WELL BEING: Adaptogenic Herbs

27 Apr

Recently, I dedicated an entire column to ginseng.  This herb is known the world over as a powerful healing agent.  I truly believe the main reason for its popularity is because it is an adaptogen.

Adaptogenic herbs are non-toxic and have very few side effects on either physical or mental health.  They are massively potent and have the incredible ability to.. adapt.  Thus the name adaptogen.

Think of adaptogenic herbs as the ultimate bouncer in a night club.  You may not know specifically what is wrong with your health and are unsure what herb to take for certain.  Adaptogens go into your system and essentially say “where’s the problem?”  They work fast and on numerous health weaknesses simultaneously.

Here is a nifty little list of some common adaptogenic herbs.

Cordyceps:  This Chinese caterpillar fungus is most used as a lung and kidney tonic, normalizing immunity responses and to treat fatigue.

Licorice:  Often used in small amounts to regulate the auto-immune system and HPA axis function.  Also soothes the gastrointestinal tract.

Reishi Mushroom: This mushroom regulates immunological responses and calms the mind, soothing the nerves.  It supports the immune system, with anti-tumor and anti-viral properties.  It acts to protect the liver and has been used in chemotherapy support, HIV-treatment, high blood pressure and diabetes treatments.

Gotu Kola:  An herb used for anxiety, mental fatigue and irritability.  Also used to enhance memory and concentration.

Hawthorn:  An antioxidant that helps support the heart and normal palpitations, maintains healthy blood pressure, protects arteries and blood vessels and wards off anxiety, insomnia and irritability.

Suma:   Often called a South American version of ginseng, it has become a popular herbal tonic that is used to bolster the immune system and to fight temporary depression and fatigue.  Suma is my absolute favorite adaptogen.  With a common name, Para Todo, meaning “for everything,” there is a hint of just how much benefit Suma may be to your health.  Try it for Epstein-Barr Syndrome and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; it may make a difference and add a little zing and stamina to a tired body.

AdaptaMax:  Nature’s Sunshine makes an adaptogenic herbal combination called Adaptamax.  This exclusive mixture includes adaptogenic heavy-hitters like rhodiola, eleutherococcus, Korean ginseng, ashwaganda, rosemary and schizandra, among many others.  Blending them all together in this powerful formula makes it easy for you, the consumer.  Sure, all adaptogens have positive benefits but having several together helps the body cope with a variety of stressful conditions, including stress on the immune system, fatigue and aging.  They fight oxidative cellular damage, energize the body, support an over-all positive mood and stimulate the immune system.

Be sure to discuss the use of adoptogens with your physician to make sure of safe usage while taking any prescription medications or during pregnancy.

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