Adaptogens are a class of herbs that help the body deal with stress as well as other benefits.
Adaptogens help the body adapt, whether someone is feeling low or strung out.
There are several adaptogenic herbs. Ginseng is a well known adaptogen.
Other adaptogenic herbs are ashwagandha, schizandra, astragalus, shatavari, rhodiola, eleuthero, (a type of ginseng), maca and reishi mushroom.
Adaptogens were first studied during the Second World War. Scientists were looking for a way to help healthy pilots work at even greater levels. They wanted something that would help pilots fly better, faster and for longer periods of time. They thought they found their answer with adaptogens, as there are 4 main ways adaptogens help the body.
Adaptogens are best known for helping the body deal with stress.
They do this by working on balancing the pituitary, hypothalamus and adrenal glands.
These glands are primarily involved in the stress response, which is also known as the flight or fight response.
In today’s modern society, people are constantly subjected to flight or fight situations, though we can’t often respond in that manner. Pressures from work and sometimes having too much of the wrong foods or beverages, such as caffeine, can wreck havoc on our glands. The adrenal glands are particularly subject to this.
Adaptogens are great at boosting the immune system.
The immune system is closely tied to how much stress the body is under.
Adaptogens boost immunity by supporting and balancing the endocrine (glandular) system. They do this by supporting the adrenal glands, by helping the body use oxygen more efficiently and by boosting the effects of the white blood cells known as macrophages. These white blood cells live in the mucus membranes of the body and destroy pathogens in the blood such as bacteria, yeast and viruses.
This is another important function of adaptogenic herbs.
When our hormones are balanced, the body functions more effectively.
When the hormones are unbalanced, it can affect every part of our life.
Adaptogens directly affect the endocrine system which are in charge of hormones. They can direct the cells to make more of less of certain hormones, which over time helps the body become better balanced. Maca is an herb that can help with hormone balance, particularly for women.
Herbal adaptogens are great for increasing energy to the body.
It’s not just energy, but also stamina and hormone balance.
Two herbs that do that wll are maca and ginseng.
Ginseng contains ginsenosides, which affect the central nervous, cardiovascular, and endocrine systems, improving immune function and stress responses.
Ginseng is not for everyone. It can interact with several medications, and is not recommended to take when consuming alcohol or caffeine.
Maca, or Peruvian ginseng, is considered a true superfood with complete protein, more than 20 amino acids, vitamins B & C, minerals like calcium, potassium, iron, iodine, copper and manganese. This makes it a fertility enhancer and energizer. The root of the plant has been used by Peruvians for thousands of years.
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