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Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief

  • SALAM Research
Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief
By David Winston and Steven Maimes
Acknowledgments 00
Introduction 00
Part One: Herbal Adaptogens
1 Herbal Medicine around the World 00
2 Adaptogens: An Overview 00
3 History of Adaptogens 00
4 Actions of Adaptogens 00
5 Adaptogens and the Stress Response 00
6 Health Benefits of Adaptogens 00
Part Two: Materia Medica
7 Monographs on Adaptogens 00
American Ginseng • Amla • Ashwagandha • Asian Ginseng
Astragalus • Cordyceps • Dang Shen • Eleuthero
Guduchi • He Shou Wu • Holy Basil • Jiaogulan
Licorice • Lycium • Prince Seng • Reishi • Rhaponticum
Rhodiola • Schisandra • Shatavari • Shilajit
8 Nervines: Complementary Herbs for Adaptogens 00
Blue Vervain • Chamomile • Fresh Milky Oat • Hawthorn
• Lemon Balm • Linden • Mimosa • Motherwort
• Passionflower • Skullcap • St. John’s Wort
9 Nootropics: Complementary Herbs for Adaptogens 00
Bacopa • Bhringaraj • Ginkgo • Gotu Kola • Lavender
Rosemary • White Peony • Yuan Zhi
Part Three: Herbal Adaptogens in Use
10 Clinical Use of Adaptogens 00
11 Adaptogenic Herbs in Combination 00
12 Adaptogens as Food 00
13 Adaptogens for Animals 00
Resources 00
Glossary 00
Bibliography 00
Index 00
Health Benefits
of Adaptogens
“For every human illness, somewhere in the world there
exists a plant which is the cure.”
Rudolf Steiner
When compiling research on the health benefits of adaptogens, the
amount of data is almost overwhelming. This is due to the large number
of studies and the fact that adaptogens have such a broad influence on
the entire body.
The reality of adaptogens is that they are effective tonics and can be
taken daily for overall health. In fact, throughout the world millions of
people are using these products on a daily basis.
Many of the adaptogens that are commonly used today have a his-
tory of use that goes back hundreds and thousands of years. Over that
time, a vast amount of experience has been gained that has gone toward
understanding their therapeutic applications.
Adaptogens can greatly increase the effectiveness of some modern
drugs, including antibiotics, anxiolytics (anxiety relief), antidepressants,
and hypoglycemic agents. They also can reduce, and in some cases
eliminate, the side effects of some drugs. They have a proven record of
being safe, efficacious, and quite versatile in their treatment of many
4 Herbal Adaptogens
This chapter will provide information about specific adaptogens that
can be used for many conditions, including aging, cancer, elevated cho-
lesterol levels, decreased immune-system function, fatigue, stress, and
weight management. The disorders have been arranged alphabetically to
assist readers in locating the conditions that most interest them.
The adrenal glands mobilize the body’s response to every kind of stress.
Adrenal fatigue is caused by adrenal insufficiency that occurs when the
glands cannot adequately meet the demands of chronic stress.
In adrenal fatigue the adrenal glands function, but not enough to
maintain normal, healthy homeostasis. Their output of regulatory hor-
mones has been diminished by overstimulation. This overstimulation
can be caused either by a very intense single stress or by chronic or
repeated stresses that have a cumulative effect.
People suffering from adrenal fatigue often have to use coffee, colas,
and other stimulants to get going in the morning and keep themselves
going during the day.
With each increment of reduction in adrenal function, every organ
and system in the body is more profoundly affected. The body does its
best to make up for underfunctioning adrenal glands, but it does so at
a price. Many people who feel fatigued and exhausted eat more to pro-
vide additional energy. Thus, adrenal fatigue also can promote obesity
and its inherent risks.
