Adaptogenic Botanicals

Man Tea Rock-Hard Formula

Best Treatments for Mental Impotence

Get Instant Access

The term adaptogen is used to characterize the medicinal plants that can improve the nonspecific response to stress and promote recovery from stress. Because the body interprets exercise as an essentially stressful event, responding, for example, with increased pulse, respiration, and blood pressure, athletes can benefit from incorporating adaptogenic herbs into supplement regimens. (See Table 28-3 on page 323.)

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) retains modest glucocorticoid activity via its cortisol-sparing effect. Glycyrrhizin, a component of licorice, inhibits the activity of 11-beta-hydroxy-steroid dehydrogenase, which leads to an increase in cortisol half-life.29 Glycyrrhizin can bind to glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors, exerting a weak mimetic effect.30 In addition, licorice inhibits phospholipase A2, which then lowers inflammatory prostaglandin and leu-kotriene production.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has active components, withanolides, which have a sterol structure and are thought to be the main inducers of the herb's glucocorticoid-like effects.

Table 28-3. Adaptogenic Herbal Supports

Latin Binomials

Common Names

Parts Used and Dosages

Glycyrrhiza glabra3

Withania somnifer3

Panax ginseng

Eleutherococcus senticosus

Licorice Ashwaganda Korean ginseng Siberian ginseng

Dried root: 1,000-2,000 mg per day3 Fluid extract: 2-4 mL per day3 Fluid extract: 1-2 mL per day Dried herb: 3,000-4,000 mg per day Fluid extract: 1-2 mL per day Dried herb: 3,000-4,000 mg per day Fluid extract: 1-2 mL per day Dried root: 400 mg 2-4 times per day

NOTE: Caution must be taken to cycle herbs to avoid side effects caused by long-term supplementation that are not yet well-defined in studies. These effects may include habituation, development of allergic sensitivity, or disturbance of innate physiologic pathways. aMonitor blood pressure.

NOTE: Caution must be taken to cycle herbs to avoid side effects caused by long-term supplementation that are not yet well-defined in studies. These effects may include habituation, development of allergic sensitivity, or disturbance of innate physiologic pathways. aMonitor blood pressure.

Given to animals exposed to experimental physical stress, ashwagandha produces anti-stress and anabolic activity similar to that of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng).31 When administered to animals, Siberian ginseng, more accurately known as eleuthero, (Eleutherococcus senticosus) inhibited many of the biologic changes accompanying extreme stress, such as adrenal weight changes, increasing cortisol levels, and blood-sugar levels.32 A large body of research has demonstrated an enhanced response to physical or chemical stress in animals that have been given Asian ginseng or its active components.33 In a double-blind study, an Asian ginseng root extract that was added to the base of a multivitamin improved subjective parameters in a population exposed to the stress of high physical and mental activity, suggesting an adaptogenic or antistress ability of this combination in humans.34 A review of the body of literature regarding the clinical trials of eleuthero's anti-stress effects on more than 2,100 healthy human subjects ranging in age from 19 to 72, suggested that the subjects who took this botanical had an increased ability to accommodate to adverse physical conditions, had improved mental performance, and enhanced quality of work under stressful conditions.31 Another study demonstrated increased exercise time to exhaustion in swimming rats that had been given this herb, as well as attenuated changes of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis under extreme conditions in the animals.35 (See Chapter 1 on adrenal fatigue.)

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Insider Nutrition Secrets

Insider Nutrition Secrets

Secrets To Living Longer And Healthier Revealed By Nutrition Scientist! Insider Nutrition Secrets. Have you ever wondered what it might be like to find the long lost Fountain of Youth? We cant promise you that, but we can give you a close second. Starting today, learn the facts about what your body really needs to survive longer and healthier. Discover insider information from a former food and drug expert. Learn how a new food or drug is developed from the beginning until it finally reaches your grocers shelves.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment