Written By Liz Oakes
Using adaptogenic herbs is a natural health approach that will help to increase your endurance and resistance to a large number of physical problems including stress.
Many of you may be feeling stressed on a regular basis, or feeling anxiety, fatigue or depression, which are closely related to stress in many cases.
Adaptogens are known worldwide in herbal medicine as specific herbs that are known to assist stress, which can be beneficial to help you to cope better.
The word adaptogen came into use around fifty years ago, and since that time, stress has become even more prevalent in the community, even endemic.
Stress is related to the health of the adrenal glands, which is the hormone producing area of the endocrine system.
Using herbs that are adaptogens is one of the adrenal fatigue treatment options that is becoming more popular, and using these herbal remedies is a choice that many more people are making.
Adaptogenic herbs, also known as adaptogens, are substances that enhance your ability to resist stress, anxiety, trauma and fatigue.
Many adaptogens are anti aging herbs, specific types of herbs that are known to aid longevity and help to ameliorate the effects of aging.
By protecting you against oxidative damage to your cells these herbs have a strong role to enhance longevity.
See the list below of these herbs and specifically what each herb does.
There are a number of herbs that fit the label adaptogenic herbs.
They are herbs that have a good action to aid the whole body to feel more normal, rather than just working on healing one specific area.
The best adaptogens also strengthen the immune system and aid the body to fight disease.
Along with their role to aid fatigue, an important role of adaptogens is to aid longevity and the effects of aging on the cells.
When you are young your metabolism works to build up the cells of the body, but as you get older there is an increase in the activity that breaks down the cells often caused by free radicals.
Although some doctors give drugs to aid stress, if you wish to ensure a more natural health approach to relieving anxiety, these natural herbal remedies may be used.
Many of the adaptogenic herbs are excellent herbs for stress. These anti aging herbs help protect against oxidative damage, and prevent the effects of free radicals on the cells that causes deterioration and aging.
This is because when you undergo stress, the adrenal glands release hormones into the body, to help you to respond to these situations.
How does stress relate to your health? When you have stress that continues for long periods, and these chemicals are continuously released into the body, this can lead to adrenal exhaustion.
This is the list of most well-known and effective adaptogenic herbs, and information about all of these adaptogens is provided in this article:
Although there may be more herbs that belong in this category than those written about here, the adaptogenic herbs featured here are some of the most well-known and effective herbs to aid stress, and help you to return to feeling normal more quickly.
As you can see there are a number of herbs that you can use that are adaptogens. So below we look briefly at what each of the herbs does, and how it will help you.
Ginseng: Ginseng is term sometimes used to describe a number of different herbs which are covered separately as they each have different healing qualities.
The herb eleuthero root was formerly known as Siberian ginseng, but it is now illegal to market this herb under that name in the USA.
Eleuthero root is a distant cousin of the American ginseng. Another herb called Ashwagandha is known as Indian ginseng, but it is also not a real ginseng, but is a member of the same botanical family as tomatoes.
Eleuthero Root: This herb goes under a few different names, but its botanical name is eleutherococcus senticosus.
It is most commonly known as eleuthero root and was known in the past as Siberian ginseng, because it had similar properties to Panax Ginseng. It is now illegal to market it under the Siberian Ginseng name in the USA.
This herb is one of the best and most well known adaptogenic herbs, and it has a strong action to assist the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
When the adrenal glands are stimulated by stress, they may release too much of the key hormones adrenaline and cortisol.
This can make you feel exhausted, and this condition is known as adrenal fatigue or in the later stages as adrenal exhaustion.
This herb helps to stop the stress response, by helping to lessen the activity of the adrenal cortex.
It helps to sharpen mental abilities and relieve depression and is known as one of the best immune system remedies as it works well to stimulate the immune system.
Panax Ginseng: The term Ginseng should really only be used to describe members of the Panax botanical family which includes the two most popular types, American Ginseng, panax quinquefolium and Asian Ginseng or panax ginseng.
The active ingredients in American and Asian ginseng are called ginsenosides, but these two varieties also have different healing properties.
The most common ginseng used in remedies is the Asian panax ginseng and it has excellent qualities as an adaptogen, and aids stress and anxiety, and helps to increase energy.
It is powerful to help adrenal gland fatigue, as it prevents stress burnout, and is an excellent herb to "fortify you in times of fatigue and debility", says Germany's Commission E.
This is one of the adaptogenic herbs that will assist you to recover from bacterial infections, and there are also ginseng benefits during the flu season as it aids resistance to influenza.
American Ginseng is also useful to help flagging energy levels and is beneficial to help lung function.
