Feel Good Today. How Adaptogenic Herbs Can Help.

If you’re living stress free these days, then you must be superhuman. In my practice I’m seeing an uptick in the number of patient requesting stress relief and mood support. That’s because nearly everyone in the U.S. is at their breaking point. While we can hope that this level of tension does not persist, it’s time to take advantage of the things we can control. I’ve got a great suggestion for those of you who are currently suffering with anxiety, stress, and fatigue.

There is an amazing class of herbs that you’ve probably already heard about. They’re called adaptogens. In the herbal medicine world, herbs that meet the criteria of ‘adaptogen’ are few and far between. They are esteemed for their somewhat contrasting benefits of being both stress-relieving and energy & immune enhancing.  How can an herb be both stimulating and sedating at the same time? Read on.

A Very Brief Introduction to the Term:

The term adaptogen was introduced into scientific literature by Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev in 1957 to refer to substances that increase the “state of non-specific resistance” in stress.1,2 (1)

Three Adaptogenic Herbs You Should Consider Today

In my earlier article, Wired & Tired in Silicon Valley, I discussed Withania (aka Ashwagandha), a wonderful adaptogenci herb that addressing everything from mood and energy, to insomnia and libido! Today I want to cover three more herbs: Rhodiola, Schisandra, and Korean Ginseng.

1. Schisandra Chinensis

Common Name: magnolia vine; Chinese Magnolia Vine; Pinyin (Chinese name): Wu Wei Zi aka 5-flavor berry; Plant part used: fruit

 In Chinese herbal medicine, this herb goes to ‘all five organs’ because it encompasses all five flavors and therefore is considered a universal tonic, supports the organs of the lung, liver, and kidney, among others.

In the 1960s, the Russians studied this herb extensively as part of their cosmonaut program, looking for any possible edge to give their astronauts (see scientific research section below).

  • Dose: 3.0-5.0g/day in tablet form
  • Uses: Supports liver detoxification, Fatigue, physical stress, enhances physical performance and mental concentration
  • Key Points:  Especially good for menopausal women experiencing fatigue, irritability, impaired stress handling.

2. Rhodiola Rosea

Common Name: Arctic root, golden root; Pinyin (Chinese name): Hong Jing Tian; Plant part used: Root

Rhodiola is an herb that grows in the cold, mountainous regions of Europe and Asia.

Its root contains more than 140 active ingredients, the two most potent of which are rosavin and salidroside. People in Russia and Scandinavian countries have used Rhodiola to treat anxiety, fatigue and depression for centuries.

In Chinese medicine, Rhodiola tonifies qi (fatigue), clears the lungs (asthma) and nourishes the heart (insomnia, anxiety). Special uses include allaying altitude sickness; this is likely due to Rhodiola’s ability to support circulation to both the heart and lungs.

  • Dose: 6.0-12.0g/day in tablet form
  • Uses: Improves physical performance, impotence; Support during chemotherapy or radiation; Improves mental performance, concentration, and memory, especially under stress.
  • Key Points:  Antitumor, antioxidant, tonic for the elderly, consider for chronic fatigue & fibromyalgia as well.
  • Safety: Take away from mineral supplements. Do not take with stimulants.

3. Korean Ginseng

Common Name: Panax ginseng; Pinyin (Chinese name): Ren Shen; Plant part used: Root

Perhaps the most famous of all Chinese herbs, ginseng has been used for centuries as both a general tonic, and an rescuer of those recovering from severe illness.

Some roots garner tens of thousands of dollars for their high quality and ability to restore zheng qi (upright qi), or that which gives us life.

American ginseng, while a tonic, has somewhat different functions. Codonopsis, ginseng’s cousin, is an herb used in hundreds of Chinese formulas for it’s ginseng-like properties, but at much more economic price.

  • Dose: 300-500mg/day in tablet form
  • Uses: To slow aging. Fatigue, physical stress, failure to thrive, chronic immune deficiency (not auto-immunity) enhances physical performance and mental concentration
  • Key Points:  Originally thought to support the elderly, anyone over 40 years old should consider this herb as a tonic. Enhances overall vitality.

Early Scientific Research Into Adaptogens

In the early 1960s, the study of adaptogens developed into a field of biomedicinal research in its own right in the former USSR. The extent of the research carried out was enormous, with over 1,000 studies published in the USSR until 1982. Most of these studies concerned extracts or isolates prepared from eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus, Araliaceae; formerly referredto as “Siberian ginseng” in the United States) root, schisandra berry, Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng, Araliaceae) root, and golden root (Rhodiola rosea, Crassulaceae) root.6, 7, 12-14, 29, 30 (2)

Adaptogenic Formulas Available in my Clinic

Rhodiola & Schisandra contains Rhodiola root and Schisandra fruit to provide nervous system support during times of stress.

These herbs have been traditionally used in herbal preparations to:

  • Help the body adapt to the changes of everyday life
  • Maintain feelings of general well-being when experiencing temporary stress
  • Help maintain proper energy and support healthy physical performance
  • Work as a tonic to benefit the entire body*

Rhodiola & Ginseng Complex is an adaptogenic tonic which contains Rhodiola root and Korean Ginseng to enhance vitality and stamina. 

 These herbs have been traditionally used in herbal preparations to:

  • Support mental clarity and cognitive function
  • Promote vitality and stamina
  • Help maintain proper energy
  • Support physical endurance*

Ashwagandha Complex contains adaptogenic herbs and compounds used for stress support. It includes Ashwagandha, Licorice, Skullcap and Korean Ginseng.  
These herbs have been traditionally used in herbal preparations to:

  • Work as tonic to maintain or improve general well-being
  • Help the body adapt to the changes of everyday life
  • Promote vitality and stamina in people of any age
  • Maintain healthy mood balance*

Ready to Get Started? Consider Acupuncture & Custom Herbal Protocol

If you’re ready to start feeling better today, I would encourage you to contact my office or set up a FREE 15-minute consult. Just select free consult from the drop-down menu.

We can also create a custom-tailored program that’s perfect for you- start feeling healthier, happier, and more energized right away!

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