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Adaptogens: restoring balance and calm

Adaptogens are a natural support in our busy lives where we long to ditch stress and find some peace.

Do read on for some inspiration. Harmony is Life® offers a solution exactly for you.

Finding the stillness

You know those nights when thoughts won’t let you fall asleep and you’re lying there feeling tense. Pressing on your mind is the need to wake up early for that long list of things: to order a purchase, an online meeting with colleagues, how to manage a new work project, pick up a present for Mum, when will the plumber call back, what to cook for the family tonight? So much to think about and no holiday in sight.

In our busy lives it’s no wonder we can feel tired and stressed!

Our friend Nature offers us solutions

Stress situations are to be approached individually. That is the basic rule. Each and every one of us has different worries, different threshold of stress and different stress triggers. People have been learning how to deal with stress for centuries. In the past there were only natural remedies available. But from that comes the knowledge, that there is a wide array of plants, roots and fungi, that helps us to balance the stress loads. More precisely – they teach the body how to deal with stress. We call them adaptogens, because they help the user to adapt to surrounding changes, that might influence us negatively. Nature has given us this protective connectivity, because what affects the psyche will also affect the body.

The term adaptogen itself is not codified in European legislation, but we but we meet that term more and more often. In 2008 European Medicines Agency (EMA) commissioned a detailed investigation into adaptogens in view of their positive benefits.

The most known adaptogens are funghi: Reishi, Cordyceps, Chaga; herbs: Holy Basil or Ashwagandha; plant roots: Ginseng, Turmeric and Maca.

Adaptogens, however, are not just of purely plant origin. A highly valued and still a bit mysterious adaptogen is Mumio, the so-called mountain resin, which comprises a number of minerals combined with herbal components.

A little bit of history

The beginning of the 20th century was fraught with two world wars. This brought to the fore new topics of scientific research. Soviet pharmacologist Nikolaj V. Lazarev (1895–1974) researched active substances that would increase the endurance and resilience of military pilots. He searched in Nature and in 1947 created the name “adaptogens” for a specific group of substances of plant origin. It was known, that those plants would increase resistance to stress.

The pharmacological action of adaptogens was later specified by Lazarev’s successor Israel Brechman, who confirmed that adaptogens are non-toxic. Their effects non-specifically increase the overall resistance to unfavorable factors (chemical, biological, physical) and normalize the functioning of organ systems in the body. The degree of effectiveness of adaptogens is then directly proportional to the degree of load on the organism.

The miracle of the first root

An interesting thing is one of the first adaptogens, after which the latter ones were named, was Asian Ginseng – “the root of life”. There was a Latin family name chosen for him: Panax, whereby panax was a general term for “all-healing medicine”. It is no exaggeration to say that all adaptogens used to be called ginseng – Asian Ginseng (Panax Ginseng), Siberian Ginseng (Spiny Eleutherococcus), Peruvian Ginseng (Peruvian watercress – Maca), Alaskan Ginseng (Threatening Oplopanax), Indian Ginseng (Ashwagandha). [1] Their power was used by Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurveda, they also have a tradition in Russian medicine. Adaptogens were even well known to the original inhabitants of America.

Why use adaptogens?

The principle of adaptogens lies in their unspecific action. They are not stimulants, but act by harmonizing the human organism. There is a gradual softening of significant stress reactions to replace debilitating mood swings.

Stress is just a natural reaction of the body, getting ready for attack or escape. Inner or outer causes of threat trigger response reactions within the human body. The glands begin to produce stress hormones, one of which is adrenaline. One is actually aroused by stress.

Thanks to adaptogens the human body reacts better on these states of being and can more easily cope with them. The huge family of adaptogens equally gives the vitality needed to the body. It is no sudden buzz as it is when drinking an energy drink – but a cumulative, lasting effect.

The magic of adaptogens thus lies in their effect on the hormonal glands of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal glands, which set the body’s energy balance.

Nice close up

Reishi

Reishi is considered the superior herb in Chinese herbalism and is used to treat various diseases to promote holistic health and vitality. It contains up to 400 biologically active substances, such as iron, zinc, copper, manganese, germanium and valuable polysaccharides and triterpenes. For millennia, it has been used to prevent and treat various diseases, such as chronic hepatitis, inflammation of the kidneys, high blood pressure, bronchitis and cancer. It is a strong stimulus to the immunity system and thus protects the whole body. The Reishi mushroom is highly valued in oriental and traditional Chinese medicine for its highly positive effect on health and longevity. [2]

Chaga

Chaga is one of the most effective adaptogens and, according to the latest studies, it has a harmonizing effect on individual organs, strengthens nerves, the brain and improves cellular metabolism. [3] [4] It is a strong antioxidant [5] and also contains a number of minerals, polysaccharides (betaglucans), essential amino acids or triterpenes. On deciduous trees of in Siberia, especially at birches, this hardy fungus finds a “home”. Old Russians used to pour hot water on the Chaga powder and drank this medicinal extract called zavarka. [6]

Cordyceps

Cordyceps contains numerous bioactive ingredients, of which cordycepin is the most valuable one, due to its strong nutritional and therapeutic potential. Traditional Chinese medicine recommended Cordyceps to enhance the life energy of qi. According to research, Cordyceps has antidepressant effects and energizes the body as a whole. Cordyceps is an unusual fungus that has a very strong position in TCM. It grows in harsh climatic conditions on the Himalayan plateau.

Maca

The Peruvian cress or Maca has its place in the pantheon of adaptogens in connection with fertility and sexuality. Studies have shown its aphrodisiac effects in men and women and the promotion of hormonal balance in menopause. It contains zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron. Maca, although known in the Andes for centuries, is only now beginning to be further studied for its adaptogenic properties.

Holy Basil

Sacred Basil or Tulsi has long been used in Indian Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine. It has a therapeutic effect, soothes and relieves stress. It grows in Asia, possibly in other tropical areas, and has a stronger effect than the more common Basil. For aromatherapeutic effects, we offer it in a mixture with Sweet Basil as a treat to add to your bath.

Turmeric

The original homeland of Turmeric is India and has almost versatile uses in Ayurveda. It helps the body fight inflammation and increases its overall resilience. According to traditional healing, Turmeric brings health and prosperity. Due to its intense yellow color, Turmeric powder symbolized the sun during ceremonies, and thanks to its antidepressant effects, Turmeric extracts can help to clear “brain fog”.

How to use adaptogens?

With the help of adaptogens organ systems are able to cope faster with stress and return to a state of homeostatic rest. The recommended period of use is 2-3 months, then it is advisable to take a break for the time of the same length and let the substances work in the body.

Natural adaptogens are not on the list of banned doping substances and their regular use has proved particularly useful for athletes (such as Cordyceps). Adaptogens are also recommended for women who are going through menopause. They help to effectively manage the emotional stress and physical problems associated with this phase of life.

Adaptogens from Harmony is Life®

We believe, that adaptogens are the “anti-stress vaccine” of the future. For their unique properties, they have a firm place in our offer. They can be effectively combined with each other and with other natural supplements. As a bonus, they taste good and we highly recommend them as part of your varied diet. 

Do you already know which of the adaptogens is the best fit for you?

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