Friday, October 23, 2009

Adaptogens: Herbs For Strengthening and Balancing the Body

What are adaptogens?  Adaptogens are natural substances that are nontoxic, produce a nonspecific defense response to stress, and have a normalizing influence on the body.  They help the body to adapt to various environmental, biological, physical and emotional stressors, restoring balance to the body's systemic functions.  They're capable of either toning down the activity of hyper-functioning systems or strengthening the activity of hypo-functioning systems.  In other words, they are a safe boost to the body, helping it to function at optimum levels.  Adaptogens are considered to be tonics in that they nourish the organs and strengthen the protective energy of the body.  Tonics are safe and can usually be taken every day to help regulate and strengthen the body.  

Some important adaptogens used in Chinese medicine are Panax ginseng, Astragalus, Cordyceps, Codonopsis, Eleuthero, Polygonum multiflorum, Gynostemma, Lycium, Duanwood reishi, Rhodiola, and Schisandra. 

Look for follow-up posts highlighting these truly amazing herbs!

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