Adaptogens are naturally occurring substances that protect the body from stress. They do this by optimizing and stabilizing its physiological functions.
The term adaptogen was first developed by the Russian toxicologist Nikolay Lazarev in 1947. He used it to describe ‘substances that increase the state of non-specific resistance’ in stress. In 1958 Soviet researchers created the definition that adaptogens need to deliver on the four N’s.
The four N’s of adaptogens
- Nourishing – bring nutritive strength
- Normalizing – raise what is low and lower what is high (eg energy, stress)
- Non-specific – act on multiple parts of the body at the same time
- Non-toxic – be completely safe when used over extended periods of time.
The most unusual thing about adaptogens is that they do not serve a specific purpose. Rather than supporting the body in a specific way, they adapt and help where support is needed at any given time.
Adaptogens boost immunity, protect you from disease and promote overall health and wellness. Cordyceps and reishi, ginger and holy basil are all great sources of adaptogens, as is chaga.
Because our drinks are made with pure extractions of chaga and reishi, they contain all of their goodness, including adaptogens.
How do adaptogens work?
Adaptogens help to relieve stress by modulating the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. As biological response modifiers (BRMs) adaptogens restore the body’s own immune function and support it adapt to different stressors. This gives them preventative and protective as well as curative abilities.
Researchers from the Swedish Herbal Institute believe adaptogens work at a cellular level. “Studies on animals and isolated neuronal cells have revealed that adaptogens exhibit neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, antidepressive, anxiolytic, nootropic and CNS stimulating activity.”
Protecting mental capacity with adaptogens
Clinical trials have demonstrated they can increase and protect mental capacity against a background of stress and fatigue, particularly intolerance to mental exhaustion.
Dr. Teiraona Low Dog, a doctor who specializes in herbal medicine, said adaptogens “could be the most important class of plants that we are going to find in the 21st century.”
If you’d like to learn more about adaptogens, listen to this podcast produced by the Supplement Show with Dr. Low Dog, demystifying and explaining adaptogens.