Adaptogens for Adrenal Fatigue
When a person is under stress, more stress hormones are released and
manufactured. Adaptogens help the adrenal glands respond more effec-
tively and efficiently to the excess in hormones. When stress stops, adap-
togens help the adrenal glands shut down more quickly. Adaptogens
also support adrenal function by allowing cells access to more energy
and preventing oxidative damage.
5 Herbal Adaptogens
= The following adaptogens provide adrenal support: American gin-
seng, ashwagandha, Asian ginseng, cordyceps, dang shen, eleuthero,
holy basil, jiaogulan, licorice, reishi, rhaponticum, rhodiola, and
Adaptogen Notes
American ginseng is an endocrine amphoteric and adaptogen useful
for mild to moderate depletion of the HPA axis and adrenal glands.
Asian ginseng and licorice can be used together for adrenal exhaus-
tion (Addison’s disease) along with conventional therapy.
Arthritis (inflammation of the joints) produces pain, loss of movement,
and sometimes swelling. It is caused by tissue injury or joint disease. The
two most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid
arthritis. Fibromyalgia often is considered an arthritis-related condition,
but it is not a true form of arthritis because it does not cause inflam-
mation or damage to the joints. According to the Arthritis Foundation,
nearly one in three adults has arthritis or chronic joint symptoms, and
arthritis is the leading cause of disability among Americans older than
age 15.
Adaptogens for Arthritis
Adaptogens can help reduce inflammation and as a result reduce the
pain associated with arthritic conditions.
= The anti-inflammatory action of the following adaptogens makes
them useful for relief from arthritis: amla, ashwagandha, Asian gin-
seng, cordyceps, eleuthero, guduchi holy basil, jiaogulan, licorice, rei-
shi, rhodiola, schisandra, and shilajit.
= The following adaptogens are useful for relief from rheumatoid
arthritis (an autoimmune disease): amla, ashwagandha, cordyceps,
guduchi, licorice, and reishi.
6 Herbal Adaptogens
Adaptogen Notes
Amla is used to prevent and treat damage associated with connec-
tive tissue disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
Ashwagandha is used to treat fibromyalgia and autoimmune dis-
eases such as rheumatoid arthritis and polymyoseitis.
Guduchi is used to modulate excessive immune response in auto-
immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. It can also enhance
uric acid excretion and relieve arthritis with accompanying gout.
Holy basil oil is used topically for arthritis.
Many people suffer from insomnia and related sleep problems. Stress
can disrupt the regular circadian (time-related) secretion of cortisol and
can be a major cause of sleep problems. Cortisol normally obeys the
body’s inner clock and responds to light and dark, morning and night.
Cortisol levels are highest in the early morning, lower in the afternoon,
and lowest at night. Cortisol helps to synchronize activity, patterns of
eating, and patterns of sleeping.
Adaptogens for Improved Sleep
Adaptogens regulate the production of cortisol, reducing stress. A
relaxed body allows for better and more rejuvenating sleep.
= The following adaptogens aid the body in sleeping: American gin-
seng, ashwagandha, eleuthero, jiaogulan, rhaponticum, rhodiola, and
= The following adaptogens help relieve the symptoms of jet lag, which is
caused by a disruption of the body’s circadian rhythms: American gin-
seng, Asian ginseng, eleuthero, jiaogulan, rhaponticum, and rhodiola.
Adaptogen Notes
American ginseng helps people with insomnia that is associated
with chronic fatigue syndrome.
7 Herbal Adaptogens
Ashwagandha is a calming adaptogen traditionally used for insom-
nia and nervous conditions.
Eleuthero improves sleep quality and prevents nighttime waking.
Jiaogulan is a calming adaptogen appropriate for anxious or agi-
tated people with unstable hypertension, stress headaches, and
anxiety-induced insomnia.
Rhodiola is used to regulate sleep disorders and improve sleep
Schisandra is reported to relieve insomnia and dream-disrupted
[sample monograph]
Botanical Name: Panax quinquefolius
Family: Araliaceae
Common Names: Sang, seng
Taste/Energy: Sweet, bitter, slightly cool, and moist.
