Herbalism 101: The World of Adaptagens

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Also known as Tulsi- My favorite adaptagen!

Also known as Tulsi- My favorite adaptagen!

Adaptagens are herbs that support your nervous system by normalizing body function.

We know modern living causes lots of stress, between pollution and just the daily stress of life, our adrenals are already working overtime.  Our adrenals are the glands responsible for releasing hormones in response to stress through the synthesis of corticosteroids such as cortisol and catecholamines such as epinephrine (adrenaline) andnorepinephrine.

Of course, the long term solution would be to build a world with less stress, but till that happens, adaptagens can be a great support.  The term “adrenal fatigue” may be applied to a collection of mostly nonspecific symptoms such as “tiredness, trouble falling asleep at night or waking up in the morning, salt and sugar craving, and needing stimulants like caffeine to get through the day.”

Adrenal fatigue is a term that’s used by some to say that fatigue and other symptoms are caused by a poorly working adrenal gland in people who are under mental, emotional, or physical stress.  According to the adrenal fatigue theory, if your life is too stressful, your adrenal glands may not pump out enough hormones, leading to a wide variety of symptoms.

Researchers Brekhman and Dardymov’s list of physiological actions of adaptogens states that adaptogens help modulate system function and maintain homeostasis.  later research postulated that adaptogens work primarily by affecting the Hypothalamic/ Pituitary/Adrenal (HPA) axis and the Sympathoadrenal System (SAS). adaptogens modulate our response to stress (physical, environmental, or emotional) and help regulate the interconnected endocrine, immune, and nervous systems.

Siberian Ginseng

Siberian Ginseng

In more recent research by Panossian and Wikman (2009), they state that adaptogens work not only via the HPA axis and SAS but also on a cellular level.  They actually act a bit like a vaccine, priming cells to more effectively respond to stress. This is one of the reasons why adaptogens are often effective as part of a treatment protocol for diverse conditions with fatigue, muscle pain, inflammation and weakness, such as CFIDs, fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.

How Herbal Adaptagens can help:

  • maintain balance — specifically in the immune, endocrine, nervous, and hormonal systems
  • reduce the effects of stress — and increase the body’s resistance to it
  • boost immunity
  • encourage liver detoxification
  • combat the signs of aging
  • stabilize moods

additional info: (http://frugallysustainable.com/2012/12/adaptogenic-herbs-for-stress-relief-and-a-recipe-for-homemade-smoothie-mix/) and:    http://realitysandwich.com/171189/adaptogens_herbs/

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My favorite Adaptagen herb at the moment is Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi.

Holy Basil in full bloom

Holy Basil in full bloom

Ever since taking it this summer and now drinking a nettle and Tulsi tea almost daily, I have felt a difference in less digestive issues  (digestion is connected to our nervous system), easier monthly periods, regular sleep patterns (sleep was all thrown off while teaching last spring) and improvement in staying regular, (yes, TMI!) but I am the type of person who, when stressed, has a tough time staying regular.

I also belive it is working on an energetic level, since it is such a holy and high sought after herb for spiritual purposes.  For example, In India, Tulsi is grown in places that tend to inspire concentration and places ideal for worship, according to the ‘Gandharv Tantra,’ include “grounds overgrown with tulsi plants”. The Tulsi Manas Mandir at Varanasi is one such famous temple, where tulsi is worshiped along with other Hindu gods and goddesses.

Other adaptagen herbs include: Tumeric, Licorice, Siberian Ginseng, American Ginsegn Root, Ashwagandha, Dang Shen root, Rhodiola Root ( and many more…)

Tumeric

Tumeric

Licorice Root

Licorice Root

Siberian Ginseng Root

Siberian Ginseng Root

Ashwaganda root

Ashwaganda root

…and of course like with all herbal supports, it is best to include them into a healthy, balanced diet, free from chemicals, pesticides, and inflammatory foods such as sugar and for some folks, wheat.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola

dang shen

dang shen

 

The amazing, yet endangered, American Ginseng

The amazing, yet endangered, American Ginseng

 

 

Learn more?  Check out Farmacy Herbs in Providence: http://farmacyherbs.com

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