whole food supplements or adaptogenic functional foods. These help to encourage the level of adaptability to be strong in the body. Examples of these food supplements include aloe vera, maitake mushrooms and noni. These foods are special because they contain a variety of nutrients which the body recognizes as beneficial substances. The body is then well equipped to absorb the adaptogen and by so doing to provide a steady stream of nutrients. This gives rise to a well-functioning and strong immune system as well as a system that is well balanced.

A healthy immune system can make for a healthier and happier person all 12 months of the year!


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