Parts Used: Root and leaf
Location/Cultivation: American ginseng is native to the eastern United
States and Canada, from the Catskill Mountains of New York and
the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, north into Ontario, west
to Iowa, south to Arkansas and Kentucky, and east through the high-
lands of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia.
American Ginseng
8 Herbal Adaptogens
American ginseng requires rich soil with humus and full shade, and
it prefers deciduous woodlands, especially those with tulip poplars.
It takes a minimum of seven years to grow a mature root from the
time of germination. Due to this plant’s endangered status, wild
plants should be left alone, and you should avoid purchasing prod-
ucts labeled “wild American ginseng.” The best American ginseng on
the market is grown organically in the woods.
Safety Rating: ★ ★ ★
Properties: Adaptogen, antioxidant, bitter tonic, mild central nervous
system stimulant, mild demulcent (soothes mucous membranes),
hypoglycemic agent, and immune amphoteric.
Constituents: The active constituents include triterpene saponins such
as the ginsenosides and panaxosides. The bitter taste comes from its
sesquiterpene content.
Daniel Boone, in Kentucky, made his fortune trading ginseng, although
he is remembered as a fur trader. It is reported in a book called Wood-
land Nuggets of Gold that George Washington wrote to Boone, “The
war effort needs money, bring ginseng.” American ginseng helped sup-
port the revolutionary war effort, and the most valuable cargo to leave
New York by ship in that time period was in the Empress of China,
which was carrying American ginseng to the Orient.
The plant is best known for its purported benefits to male libido and
sexual performance and its ability to enhance energy and relieve fatigue.
To this day, it is not uncommon for mountain people in North Carolina
and Tennessee to take fresh ginseng roots and put them in a bottle or cask
of corn liquor to set aside for a while. After steeping for six months or a
year, the ginseng “cordial” is ready for use. It is believed that a shot of this
“mountain medicine” is good for what ails you—every now and then.
Modern Uses
Modern research confirms that the American species of ginseng is an
endocrine amphoteric and adaptogen that is useful for mild to moderate
9 Herbal Adaptogens
depletion of the HPA axis and adrenal glands. People with adrenal insuf-
ficiency often have dark circles under their eyes, are chronically fatigued,
and have elevated cortisol levels. Because American ginseng affects the
HPA axis, it can help correct dysfunction of the immune system, includ-
ing depletion that leads to a person constantly catching colds.
Amphoterics help balance deficient or excessive bodily functions, so
as an immune amphoteric, American ginseng also can be of benefit for
allergies and allergic asthma. It also re-regulates overly stressed nervous
systems, helps deficient insomnia associated with chronic fatigue syn-
drome, and relieves many of the symptoms of jet lag.
The pancreas is also regulated by the HPA axis, and American gin-
seng root also has been shown to help control metabolic syndrome
(hyperinsulinemia) as well as type 2 diabetes.
The reputed “male sexual tonic” effects of American ginseng also
may turn out to be real. For years, many herbalists assumed that any
sexual effect was due to either a placebo effect or to increased energy
caused by using an adaptogenic herb. Recent studies found that the
related Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) enhanced erections and sexual
performance. It is not too much of a stretch to conclude that the Ameri-
can species, especially with its history of use as a sexual tonic, could
share this effect as well.
The Eclectic physicians used this root as a simple digestive bitter.
Although it has a multitude of other uses it is, in fact, a useful medicine
to enhance digestion and absorption. Chewing on a small bit of the root
can help stimulate the production of stomach acid and other digestive
juices, making it useful for achlorhydria (lack of stomach acid), borbo-
rygmus (intestinal rumbling), and impaired absorption.
