Adaptogen Herbs Health Benefits

Adaptogen Herbs Health Benefits

Adaptogenic herbs or “adaptogens” as they are commonly known are herbal remedies with a long traditional history of medicinal usage for their anti-stress, anti-fatigue, immune boosting, virility enhancing, anti-aging and longevity benefits.

Examples of adaptogen herbs include Astragalus, Panax Ginseng, Schisandra Chinensis, Jiaogulan, Maca Root, Rhodiola Rosea, Suma Root, Ashwagandha, Holy Basil(Tulsi), Licorice Root, Reishi Mushroom, Cordyceps and Siberian Ginseng.

Adaptogenic herbs play a significant role in most traditional herbal systems such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda, traditionally prescribed for increasing energy, promoting strength, overall vitality and longevity.

What is an adaptogen?

What are adaptogen herbs?

The term adaptogen was first coined in the 1940s by a scientist from the USSR called N. Lazarev, who used it to describe plantbased adaptogen herbs such as Schisandra Chinensis and others.

According to the primary definition, an adaptogen must meet three basic criteria: [1]

1. First, adaptogens must be non-specific and must assist the human body in resisting a wide range of adverse conditions, such as physical, chemical or biological stress. These may include environmental pollution, climate change, radiation, infectious diseases, and interpersonal disharmony.

2. Second, adaptogens must maintain homeostasis in humans, that is, these substances can offset or resist physical disorders caused by external stress.

3. Third, adaptogens must not harm the normal functions of the human body.

Adaptogen Herbs Health Benefits

Clinical research has found that adaptogen herbs have a number of potential health benefits from anti-stress and anti-fatigue effects, immune boosting, improve sexual function and much more.

1. Anti-Stress

One of the most significant health benefits associated with adaptogen herbs is of course their ability to protect against stress and their purported anti-stress effects.

The adaptogen herbs protect the body against chronic stress via a number of mechanism’s, but largely through modulating the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and balancing endocrine stress hormones such as cortisol.

Indeed, recent pharmacological studies of a number of adaptogens have provided a rationale for these effects also at the molecular level.

It was discovered that the stress—protective activity of adaptogens was associated with regulation of homeostasis via several mechanisms of action, which was linked with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the regulation of key mediators of stress response, such as molecular chaperons (e.g., HSP70), stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase 1 (JNK1), Forkhead box O (FOXO) transcription factor DAF-16, cortisol and nitric oxide. [2]

2. Anti-Fatigue, Increase Energy & Performance

Adaptogens are commonly taken for their potential anti-fatigue benefits and ability to naturally increase energy levels, preventing mental and physical exhaustion.

Back before the dawn of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs, adaptogen herbs were popular choices of professional athletes traditionally looking for a natural ergogenic aid, performance enhancer and to increase functional capacity.

Former Soviet Union scientists were reported to have studied many plantbased adaptogens such as Rhodiola Rosea, as a way for Russian Olympic athletes to gain a competitive edge.

Modern clinical research has found adaptogen herbs such as Schisandra Chinensis, Eleutherococcus senticosus(Siberian Ginseng) and Rhodiola Rosea to potentially exert anti-fatigue effects in patients with fatigue states and to increase endurance and mental performance. [2.5]

3. Increase Virility, Sexual & Reproductive Function

Research has found that traditional herbal remedies such as Korean Red Ginseng, Maca Root, Tongkat Ali, Cordyceps Mushroom and many other adaptogens to positively effect sexual function and reproductive health.

Korean Red Ginseng for example has been shown to be an evidence-based adjunctive alternative treatment for improving erectile function in men. [3]

Maca Root is another adaptogen also known as “Peruvian Ginseng” and many clinical studies indicate it can improve symptoms of sexual dysfunction in both men and women. [4]

A systematic review of clinical studies found that Tongkat Ali also known as “Long Jack” and “Malaysian Ginseng” there was convincing evidence for the prominence of Eurycoma longifolia (EL) for improving male sexual health. [5]

4. Longevity & Anti-Aging

Traditional herbalists most commonly prescribed adaptogen herbs such as Ginseng for increasing longevity, vitality in the elderly and for their potential anti-aging health benefits.

Astragalus membranaceus (Huangqi) is one of my favorite adaptogen herbs and is a commonly used in traditional chinese medicine(TCM) for promoting longevity and extending life-span.

Astragalus has a range of very promising health benefits that may lend to its status as a premier “anti-aging tonic herb” in herbal medicine.

The major components of Astragalus membranaceus are polysaccharides, flavonoids, and saponins.

Pharmacological research indicates that the extract component of Astragalus membranaceus can increase telomerase activity, and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, anticancer, hypolipidemic, antihyperglycemic, hepatoprotective, expectorant, and diuretic effects.

A proprietary extract of the dried root of Astragalus membranaceus, called TA-65, was associated with a significant age-reversal effect in the immune system. [6]


[1] A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide

[2] Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity

[2.5] Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review

[2.6] Effects of adaptogen supplementation on sport performance. A recent review of published studies

[3] Red ginseng for treating erectile dysfunction: a systematic review

[4] Maca (L. meyenii) for improving sexual function: a systematic review

[5] Eurycoma Longifolia as a Potential Adoptogen of Male Sexual Health: A Systematic Review on Clinical Studies

[6] Anti-Aging Implications of Astragalus Membranaceus (Huangqi): A Well-Known Chinese Tonic

The information in this article has not been evaluated by the FDA and should not be used to diagnose, cure or treat any disease, implied or otherwise.

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