What Are Adaptogens?adaptogens

Healthline contributor Chaunie Brusie writes “[they] are herbal pharmaceuticals [that] work to counteract the effects of stress in the body.”  In addition, “adaptogens have stimulant properties that help counteract” the effects of stress.  Need a review of the effects of stress on the body?  Read this article by Ann Pietrangelo for Healthline.

The Development Of Adaptogens

According to the National Institutes of Health, “the term adaptogen was introduced in 1958 by the Soviet toxicologist Lazarev, who applied it to the synthetic stimulant dibazol (2‐phenyl‐imidazol)…” As early as 1895, Soviet scientists were studying the effects of herbs and berries on native peoples in northern Manchuria and Siberia. One such stimulant studied is Schisandra chinensis, also known as Chinese Magnolia-Vine

Hormones At Work

“Adaptogens work at a molecular level by regulating a stable balance in the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands, [our stress response glands.]  Typically, we go through three stages of stress:

  • alarm phase
  • phase of resistance
  • phase of exhaustion

Pharmaceuticals | Free Full-Text | Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity

As we encounter a stressor, our body responds by kicking out hormones like adrenaline.   These hormones increase  muscle performance.  They also increase our ability to concentrate and pay attention to the task at hand.  Because our body [resists] the stressor, we feel energized and clearer.  Our body gives us a boost to fight the stressor.  Adaptogens stretch out that “sweet spot” in the middle — the phase of resistance.

Studies in both animals and isolated neuronal cells [show adaptogens] have several effects on the body:

  • neuroprotective elements
  • anti-fatigue properties
  • anti-depressive effects
  • stimulant for central nervous system

So, adaptogens aren’t a new concept. They’ve been studied throughout history as a way to improve the body’s ability to respond to stress, increase energy and attention, and fight off fatigue. New research is looking at how adaptogens may be helpful in treating chronic diseases, like respiratory and heart conditions.”  See the full Healthline article here.

Additional Resources

Learn More About Holistic Wellness Through A Christian Lens In Our FitBits