ADAPTOGENS - What Are They
- Adaptogens, what are they? Where do they come from? What does it mean to be An adaptogen? So many people are talking about adaptogens the past couple of years and it's really been a fad. But I want to dive today into the truth and the history and the reality behind these adaptogens that everyone's been talking so much about.
Now, adaptogens are something that have been consumed by humans around the world for thousands of years, and people have been for thousands of years experiencing the benefits of these herbs. But it wasn't actually until the year 1947 that a Russian physician and scientist, Dr. Nikolai Lazarev coined the term adaptogens. Now, during World War II, Dr. Lazarev's work was centered around performance enhancing stimulant drugs to help the war effort, right? But after the war, his focus turned to substances that could actually enhance well-being and performance without the kind of negative side effects that you see with drugs.
So where did he start in terms of herbs? Well, he actually started with ginseng. Why ginseng? Well, first of all, it's the most famous herb the world. Second of all, ginseng was something that the Russians have become aware of because in some of their past conflicts with China, they had been really impressed by the endurance and stamina over battles that lasted days on the part of these Chinese soldiers and they found out that these Chinese soldiers were consuming ginseng every single day and that was having a huge effect on their physical capabilities. And so they started studying first ginseng but then they realized, "Okay, if ginseng is gonna be "the thing that we develop expertise in "to help our soldiers, "well that's not going to work out too well "if we end up in another conflict with China "because this herb that we need is now behind enemy lines "and it can't actually grow very well in Russia. "So it's not gonna do us a whole lot of good. "We need now to find something that is going to be similar "to ginseng but actually grows within Russia."
So they created a mission to search out something that would have these properties. And what they ended up finding was eleuthero. And eleuthero is also known as Siberian ginseng. And if you watched our video, which I will link below in the description, if you watch our video about the different kinds of ginseng, you will have learned that Siberian ginseng is not technically ginseng. It just has similar properties that's where it gets that name, but technically it is not even really related. But a lot of the same properties are there in terms of the endurance, the ability to have incredible physical energy, the ability to maintain acute mental function when under lots of mental stress, the ability to deal with extremes of hot and cold. So many different properties. But this gives us a good look at what an adaptogen is.
The idea with an adaptogen is it is gonna have a remarkable ability to increase one's resilience to a wide variety of different physiological, emotional, chemical, biological stressors. So, no matter what is challenging on your body because we can experience stress emotionally, right? But there's many other forms of stressors, heat stressors, cold stressors, there's stress of toxins, many forms of stress, you know, stress from not sleeping enough, for example.
And the idea with an adaptogen is, it's gonna strengthen your ability to withstand all of this. It's gonna help your body maintain a healthy state of balance regardless of what kind of stress you're under. And it's not designed to stimulate bodily functions in just one direction or another. Like just gonna give you more energy or it's not just going to put you to sleep or it's not just going to stimulate your immune system or suppress your immune system. These herbs have what's called dual directional activity in many cases and are designed to bring the body into harmony, to help establish balance so that no matter what challenges are coming at you, you can maintain this healthy, perfect equanimity. And that is really one of the ultimate measures of health, is how well you can maintain biological, mental, emotional balance, no matter what kind of stress is coming at you. And that's really is, you know, truer in the modern world than it ever has been ever before.
Now we've made a lot of different videos about different adaptogens and I highly encourage you to go watch some of those. So I won't go super in depth into a lot of information about different adaptogens in this video necessarily, but I wanna talk about a few just to give some examples.
One of my favorites is Reishi mushroom and you see with Reishi, it decreases stress and anxiety on an emotional and a mental level. And at the same time it's also working on the immune system. Now it's not just suppressing or stimulating the immune system. In fact, it's regulating it. So it's a great herb to take for immune support, to ramp up the immune system if the immune system needs to be stimulated a bit. However, you also see that in cases of autoimmunity, it's also helpful at bringing down overactive immune function. In fact, in China and in Japan, it's very commonly prescribed for people with autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Another great example is gynostemma. Now, this was not known widely in the herbal world until the 70's, when the Japanese actually found it in this one region in Southern China, people drinking gynostemma on a regular basis we're consistently living to be over 80 and a hundred years old. Now, gynostemma has these compounds that are called saponins and you see saponins in lots of different herbs. For example, ginseng is famous for its ginsenoside saponins and it has 26 or 28, if I'm remembering correctly. Gynostemma, depending on what research you look at, has between 80 and a hundred different gypenosides saponins, making it the most saponin-rich plant in the world. Why is that important? Because these saponins bring in a lot of the dual directional modulating adaptogenic activity that we're actually looking for in these herbs. So gynostemma is great for, you know for example, burning fat, but also building lean muscle. It's great for decreasing stress and anxiety, but at the same time giving you more energy and endurance. It's not a sedative, just kind of gives you a feeling of inner peace while at the same time making you feel more invigorated. And it also posses this same dual directional immunomodulatory powers, which is very amazing.
And then it's other examples would be, for example, astragalus, which is a, you know, famous herb for many reasons you know, on the immune front, on the energy front, very popular amongst people in, you know, traditionally who were having to work out in the cold because one form of stress is a temperature stress. And our bodies have the ability to, you know, bring themselves back into balance, right? Like if you're cold, your body wants to move more or starts shivering or does things like that to bring your core body temperature up, you're too hot, your body starts sweating to cool off. So ultimately what these adaptogenic herbs are doing is strengthening the self regulating capacity that our bodies already have.
So I'm sure you know people who can't handle really hot weather they struggle to adapt in hot weather. Similarly, I'm sure you know people who hate going out in the cold and always have to, you know, they wanna live somewhere in Ohio or they wanna live in Florida and they wanna put on lots of layers if they have to go out in the cold. They would never go out, you know, on a freezing day in just to a T-shirt and shorts just to experience it and feel the freshness of it. Those are examples that people who are not self-regulating internally very well. And I'm sure we also know people who can be under great emotional stress or things that would cause a normal person great emotional stress, but they kind of, they handle it. They're just solid as a rock and other people, the littlest thing throws them off. So these herbs ultimately are strengthening the self regulating capacity that your body was born with.
Some other examples, you know, these are not only coming from China, adaptogens come from around the world. So we can go over to India and look at, for example, ashwagandha. It's a great herb for again for stress and anxiety, but also for energy supporting the endocrine system and, you know, the endocrine system and the hormones are kind of like the master switches of so many elements of your health. As you start getting those into a more balanced place, then so many aspects of your health start getting better. When your hormones are in a good place, you can handle stress way better.
And adaptogens are not just plants. They come also from the animal world. Things like polyrachis for example and deer antler and even for example, Shilajit, which is a mineral pitch that's secreted out of the Himalayas. And the ancient yogis would see these monkeys that would go lick the Shilajit as it was oozing out of the cracks in the rocks. And they would see these monkeys have incredible energy and be vibrantly healthy and they started consuming it themselves. And Shilajit for energy and just for overall robust vitality is an incredible thing to consume. So these are some of my favorite adaptogens, but there's so many more.
I highly encourage you to watch some of our other videos to learn more about some different adaptogens and understand the way that you can incorporate these into your life so that your life just is so much better. You can take on more, you can handle more or you can just, you know, be taking on the same amount that you're taking on now if it's already a lot, and do it without suffering through the process. So you can live an extraordinary life and really enjoy it without it being so difficult because life should be enjoyable. It should be fun. So thanks so much for joining us today, guys. I really appreciate it. Hope you're all doing well and look forward to seeing you again soon.