Adaptogenic herbs are a non-toxic alternative to prescription or over-the-counter drugs that can work just as effectively. These adaptogens are used to reduce stress, whether it is physiological, psychological, or environmental. The fact of the matter is that stress, while not an illness, can take an exhausting toll on the mind, body, and soul. Poor eating habits, lack of sleep, environmental chemicals, and familial problems are all causative factors that can trigger a bout of a true stress response. Heart racing, heavy chest, rapid breathing…these are the symptoms and we’ve all felt them. Stress can be somewhat debilitating, weaken the immune system, throw the body into an unnerving imbalance, and cause actual illnesses that could otherwise have been prevented. Combating this stress in a more natural way than prescribed medications and invading the body with chemicals is an ideal solution.
How Adaptogens Work
Adaptogenic herbs are substances whose desired effect is nonspecific to allow the body to resist environmental, biological, psychological, and emotional stressors in a general manner. The best way to fight stress is to balance it with hormones in the body that can deter it from taking over. Most of these herbs, as an added bonus, increase overall well-being and balance the endocrine (hormone) and immune systems. They can work both ways by decreasing sensitivity of hyperactive systems, and increasing sensitivity of hypoactive ones. The adaptogens’ work on the adrenal gland is the core of what resists stress because this gland is responsible for producing the primary stress and emotional responses. The adrenal gland creates and stores dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, which are the compounds responsible for these reactions.
Adaptogens have the following beneficial effects on the human body:
- Relieve stress and anxiety
- Improve immune system functionality
- Reduce recovery time
- Increase strength and improve muscle tone
- Elevate moods
- Help concentration and focus
- Improve overall feelings of well-being
- Eliminate organ system imbalances
- Enhance physical performance
- Increase energy
- Increase stamina
- Allow for deeper, more restful sleeping
A List for the Eager Beginner
Many adaptogenic herbs were, and still are, used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Here is a list of popular adaptogenic herbs with which to get started.
- Ginseng, Chinese/Korean (Panax Ginseng): stimulating and warming.
- Astragalus: immune-stimulating and helpful with cardiac problems.
- Ashwagandha: helps relax and calm down a hyperactive individual.
- Amla: promotes longevity, helps with digestion, reduces fever and constipation, and strengthens the heart.
- Guduchi: protects the liver.
- Chaga Mushroom: remedy for cancers and tuberculosis.
- Eleuthero: serves as an anti-inflammatory agent, antioxidant, and immune system booster.
- Holy Basil: remedy for many simplistic things, including the common cold, headaches, stomach problems, poisoning, and also more serious conditions, such as malaria and heart conditions.
- Rhodiola: improve mood and alleviate depression.
- Shatavari: suitable for overall health and livelihood in women.
- Schisandra: helps the liver function and reduces effects of stress and fatigue.
- Jiaogulan: anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activity; regulatory effects on many organ systems.
- Noni: provides many nutrients, vitamins, and minerals;
- Cordyceps: energy booster.
- Suma: contains many essential vitamins and minerals.
- Shilajit: improves and relieves pain from abdominal disorders.
- Licorice: anti-inflammatory, enhances immune system functioning, and inhibits stress.
- Water Hyssop: has anti-anxiety effects and can be used to treat epilepsy.
- Lycium: often used to treat sore eyes and inflammation.
- He Shou Wu: treats fragile bones and protects the skin and hair from aging too quickly.
- Maral Root: can be used for fatigue, impotence, and to support recovery from a long illness.
on Nov 4th, 2010 and filed under Alternative Medicine
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