Adaptogens have been defined as "an agent that allows the body to resist or counteract the adverse
effects of physical, chemical, or biological stressors by raising non-specific resistance towards such
stress, thus allowing the person to 'adapt' to stressful circumstances."
Historically, Adaptogens have been used in traditional societies for thousands of years in places like
China, Japan, Russia, and parts of Europe; but it wasn’t until 1948 that Russian researchers had
officially studied Adaptogenic herbs in a lab – and their findings were pretty amazing.
They found that Adaptogenic herbs can support the healthy function of bodily systems and protect
the body from biological, chemical, environmental and psychological stressors.
The use of Adaptogens for their believed effects
dates back thousands of years to ancient Indian
(Ayurveda) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
practices. More scientific investigations did not
begin until the 1940s when the Russians began a
systematic classification and experimentation with
these natural substances.
In traditional Chinese medicine, Adaptogenic herbs were used to increase endurance, reduce fatigue,
enhance immunity, and increase life span. Today, more than 50 years of scientific research has
confirmed these health benefits and much more:
learning, and memory
- Central nervous system: They enhance intellectual performance, alertness, concentration,
- Immune system: They increase production of T cells, which fight bacteria, viruses, and cancer
- Stress response: They regulate the release of stress hormones and enhance the flexibility of the
stress response system
- Energy and Sleep: They boost energy on the cellular level and help regulate cortisol production,
which directly affects sleep quality
NOTE: Adaptogenic herbs do not provide a “quick-fix” like we see with other stimulants; that’s because
Adaptogens work slowly, gradually, and over a long period of time. The health benefits of these herbs
take from 1-3 months to fully take effect, but unlike stimulants like caffeine, the effects of Adaptogenic
herbs continue to work even after they’re out of your system.
And, also unlike other stimulants, Adaptogens have no adverse side effects (when used properly), so
they don’t provide a quick fix only to leave you crashing a few hours later, looking for the next quick fix
to achieve the same effect.
For benefits of specific Adaptogens please click here.