When under stress, the body reacts by producing adrenaline and cortisol, which puts the whole body in a state of alert. These chemical signals prepare the body and mind for stress. Your metabolism, blood pressure and circulation are disrupted. Immunity and resistance to disease are drastically reduced. Mental and physical performance suffers. ln short, stress undermines health and depletes your sense of well-being. Adaptogens have a proven ability to combat stress in all forms.
At the cellular level, stress can inhibit the passage of energy through the cell walls. This reduced energy level affects your ability to perform physical functions, and inhibits the proper function of all the body’s organs - including the brain.
All of these plants, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Ginseng, Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng), Holy Basil (Tulsi), can increase the body’s resistance to a variety of stressors. Experiments have conclusively demonstrated that these particular plants change the course of the primary physiological indicators of stress.
Put simply, adaptogens help the body balance itself. This is a healing process. Everybody responds differently. ln the first phase, some people experience some signs of adjustment, such as fatigue, headache or loose stools This can be a normal part of the balancing process; if this happens, cut back your serving to one half of what you are presently taking. Drink plenty of water. As your body adjusts, you can gradually increase your serving portion.
Although most people eventually use the recommended serving size, you may discover your ideal serving to be less or more, or even at a different time of day. Some people who are highly responsive to adaptogens may feel tired with the recommended serving and need only a half serving. Some divide the recommended serving into two portions, taking one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Remember to listen to your own body to find what works best for you.
A study of people performing physical labor revealed that when adaptogens were administered, all test subjects showed an improvement in their general physical and mental states. There was also an improvement in functional indicators (pulse, arterial pressure, vital capacity, back muscle strength, hand endurance under static tension coordination of move- ment) and a reduction in the duration of the recovery period in all test subjects.
Through extensive experiments on swimmers, skiers and other athletes, scientists around the world have reliably demonstrated the value of adaptogens for increasing stamina and accelerating the recovery processes after physical exertion. In experiments simulating the effects of extreme changes in altitude on mountain rescue workers, the normalizing action of adaptogens on metabolic disorders occurring under such conditions was revealed.
The use of adaptogens had a normalizing action on the synthesis of RNA during stress, as well as contributing to the normalization of protein, vitamin and water-salt metabolism. Extremes in bodily functions like high cholesterol and low haemoglobin levels, irregular sugar levels and abnormal blood pressure may be normalized with the support of adaptogens, which activate and regulate normal and efficient blood circulation. At the same time the utilization of adaptogens in no way disrupts the function of these bodily systems.
As a result of their normal function, body cells make toxic molecules called “free radicaIs"- each molecule is missing an electron. Because the free- radical molecule wants its full electron complement, it reacts with any molecule from which it can take an electron. When the free radical takes an electron from certain key components in the cell (such as fat, protein. or DNA molecules). it damages the cell in a process known as oxidation. In addition to free radicals that occur naturally in the body, they also occur as the result of environmental influences. These include ultraviolet radiation or airborne pollutants (such as cigarette smoke) which contribute to cell oxidation and may accelerate the aging process. lf you think smoke is not damaging, just look around at the people who have been doing it for a while. You'Il notice that their skin is usually rougher and more wrinkled than most others their age who do not smoke. And almost all have a cough they`ve become so accustomed to they don’t even notice it. Antioxidants (oxidation inhibitors) that occur naturally in the human body and in certain foods may block a number of this damage by donating electrons to stabilize and neutralize the harmful effects of the free radicals.
Adaptogens possess an antioxidant action. Adaptogenic extracts have a favorable influence on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, providing important support for people carrying out physical work loads. For example, athletes taking adaptogens and working out heavily, experienced a lower de- mand on the cardiovascular system. In another observation of shift workers in the Siberian gas industry, the favorable influence of adaptogens on the dynamics of the cardiovascular system and its protective effects during severe climatic and working conditions were also registered. Adaptogens render a marked cardio-protective effect during painful emotional stress by decreasing excess adrenal hormone secretions and their potential damage to the heart muscle.