Ashwagandha: The herb ashwagandha is also known as winter cherry but its botanical name is Withania somnifera.
Its action as an adaptogen is well known and there are benefits of ashwagandha to aid stress and to enhance endurance levels and soothe and calm your nervous system.
It is also one of the natural herbs that help inflammation, that is helpful to aid the pain of arthritis.
In addition it is one of the adaptogenic herbs that is quite beneficial as it will boost your immune system, and help you to get over colds and flu more easily.
Codonopsis Root: It is the root of this herb that is used in herbal remedies, and it is one of the well known adaptogenic herbs.
Codonopsis root is also called Dang Shen. It is a native of Asia and is helpful to use to treat adrenal exhaustion.
This herb has a strong action to help to reduce stress and improve stamina levels and fatigue, and improves brain function.
It will also aid a number of other health issues including helping headaches that are related to high blood pressure and muscular tension.
It also protects you against ulcers, aids indigestion, helps wheezy dry coughs and lung conditions, regulates blood sugar and builds your blood by increasing red blood cells.
It is commonly found in herbal remedies and may be used as a substitute for panax ginseng for two reasons.
Firstly it is used to reduce the cost, as it has similar properties to other adaptogenic herbs, but is much cheaper to buy, but it is not as stimulating so can be used for longer periods without over stimulating you.
Rhodiola rosea: Rhodiola rosea has a large number of beneficial qualities that make it an excellent herb for you to use to aid your health. It is one of the best herbs for stress.
It is not only an adaptogen, but it is also an antidepressant and an antioxidant, as well as being one of the herbs to aid a viral infection.
It is the rhodiola rosea root that is used to make herbal remedies, that are powerful aids for heart problems.
Its active ingredients are cardio-protective and anti-arrhythmic, meaning that it protects you from irregular heart beats.
The root of this plant has been in use in Siberia, Russia and China for around two thousand years. It is one of the adaptogenic herbs that only grows in certain locations at high elevations in mountainous regions.
It has an excellent action to aid mental alertness and to help fatigue. It is also helpful to stimulate your memory and to help protect your liver from chemical damage.
Cordyceps: I have noticed that cordyceps is now appearing more regularly as an ingredient in mixed adaptogenic herbs, meant to treat fatigue and a lack of energy.
This is not strictly a herb, but is actually a fungus, that infects caterpillars of a particular type of moth native to the Himalayan mountains. In the past it was quite rare, and as it was difficult to find it was reserved only for the use of the Emperor and his family.
The west discovered it around three hundred years ago, and now that natural herbal medicines are becoming popular in the west, more of these remedies are becoming available.
This is also because cordyceps is now being cultivated especially for the natural remedy market, instead of being harvested from wild plants.
It is known to be an excellent tonic for fatigue and it may also enhance aerobic capacity, and help the immune system. Other uses in Chinese medicine are to help reduce the size of tumors, to aid impotence and as a kidney tonic.
Tulsi: Tulsi also known as Holy Basil. This herb goes under a few names including Tulsi, sacred basil and holy basil, although it's common name of Tulsi is probably the most used name.
It has been part of the Hindu religion for thousands of years and is known in India as one of the most revered and powerful herbal remedies.
It has been traditionally used as a remedy to aid bronchitis and for stomach upsets.
It's action as one of the adaptogenic herbs has also been documented, and there are a number of Tulsi benefits to help to reduce stress.
It is an antioxidant and is also neuro-protective, and is known to protect you against the effects of radiation.
Research into this herb is on-going and they are now discovering more aspects of its benefits through research using animal studies.
As yet studies using humans have not conclusively proved some of its uses to be effective although traditional users know about its many benefits.
One of its interesting uses is to relieve mental confusion that may result from the use of cannabis. It is also known to aid menopause symptoms and may help ADHD.
Licorice Root: Licorice root is a very popular herb that has been used in Chinese medicine for around 3000 years or more. The botanical name for the licorice plant is Glycyrrhiza glabra.
This well known herb is an antiviral, immunomodulator, antioxidant and anti inflammatory herb. There are a large number of benefits of licorice root use.
Licorice root is one of the adaptogenic herbs that aids adrenal gland exhaustion which is often related to stress, so it is useful to help stress.
I have been drinking a tea that is made from this herb mixed with Tulsi, and together they make a wonderful and relaxing brew which I drink every day.
Licorice is not only an adaptogen, but is also one of the herbs for stress.
If you have the symptoms of adrenal exhaustion, drinking licorice root tea or taking natural herbal remedies containing licorice extract, will also aid the heart and spleen, and help to purify the liver and blood.
