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Redd Remedies

What are Adaptogens?

I think it goes without saying that we are huge fans of adaptogens here at Redd. (I think I’ve talked about them once or twice in past blogs.) Adaptogens are incredible plants and (sometimes fungi) and they deserve some spotlight of their own. So the next handful of blog posts will focus on this exceptional group of herbs.

So what exactly is an adaptogen? This exceptional group of natural medicines helps the body adapt to stress, restore balance and support normal body functions. They have the unique ability to increase our resistance to stress – any kind of stress – mental, emotional, environmental or physical, whether it’s short term or chronic. The use of adaptogens as medicine dates back thousands of years to ancient China and India, but modern science is still playing “catch-up”. Modern research into adaptogens didn’t begin until the 1940’s in Russia and a formal definition wasn’t developed until 1968. While there is currently no “official” definition for an adaptogen that is recognized by any herbal or scientific body, scientists and researchers continue to use the 1968 definition of an adaptogen, developed by Dr. Israel I. Brekhman, PhD and Dr. I. V. Dardymov. In order for any plant or fungi to be considered “adaptogenic”, it should have the following 3 properties:

  • Adaptogens are nontoxic. Adaptogens should not be harmful. They must have very minimal side effects on overall health.
  • Adaptogens have nonspecific actions against stress. What does that mean, really? “Nonspecific” is simply a way to describe the “adaptive” properties ofthese agents – their ability to keep the body balanced in the face of multiple stressors.
  • Adaptogens are normalizing. Adaptogens work regardless of direction. If something needs to be “toned-down”, they’ll do that. If something needs a “tune-up”, they’ll do that too. They especially have this influence on the immune system, the nervous system and the endocrine system.

These 3 properties just highlight the common properties that all adaptogens share. Many adaptogens have a “highlight” or a “specialty” in the body. Many adaptogens are cardioprotective, liver-protective, and radioprotective (protect against radiation).
The health effects of adaptogens are diverse and their reach is broad.

So, I’ve given you a basic overview of adaptogens. You want to take them every day, right? We think you should. Here are a few known adaptogens: Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng), Ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea, Reishi mushroom, Holy basil and Schisandra. These are just a few. We’ll focus on specific adaptogens and their unique properties in future blog posts. And if you’ve been using some of our formulas, you probably already have felt the difference they can make in your daily life.

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