Herbs like ashwagandha, ginseng or rhodiola rosea are called adaptogenic herbs, all of them have anti-cancer properties as well. Adaptogenes have a long history of use in TCM, traditional Chinese medicine in China and Japan.
Adaptogens have stress-protecting and stress normalizing effects because they help your adrenal glands create a stronger hormonal response when your system is stressed, and then shut it down faster when the stress stops. For chronic stress (job stress, overtraining, etc.) adaptogens maintain hypothalamic receptor sensitivity, which significantly delays adrenal exhaustion.
Adaptogenic herbs help stay resilient to all kinds of stressors, for example, Chinese soldiers took traditionally adaptogens right before battle.
If your cortisol is high, adaptogens help lower it. If your cortisol is low, adaptogens help raise it. Adaptogens can also increase your resilience against aging, stress, and anxiety, and even physical injury. Some can even improve your mental performance. One study found that Rhodiola can help with problems like, “decline in work performance, sleep difficulties, poor appetite, irritability, hypertension, headaches, and fatigue… developing subsequent to intense… intellectual strain.”
Different adaptogens work through different mechanisms, but most of the effects are through the nervous system or gene expression. In contrast to stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines, adaptogens don’t make you addicted and have few to no side effects.
Some of the top adaptogenic herbs are:
- Rhodiola rosea
- Ginseng, all species (Asian, European, American – Eleutherococcus senticosus, Siberian ginseng is the strongest)
- Licorice root
Your dose and responsiveness may vary to each, but they can help you do – and be – more than you thought possible, without incurring the physiological cost of stress. I use rhodiola rosea(extract), Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha and astralagus(extract). Astralagus is known to restore the length of telomeres (parts of your mitochondria) and should be taken after a fast, not while fasting.
As you see, Mother Nature is always there for you and can even protect you from too much of modern world. 😉
Nutritional and botanical interventions to assist with the adaptation to stress https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10468649/
Angiomodulatory and neurological effects of ginsenosides
Rhodiola rosea: a possible plant adaptogen
Picture: Summer solstice ritual MMXXI here in Abtenau.