Note: If you have high blood pressure or any hormonal disturbances check with your doctor before taking any licorice products as there are licorice side effects.
Astragalus: There are a number of astragalus benefits to help recovery from illness, and to fight fatigue and to prevent oxidative damage to the cells.
This anti aging herb helps to prevent this damage which is related to the aging process and may be caused by free radicals.
Astragalus is helpful if you have been experiencing on-going stress. This herb is one of the Chinese tonic herbs, and this relates to the fact that you can take it on a daily basis without it having negative side effects.
It is both an excellent immune boosting supplement and an adrenal gland fatigue treatment. You will often find Astragalus in cold or flu remedies as it has a good action to enhance immune system function.
This is one of the natural immune system boosters that is commonly used in combination with other immune boosting herbs.
Schizandra Berry: The name of this herb may be spelt a number of ways, including schisandra, shisandra and schizandra and is also known as Chinese magnolia vine or wu wei zi.
The schizandra is highly valued by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, and is a strong general tonic and is well known as one of the adaptogenic herbs.
Like other adaptogens, this herb will help to boost your ability to resist the effects of stress and fatigue, and deactivate free radicals that may cause aging.
This herb's role to prevent oxidative damage to cells, and reduce inflammation makes it an excellent antioxidant and anti aging herb, as it may aid longevity.
It is not quite as powerful as either panax ginseng or eleuthero root, but is known to be a safer alternative overall.
It also has antioxidant qualities and aids your cognitive powers and ability to work.
It also protects the liver from toxins and aids a number of health issues apart from stress, including helping depression and insomnia.
Goji berry: The herb Lycium barbarum is well known in China as an excellent plant that contains both antioxidants and anti inflammatory carotenoids and flavonoids. This herb has red berries on it that dry to a reddish brown color.
They are also known as Wolfberries, Gou qi zi (in China) gugijanamu (in Korea) kukoshi (in Japan) and these adaptogenic herbs are also marketed as Goji Berries.
There are Goji berry benefits if eaten daily, as it will strengthen weak muscles. It is one of the adaptogenic herbs that has an excellent action as a tonic herb for the liver, kidneys and blood.
The action of the carotenoids are beneficial to help your vision and it is also an excellent liver herb that acts as a tonic and is also hepa protective.
It is beneficial to aid a number of different health issues, including helping to improve sexual performance.
Reishi Mushroom: The botanical name for the reishi mushroom is ganoderma lucidum.
Although it used to be a tree mushroom grown in the wild, it is now artificially cultivated, although it is not easy to grow.
There are reishi mushroom benefits to help to soothe anxiety and is known as a powerful immune supplement that was revered in China for its almost magical qualities, and was thought to be an immortality herb.
This medicinal mushroom is highly prized in Asia as an anti aging herb.
It is helpful to prevent damage to cells caused by aging as well preventing inflammation, that often relates to diseases more common in older people.
This herb is excellent to help insomnia and is one of the herbs used to make many digestive enzymes. It is said to help to heal viral hepatitis, asthma and a number of other health conditions.
It is known to be a powerful tonic herb that is said to help the body to resist disease and to promote longevity.
Jiaogulan: Jiaogulan is a calming adaptogen that is helpful to aid you if you are stressed or feeling anxious.
Research into its healing attributes started in the 1960's in China and Japan, and its reputation as 'China's immortality herb' gained it attention.
They discovered that many people living in an area of China where this anti aging herb grows live much longer and have lower levels of cancer in the population.
This herb has a number of excellent attributes, including being a powerful immune system enhancer and is especially helpful to aid cancer patients.
If you are finding sleeping difficult due to anxiety, drinking a cup of soothing jiaogulan tea may be helpful to calm your system and help you to sleep.
Some of its active constituents are the same as those found in Asian or panax ginseng.
It also embodies a great number of components not found in other herbs that make this herb quite unique in its healing properties.
This herb aids a number of health issues including mildly lowering high blood pressure and improving heart function.
It is known to be most effective when used in combination with other adaptogenic herbs.
If you have been feeling stressed on a regular basis, or feeling anxiety, fatigue or depression, all closely related to stress, using some of the adaptogenic herbs may help you to boost your immune system health.
Using some of these specific herbs is known to assist stress and may help to prevent adrenal fatigue, allowing you to cope better.
These are specific types of herbs that are known as adaptogens, and are substances that enhance your ability to resist stress, anxiety, trauma and fatigue.
Many of these herbs also help your immune system and a number of other health problems, and overall will boost your energy.
They help the whole body to feel more normal, and aid you to feel better about life.