Other Uses
Many years ago, when I was a young man, I noticed that my Cherokee
uncle often would put a pinch of the dried leaf of American ginseng in
almost every herbal formula he gave to people he was doctoring. One
day I asked him why he did this. His response was that ginseng (the leaf
or root) made everything work better.
10 Herbal Adaptogens
Research has shown that adaptogens do just that. Through re-
regulation of the endocrine, immune, and nervous systems, they—in
simple terms—“make everything work better.” Phytochemical studies
have revealed that the leaves of plants in the Panax genus actually con-
tain more of the ginsenosides (the plants’ active constituents) than do the
roots. Many ancient traditions, when examined by science, are found to
have more than a seed of truth.
Dosage and Safety
Tincture (1:5): 30 percent alcohol, 3–5 ml (60–100 drops), three times
per day.
Decoction: Take 1–2 tsp. dried cut/sifted root to 12 oz. water. Gently
simmer for 1/2 hour, steep an additional 1/2 hour. Take 4 oz. three
times per day.
Capsule: Two capsules, twice per day.
Safety Issues: None likely.
Herb/Drug Interactions: In a recent human trial, high doses of American
ginseng altered the effects of the medication warfarin (Coumadin) in
twenty healthy patients. Avoid using large amounts of this herb if tak-
ing this medication.
Selected Research Studies
Efficacy of COLD-fX in the Prevention of Respiratory Symptoms in
Community-Dwelling Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo
Controlled Trial (McElhaney et al. 2006).
In this study, a proprietary extract of American ginseng root reduced
the risk of catching cold or acute respiratory illness by 48 percent and
the duration of such conditions by 55 percent.
American Ginseng Reduces Postprandial Glycemia in Nondiabetic Sub-
jects and Subjects with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (Vuksan et al. 2000).
American Ginseng lowered blood sugar levels in both healthy volunteers
and patients with diabetes.
... Preferably, an adaptogen should lessen pressure prompted harm, be protected, should show invigorating impacts, should be harmless, should not irritate any substantial capacities, and should be without any adverse consequences like withdrawal side effects. Adaptogens apply their pressure defensive impact by managing homeostasis through a few instruments of activity related to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) pivot, and furthermore by controlling key go-betweens of the pressure reaction, for example, heat shock proteins (Hsp70), stressenacted c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK-1), cortisol, and nitric oxide (NO) (Winston and Maimes, 2007;Provino, 2010). ...
... Singh et al., 2011;Kuboyama et al., 2014; Bhattacharya and Muruganandam, 2003;Winston and Maimes, 2007). An examination led on mice utilizing the watery suspensions of the powdered Ashwagandha root showed hostility to push movement(Udayakumar et al., 2010).Senthil et al. (2015) detailed the free revolutionary searching properties of Ashwagandha root and the presence of different phenolic mixtures and flavonoids that actuate cell reinforcement action. ...
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In conventional Ayurveda and Unani frameworks of medication, the foundations of Indian Ginseng or Ashwagandha have a long history of utilization as an adaptogen. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) is an individual from the Solanaceae group of plants. Keeping up with general prosperity and improvement of essentialness has been the essential significance of this "Rasayana". In spite of the fact that the idea to be valuable as a restorative spice in Ayurveda and sold in numerous nations as a dietary enhancement, there is lacking logical proof that it is protected or successful for treating any infection.
... It is a native to Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Some typical examples of such phytochemicals present in Zingiber officinale includes tinosponone, arabinogalactan polysaccharide, tinosporic acid, crude Giloininand, cordifolisides A to E, syringen, berberine, Giloin [16,17]. Its immunomodulatory properties could be explored in the management of influenza A virus [18]. ...
Influenza A virus has been identified as a major factor responsible for most critical respiratory disease of the Influenza viruses around the globe. Moreover, it has been validated that several medicinal plants could be applied in the management of Influenza when compared to several synthetic drugs which has been acclaimed with several adverse effect A virus. This might be linked to several factors such as their low toxicity, ease of access, low cost, and cultural acceptance. Hence, this chapter intends to provide a detailed information on the application of medicinal plant on the treatment of Influenza A virus. Detailed information was also provided on the mechanism of action utilized by these medicinal plants against Influenza A virus.
