Adaptogenic herbs are a unique class of medicinal plants that enhance the body’s ability to resist stress. Adaptogens work by acting as a tonic to normalize the body’s functions, avoiding either over-stimulation or inhibition. Here is a short list of some of the most popular of these herbs.
- Schizandra (Schisandra chinesis) is used to promote the health of the liver in addition to its adaptogenic properties. The herb is used to create a tonic that can help to alleviate stress and fatigue. It may also help to improve mental and physical functioning as well as helping with insomnia and neurasthenia.
- Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) is also known as Siberian ginseng. This is a common ingredient found in Chinese herbal medicine for fatigue, insomnia, joint pain and muscle spasms. In addition, it may also help improve memory, treat cases of mild depression and create a feeling of well-being.
- Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) is a mushroom traditionally used to promote longevity. It contains polysaccharides, active compounds that help boost the immune system, as well as triterpenes, which may help to alleviate hypertension as well as relieve allergy symptoms.
- Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) is a parasitic mushroom that is noted for having the highest concentration of antioxidants among the different ‘superfoods’. It is primarily used to help fight cancer by preventing cell damage caused by free radicals. In addition, it also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as possibly being useful in treating HIV.
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is also known as Indian ginseng. This is one of the adaptogenic herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine. Among others, it has been used as a sedative, a tonic, an astringent and a nervine. In addition, recent studies have shown that the herb may have immuno-modulating properties as well as helping alleviate psychological conditions like anxiety.
- Jiaogulan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum) is a gourd that is indigenous to Asian countries such as southern China, India, Japan and Korea. It is rich in saponins, a phytochemical that has many health benefits, including helping lower cholesterol and reducing the risk of cancer. Jiaogulan has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties and may help lower blood pressure.
- Shilajit is an herb that is used in Ayurvedic medicine to help boost the immune system and treat asthma and allergic symptoms. In addition, it also has anti-oxidant properties in addition to helping relieve stress.
- Astragalus (Astralagus spp) has traditionally been used as a tonic to help strengthen weak patients since it tonifies the spleen and the blood. In addition, studies have shown that it can help to strengthen the immune system by promoting increased T-cell activity as well as enhancing the activity of microphages in patients with weakened immunity.
- Yohimbine is an active ingredient derived from the bark of the yohimbe tree. It is used to treat sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction and low sexual drive, as well as for conditions such as high blood pressure and exhaustion. In addition, yohimbine is one of the adaptogenic herbs some people use to improve athletic performance.