Ever since ancient time humankind have included plants on their daily diet both for nutritional and healing purposes. Nowadays we still use plants as food in forms of species, teas or condiments to enhance our physical and mental. For instance, we all have taken at least once, a good cup of chamomile to sleep better and feel restored the day after. However uses of plants can be different depending on directions, customs and traditions.
Adaptogen plants, for instance, have been used in many traditions for millennia - especially in China and India – as "rejuvenating herbs".
These plants are, in fact, essential for cellular metabolism to restore the function of all the body systems. Adaptogens are within the category of “functional food”, which are defined as foods that thanks to specific active components provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Modern research has proven that many of these herbs can be used for the prevention and treatment of a variety of common ailments thanks to their phytochemical compounds.
By definition, adaptogens are unique herbs that help us to adapt to all forms of stress, including emotional and psychological stress. Adaptogenic active components have in fact the potential to reduce the cellular sensitivity to stressors helping our neuroendocrine system to re-regulate the excess of hormones produced in case of prolonged-stress conditions.
Interestingly, adaptogen plants characteristically grow in environments with large shifts in day to nighttime temperatures. This ability to adapt to these fluctuations is in part what increases their adaptogenic properties.
Adaptogens’s phytonutrients act improving our non-specific response to stressors. "To clarify, a non-specific response in an organism implies the power of resistance or adaptation – the building of "adaptive energy" to keep the body balanced (i.e. homeostasis) when affected by multiple stressors or harmful influences"*.
Adaptogens stimulate, activate or promote a healthy response of the body in multiple non-specific ways. For this reason frequent and long-term use is highly recommended so as to have a good reserve of adaptive energy always "ready to use" in case of prolonged stress.
*Credits: Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston, RH(AHG) and Steven Maimes, published by Inner Traditions International and Bear & Company, ©2007. All rights reserved. http://www.Innertraditions.com. Reprinted with permission of publisher.