... Similarly, R. carthamoides is known as Maral Root in Siberia and Mongolia. It has traditionally been used to enhance physical and sexual energy, improve mood and concentration and as a tonic and anabolic (Skala et al., 2019;Winston and Maimes, 2019). ...
In addition to two known ecdysteroids, 20-hydroxyecdysone and turkesterone, three previously undescribed stigmastane-type ecdysteroids were isolated from the underground parts of Rhaponticum acaule (L.) DC. by chromatographic techniques (CC, VLC, MPLC). The structures of the compounds were established by chemical (acetylation) and spectroscopic methods including UV, IR, HRMS, 1D-NMR: 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, DEPT-135. and 2D-NMR: COSY, NOESY, HSQC, HMBC. Two compounds were isolated as an isomeric mixture and each of them was purified and converted to the corresponding acetylated derivative. Based on all of the evidence, the structures of three undescribed stigmastane-type ecdysteroids were established as 2β,3β,11α,20β,22α,24,28-heptahydroxy-6-oxo-stigmast-7-en-25,29-lactone and the cyclic 22,29-hemiacetals 22R and 22S stigmast-7-en-29-al,2β,3β,11α,20α,22,28-hexahydroxy-6-oxo, and the trivial names acaulesterone and rhapocasterones A and B are suggested, respectively. The structures and absolute configurations of 20-hydroxyecdysone and cyclic-22,29-hemiacetal-22R-stigmast-7-en-29-al,2β,3β,11α,20α,22,28-hexahydroxy-6-oxo were confirmed by X-ray crystal-structure analyses of their acetyl derivatives.
... About 10% of herbal product in the world is truly standardized to known active components. Strict quality control measures are not always diligently adhered to safety [4]. Very little is known about the active and toxic constituents of majority of the herbal products. ...
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Streszczenie Alienacja i izolacja wyrażają podobny stan lub poczucie samotności. Człowiek czuje się odizolowany od innych z różnych powodów, takich jak złe relacje, utrata miłości lub upośledzenie. Przestępcy są izolowani od społeczeństwa i przetrzymywani w więzieniach za karę. Jest to też metoda leczenia i zapobiegania złemu wpływowi na innych ludzi. Samo zjawisko alienacji zostało zauważone jeszcze przez Platona i znajduje znaczące miejsce w filozofii, kulturze i literaturze pięknej. Są różne rodzaje alienacji: społeczna, kulturowa, emocjonalna, rodzicielska, religijna, ekonomiczna i technologiczna. Alienacją zajmuje się także neurobiologia w kontekście obszarów w mózgu odpowiedzialnych za tzw. "społeczny mózg". Poczucie wyobcowania może być bardzo przygnębiające i frustrujące, ponieważ jednostka czuje, że jest niepożądana i nie należy do danego miejsca lub społeczeństwa, w którym żyje. Zaobserwowano, że sposobem walki z alienacją grup dyskryminowanych lub sposobem na zyskanie solidarności w grupie przez jednostki może być udział w różnych ruchach społecznych. David Riesman-amerykański socjolog-w roku 1950 szeroko wypowiadał się na temat alienacji w swojej najsłynniejszej pracy Samotny tłum, wskazując na zachodzące w społeczeństwie amerykańskim przejście od typu osobowości wewnątrzsterownej do zewnątrzsterownej i specjalnej roli społeczeństwa sterowanego tradycją. Natomiast problem z psychologicznego punktu widzenia podjęła dr Elaine Aron w książce "Wysoko wrażliwi". Będąc osobą wysoko wrażliwą wchłania się nastroje ludzi dookoła i wówczas powstaje ryzyko dystansu i wyobcowania od otoczenia. Jak możemy sobie radzić z alienacją i być w zgodzie z samym sobą? Czyżby rozwiązaniem miała być odwaga, by być kontrowersyjną osobą, przeprowadzenie autoterapii i koncentracja na rozwoju duchowym? A gdyby tylko wystarczyło rozwinąć w sobie uzdrawiającą i kreatywną osobowość i iść śladem Howarda S. Friedmana? A może powinniśmy wczytać się w eseje filozofa, socjologa, psychologa i psychoanalityka Ericha Fromma? A cóż robić, jeśli się okaże, że sił ma nam dodać dieta oraz tajemnicze orientalne zioła i mikstury Św. Hildegardy z Bingen? Na te i inne pytania będzie starała się odpowiedzieć autorka w swoim artykule. * * * Żyjemy w bardzo trudnych czasach. Wszyscy jesteśmy lub byliśmy narażeni na samotność, izolację i wyobcowanie od bliskich nam osób i od działań, które zwykle
