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What's all the hype - Adaptogens

What's all the hype - Adaptogens

What is an ‘Adaptogen’?

Adaptogens are substances that help the body better adapt to changes in the environment and cope with stress. Adaptogens also tend to have anti-fatigue benefits which increase the capacity for cognitive work and reduce mental and physical exhaustion.[10]

The word ‘adaptogen’ was first used by the Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev in 1957, with reference to substances that increased the ‘state of non-specific resistance’. Later researchers coined new definitions of adaptogens, including this famous one:

Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea

Adaptogenic substances are stated to have the capacity to normalize body functions and strengthen systems compromised by stress. They are reported to have a protective effect on health against a wide variety of environmental assaults and emotional conditions.”[11]

According to a recent study on these fascinating types of plants, the characteristics of reductions in mental and physical fatigue and a slight stimulating effect are common to all adaptogens. However, every adaptogen also has its own unique benefits in addition to the core adaptogenic benefits. This is what makes these type of plants so interesting to researchers. The top five plants listed as adaptogens include:

  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Eleutherococcus senticosus (also known as Siberian Ginseng)
  • Schisandra chinensis (also known as the ‘five-flavour berry’)
  • Ginseng
  • Withania somnifera (also known as Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng)[12]

Rhodiola Rosea and Ashwagandha Root Powder are two powerful adaptogens that Chakra Corner provides.  

When taken as a supplement, the active components in Rhodiola extract have a number of important effects in the body. The key biochemical mechanisms behind these benefits are still being studied. However, research has shown several key benefits when using this supplement. These include:

  1. Prevents Physical Fatigue

Since researchers heard about the potential benefits of this amazing plant for reducing fatigue, decades ago, many clinical studies have been conducted on it to find out more about its potential. In a recent study, 56 healthy young doctors were given Rhodiola extract tablets and evaluated on their performance during night shift duty. The results showed a statistically significant reduction in fatigue over the two-week study.[7]

  1. Reduces Stress

Rhodiola has long been known for its ability to reduce stress, and this was one of its most important benefits when it was used centuries ago in traditional Chinese medicine. In a recent study, over 1300 participants were given Rhodiola supplements at a serving size of 400 mg, for four weeks. At the completion of the study, the results pointed to: “clinically relevant improvements with regard to stress symptoms, disability, functional impairment and overall therapeutic effect.” In fact, positive benefits were seen after just 3 days! [8]

  1. Boosts Cognitive Performance

Finally, people around the world are using this natural plant extract supplement for its ability to support healthy cognition and memory. In 2011, a review of the literature published on this subject indicated that there was sufficient evidence to make the claim that this supplement may have beneficial effects on physical performance, mental performance, and mood. However, the authors suggested that more research should be conducted to further verify these benefits.[9]


 

Ashwagandha is a highly prized, adaptogenic super root, used frequently in Ayurvedic medicine to increase vitality, relieve stress, enhance sleep, and boost brain and cognitive function. Adapotgens are known for the ability to help our bodies "adapt" to environmental and emotional stressors. The taste of ashwagandha is quite earthy and bitter, so it tastes best alongside other brewed roots and herbs, especially in tonics with an added sweetener. 

 

 

References:

[1] “Rhodiola rosea”, Examine.com, available online from https://examine.com/supplements/rhodiola-rosea/ [Accessed June 7, 2018] [2] Khanum F, AS Bawa, Singh B. “Rhodiola rosea: A Versatile Adaptogen.” Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. Volume4, Issue3 July 2005 Pages 55-62 [3] “The Soviet Military Secret That Could Become Alaska’s Most Valuable Crop” By Sarah Laskow, Slate Maganzine online, May 2015, available from http://www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_obscura/2015/05/21/rhodiola_rosea_is_a_soviet_plant_taking_hold_in_alaska.html[4] Khanna K, Mishra KP, Ganju L, Singh SB. “Golden root: A wholesome treat of immunity.” Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Mar;87:496-502. [5] “Before Steroids, Russians Secretly Studied Herbs.” By Kristina Johnson, National Geographic online, August 2016, available from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/people-and-culture/food/the-plate/2016/08/long-before-doping-scandals--russians-were-studying-performance-/ [6] Anilakumar Pooja KR,  Khunam F, Bawa AS. “Phytoconstituents and antioxidant potency of Rhodiola rosea – A versatile adaptogen” Journal of Food Biochemistry 30(2):203 – 214. April 2006 [7]Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H. “Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue--a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty.” Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):365-71.

[8] Edwards D, Heufelder A, Zimmermann A. “Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms--results of an open-label study.” Phytother Res. 2012 Aug;26(8):1220-5. [9] Hung SK, Perry R, Ernst E. “The effectiveness and efficacy of Rhodiola rosea L.: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials.” Phytomedicine. 2011 Feb 15;18(4):235-44. [10] Panossian A, Wikman G. “Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity.” Pharmaceuticals. 2010;3(1):188-224. [11]REFLECTION PAPER ON THE ADAPTOGENIC CONCEPT.” COMMITTEE ON HERBAL MEDICINAL PRODUCTS (HMPC). European Medicines Agency. London, 5 July 2007. [12] “Panossian, Alexander & H, Wagener. (2011). “Adaptogens. A Review of their History, Biological Activity, and Clinical Benefits.” Herbal Gram. 90. [13] Ishaque S, Shamseer L, Bukutu C, Vohra S. “Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012;12:70. [14] “Rhodiola”. WebMD.com, available online from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-883/rhodiola