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Adaptogens: Nature's Stress Relief, Part I

Written By Back to Health Chiropractic and Massage on September 8, 2014


Adaptogens: Nature's Stress Relief, Part I

What exactly is an adaptogen? When the body is stressed it sets off a certain response. The type of stress—diet related, physical, emotional, or circumstantial—all create basically the same metabolic reaction. This reaction can be lessened when taking adapotgenic herbs. Additionally, each of these herbs creates a variety of positive effects. Different herbs work in different ways, so each one is taken to elicit specific results. They tend to be used for things such as minimizing aging, improving memory, increasing energy, improving immunity, and lessening fatigue.
In this two-part blog we will discuss the benefits of seven amazing adaptogens. For more specific information on nutrition in Vancouver WA you can give us a call.

What Is an Adaptogen?

So let's start with a definition. What exactly is an adaptogen? Google defines it as: “(in herbal medicine) a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes.” Herbal supplements categorized as adaptogen have been gaining popularity in the West, though ancient practices such as Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda have been using many of them for centuries as a way to improve health.
The idea of how adaptogens work is in its name. They help your body adapt to stressors in the environment. One way adaptogens help the body is through reducing the production of stress hormones. They also have an effect on DNA replication, producing proteins that the body uses to manage the effects of stress.

Which Adaptogens Do What?

Of course each person reacts differently, so it is important you consult a physician about any medical concerns you may have. This blog article is not meant to replace or offer medical advice. With that in mind, here are some common—but far from all-inclusive—uses for adaptogens:


This little power house grows in colder climates and is well know throughout Central Asia. Rhodiola has been shown to reduce fatigue while increasing mental acuity and concentration. Additionally, Rhodiola has been shown to reduce mild to moderate depression.


Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is well known in Ayurvedic medicine. Its benefits are many and could have an article written on this one herb alone. Here are a few documented benefits of Ashwagandha: Improved immunity, reduces anxiety and depression, lowers cholesterol, works as an anti-inflammatory, lowers blood sugar, inhibits the growth of tumors, reduces ADHD, imporves liver function, and combats signs of aging. With a list like this, the question is more: Why not take Ashwagandha?

Ginkgo Biloba

This herb has gained populatiry in the West over the last couple of decades for its ability to improve memory and cognitive function. Ginkgo biloba has been shown to improve blood flow to the brain. This is especially of interest for people suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia. Additional studies suggest that ginkgo biloba may decrease the symptoms of PMS as well as help with vascular diseases and pain caused by blood clots.
Stay tuned for our second part of Adaptogens: Nature's Stress Relief, where we will discuss the benefits of licorice root, eleuthero root, astragalus, and goji berries.

Posted In: Stress