Adaptogens are a unique class of healing plants, including some foods and herbs. Today they are most commonly consumed as supplements and herbal products, as capsules, powders or tinctures.
It has been observed in animal studies that various adaptogens have the ability to create a generally increased tolerance to stress and this is one of the reasons why probably ancient societies thought of adaptogens as healing medicine.
Some of the most used adaptogens are:
- Ginseng: found to be a viable treatment for fatigue in patients with chronic illness PMID: 29624410
- Tulsi: an integral part of the Ayurvedic medicine found to treat a large number of conditions: infections, skin diseases, hepatic disorders, colds and cough, fevers and even as an antidote for snake bites.
- Ashwagandha: Its effects on cortisol, stress tolerance and internal stress responses have been studied for many decades now. It has been found to powerfully improve an individual’s resistance to stress PMCID: PMC3573577.
- Astragalus: shown to support immune regulation by promoting proliferation of immune cells, stimulating the release of cytokines and affecting the secretion of immunoglobulin.
- Liquorice root: increases energy and endurance, plus helps boosting the immune system and support gut health. May affect blood pressure and potassium levels, so traditional liquorice root is usually recommended no more than 12 weeks at a time. Aids with balancing cortisol levels PMID: 21184804.
- Rhodiola: acts as a mild stressor when ingested, allowing the organism to boost its stress defenses. Found to aid with acute stress responses, as explained by a 2012 study in human subjects.
- Turmeric: effective at reducing depression symptoms due to the way that curcumin impacts neurotransmitter function, anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric seem to be effective at suppressing processes that contribute to obesity.