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Alienation and isolation express a similar state or feeling of loneliness. A person feels isolated from others for various reasons, such as bad relationships, loss of love, impairment and so on. Criminals are isolated from the society and detained in prison for punishment. Isolation is also a method of treatment and a preventive measure to limit the person's negative influence on others. However, the phenomenon of alienation itself was noticed even by Plato and has since found a significant place in philosophy, culture and literature. There are different types of alienation: social, cultural, emotional, parental, economic, and technological etc. Alienation is also the subject of research by neurobiologists in the context of the areas in the brain responsible for the so-called "social brain".
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Tuberculosis is a highly contagious infectious disease triggered by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is widely spread by aerosol. The major site of infection is usually the lungs however the disease can attack any extra-pulmonary site as well, which is further diagnosis by necrotizing granulomatous inflammation. World Health Organization reported almost 8.9–10 million people are suffering from tuberculosis in 2019, including 56% men and 32% women, and 12% children. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a medical condition in which Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains resistant to at least isoniazid and rifampicin. In-vitro studies suggest that several bioactive compounds and their synthetic derivatives obtained from plants, fungi, and marine organism possesses antimycobacterial affinity. Phenolic compounds such as dihydrocubebin, hinokinin, ethoxycubebin possess the antimycobacterial activity. Mycobacterial cell envelope antagonists have been shown to obstruct the synthesis of mycolic acids, arabinogalactan, and peptidoglycan, essential components of the mycobacterial cell wall. The paramount antituberculous drugs hamper the development of mycolic acids or the aid mechanism which links them to the cell membrane. Medicines targeting RNA synthesis encompass those that restrict the assembly of bacterial DNA-dependent RNA polymerases, that are indispensable enzymes for RNA synthesis. Various molecular pathways for the target to cure tuberculosis entail the targets of M. tuberculosis cell wall synthesis, energy metabolism, folate metabolism, DNA replication, and RNA synthesis. Interestingly, in preserving the health of patients diagnosed with tuberculosis, medicinal plants have tremendous advantages with limited side effects as compare to the standard drugs.
From the physiological root cause to a personalized therapeutic program. The Functional Clinical Aesthetics™ explores an avantgarde approach to wellness and beauty. The FCA Model™ features methods of analysis and assessment, through the applications of Complementary & Alternative Medicine to conventional techniques of aesthetic care, up to develop a therapeutic program specifically based on your very unique skin genome profile, lifestyle, environment, diet and other concurrent factors. Regain health and beauty from within.
The Functional Clinical Aesthetics Model presents pioneering applications of CAM doctrines for a broader understanding of the nature of the aesthetic imperfection(s). Resorting to a particular focus on functional medicine and phytomedicine know-how, the FCA Model aims at developing a personalized-unique therapeutic program to treat and enhance, on a first standpoint, the overall health status so achieving the ultimate goal of betterment of aesthetic flaws' conditions.
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