Updated: Apr 6, 2020
An Adaptogen is defined as:
1. Non toxic.
2. Normalising to physiological systems.
3. A substance that increases non specific resistance to internal or external stressors.
The term was coined by scientists in the former USSR Drs Lazarv and Brekhman. The key to understanding what adaptogens do is in the phrase ‘Increase nonspecific resistance.’ For as long as we are alive the human body is experiencing some type of stress and responding to it, simply living requires your body to deal with all kinds of external forces to maintain homeostasis, most of them we never even think of as stressors, for instance, changes in temperature, air pollution and digestion of food, all of these require your body to adjust its systems in an immensely complex series of biological interactions.
When you add to this all the extra demand placed on your body by, hard physical work or exercise, intense bouts of study or mental work and then we add in that every one of these has an emotional element which sets off a further cascade of chemical and bio electrical reactions, it’s easy to see that maintaining the very delicate balance necessary for healthy functioning of the organism is a very complex task.
The nature of human beings is to go to extremes and often we do not realise it until it’s too late, either we become completely exhausted, exhaustion means lowered immunity and lowered immunity can soon become illness, whether acute or chronic. Adaptogens help your body maintain its balance reinforcing and regulating the stress response primarily through the adrenal pituitary axis and the endocrine system (Which controls your body’s hormones.) and also through several other physiological systems in order to avoid this downward spiral, they can also help one recover the energy lost by those who have already pushed past their limits and are suffering the consequences.
Adaptogens also contain many kinds of rare and unique phytochemicals and micronutrients which have been shown in studies in China, Japan and Russia to be health promoting and ergogenic.