Stress and fatigue are a major issue in today’s society. Solutions are often short-term, which means the effects can easily return with a vengeance. So, what can you do to prevent stress and fatigue? Lifestyle changes, such as eating better and getting more exercise, are more likely to get long-term results. But you can also achieve the same long-term relief with “adaptogenic plants”—basically, plants that help the body handle stress and fatigue. An introduction to adaptogens

What is an adaptogenic plant?

The term “adaptogen” was coined by a Soviet physician and scientist, Nicolai Lazarev, in 1947. He studied the effects that certain plants had on humans living in extreme environments in what was then the USSR—including miners in the east. After a few years, Lazarev discovered that regular consumption of certain plants could increase the body’s resistance to all types of stress, both emotional and physical. He also found that people who regularly consumed adaptogenic plants suffered less from infectious diseases.

The Chinese, on the other hand, had been using these plants for a long time and considered them as high-grade tonics.

Adaptogens are essentially plants that help the body adapt to stress, whether:

  • physical;

  • emotional and mental;

  • caused by an illness;

  • caused by a sudden change (a new job, moving house, retirement, separation, etc.);

  • caused by a noise;

  • cellular, i.e., caused by pollution, medication, etc.

Plants with numerous benefits

These miraculous plants have the ability to simultaneously act upon several bodily systems and regulate overall functioning by:

  • boosting vitality and protecting the body;

  • stimulating or soothing the nervous system;

  • increasing or decreasing blood pressure;

  • raising or lowering body temperature;

  • supporting the adrenal glands and providing cells with energy so they can regenerate;

  • helping the body eliminate metabolic waste;

  • improving the oxygen level in cells;

  • maintaining homeostasis.

The best thing about these plants is that the majority are edible—and tasty!—and all are without side effects.

Which plants are “adaptogenic”?

While there’s no official list, here are a few examples :

Adaptogenic plants

Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus), also known as “Siberian ginseng”

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)

Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus)

Pink trumpet tree (Handroanthus impetiginous) is from South America

Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis), whose fruit is known as magnolia berry

Sarsaparilla (Smilax aspera)

Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum or Ocimum tenuiflorum)

Maltese cross (Tribulus terrestris)

Cordyceps capitata (or Elaphocordyceps capitata)

Maca (Lepidium meyenii), also known as “Peruvian ginseng”

Why not give adaptogenic plants a try and discover their many health benefits? Not only will you experience reduced stress and tension (physically and emotionally), but you will also have increased energy and become more efficient.

Christine Lacaze, N.D.