What would you say if someone told you there was a class of plants and herbs that could reduce emotional stress, improve mental resilience, and balance your temperament?
You’d probably be skeptical, to say the least.
But, don’t give in to your cynicism just yet, because research shows adaptogens can do all of those things and more.1
As the name would suggest, adaptogens can adapt to fill the body’s needs. By nourishing the adrenal glands, these miraculous herbs can assist in regulating insulin levels, lowering blood pressure, and bolstering the immune system.
In essence, adaptogens help us maintain homeostasis – the body’s internal balance mechanism – and act as a thermostat for our bodies.
Be the Secret to Good Health?
Though adaptogens are a relatively new concept for most Americans, they were fueling our space race rivals more than fifty years ago. In the 1960s, Soviet pharmacologists were eager to find affordable and widely available botanicals that could aid performance in athletes and military personnel. Their research found adaptogens to be just what they were looking for.
Ben Tabachnik, a doctor working with the Soviet Olympic team, recalls how the discovery of the herbs came about.2 He wanted to find out “how [athletes, soldiers, and astronauts] could be productive and effective under stress? The search for adaptogens was a search to find natural remedies that help us to perform under severe stress.”
Early researchers found that Chinese medicine had already identified a number of important adaptogens. Among those were eleutherococcus senticosus roots, schisandra chinensis seeds, panax quinquefolium, and withania somnifera root.
These herbal remedies soon proved a less harmful alternative to anabolic steroids. Soviet doctors found that they enhanced adrenal function, stimulated anabolic metabolism, and increased ATP generation. Importantly, they also improved immune system function by improving cellular immunity.
Dr. Tabachnik has since been recognized as a leader in the field of herbal medicine. Since immigrating to the United States in 1990, he has worked as a sports medicine consultant for the Denver Broncos, Detroit Pistons, and Chicago Bulls.
Health Armor for the Modern World
Today, adaptogens are just as effective as Soviet research initially found. Though you may not be a cosmonaut, Olympic athlete, or super soldier, chances are you still have significant stressors in your life. And while they might not be space stations, packed stadiums, or battlefields, they probably still cause you problems like insomnia, fatigue, or sickness.
That’s why, for anyone, adaptogens could be the answer.
What’s more, these herbs can help regulate and negate the effect of the chemicals we’re exposed to on a daily basis. With so many unknown substances in food, household cleaning goods, and even polluted air, it’s more important than ever to protect your immune system.
If you’re still not sold on adaptogens, this comprehensive list of benefits will surely change your mind. Adaptogens have been shown to:3
Reduce Stress. Stress can make it difficult to think clearly. In extreme instances, it can actually inhibit memory. That’s why people tend to make poor decisions under mental duress. When adaptogens reduce cortisol levels, they alleviate anxiety and allow your brain to return to its normal functionality.
Improve athletic performance. By aiding in cardiovascular function and reducing fatigue, adaptogens can play a major role in your gym routine. Olympic athletes often use rhodiola, eleuthero, and cordyceps, all of which are legal for competition. Without the harmful side effects of steroids, they provide a helpful boost to reach your fitness goals.
Protect cardiovascular health. In helping regulate blood pressure and balance cholesterol, adaptogens can save your heart from unnecessary stress. Not to mention, when you’re more relaxed, it’s easy to keep your blood pressure in check!
Increase energy. Much like stimulants like caffeine, adaptogens boost your energy level. There’s an important difference in how each of them work though. Stimulants cause your body to draw on existing energy reserves, leading to a crash once they are depleted. Adaptogens increase the body’s reserves, meaning longer lasting stamina and no crash.
Normalize immune function. The plant-based remedy has also been shown to bolster the immune system in fighting infections and allergies. In China, adaptogens are given to boost the immune function of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Boost reproductive hormones. In both men and women, adaptogens are believed to enhance sexual desire and fertility. Some men have even reported improved sexual performance. In women, the herbs have been shown to relieve PMS and other menstrual irregularities.
Can you benefit from using adaptogens? Research says absolutely.