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Adaptogens: Natural Allies Help Neutralize the Effects of Stress and Fatigue

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by Shaheen Majeed -

Stress and fatigue are like a candle that is burning at both ends. Often, your body gives a lot hints that it is lurching off balance. And these hints could be anything—from having trouble making it through the day, difficulty in focusing, feeling exhausted, or being aware of feeling higher than normal stress levels, which in turn may be leading to hair loss, dull skin, insomnia, depressed immune function, or a troubled digestive system.

And in reaction, people are relying heavily on stimulants: chocolates, coffee, tea, and energy bars, and drinks which are assumed to be quick energy and mood fixers. In reality, though, sugar and caffeine provide quick lift instantly, they fail to provide long-term solutions. Instead, they just make it even worse by turning your day into a rollercoaster ride of sugar or caffeine highs and lows.

Adaptogens: Natural Alternatives to Artificial Quick Fixes

Alternatively, one can try healthier ways to get through the day, beat the over-powering stress and fatigue by adopting a special class of herbs called “adaptogens" that have long been used in the Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine systems of medicine for their potential to help the body adapt and rebalance. These herbs are known for restoring health, vitality, immunity, stamina, and promoting longevity, and to help the body adapt to stress and resist fatigue by “normalizing" or “regulating" the adrenal stress response.

There are a number of natural adaptogenic herbs, the most popular of which are:

Ashwagandha: Also known as Indian Ginseng, Ashwagandha is a common herb well recognized as a potent adaptogen—helping to improve the fighting capacity (adaptability) of the body against all kinds of stress. It is very well recognized in Ayurveda for varied medicinal uses. It is considered to rejuvenate the body on a cellular level and helps to increase stamina and endurance, and improve overall health and longevity. Various studies have also demonstrated useful effects of Ashwagandha on anxiety, stress and insomnia.

Indian Holy Basil (Tulsi): Tulsi (literally meaning “the incomparable one") is revered as a sacred plant in Ayurveda and is classified as ‘rasayana’, which means ‘lengthening of lifespan’. This member of the mint family has been known to be a revitalizer, mood elevator, and anti-aging elixir. Several studies have found that this herb is helpful in fighting anxiety, depression, stress, and it effectively regulates stress hormone (cortisol) levels.

Licorice: Traditionally, this herb has been known to promote many aspects of wellness. In the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia (1983), it is described as an adrenal agent and adrenocorticotropic. Licorice works by supporting the adrenal cortex, which participates in the stress response through production of glucocorticoids during prolonged stress, and supports recuperation after a particularly exhausting phase or disease.

Cissus quadrangularis: This perennial plant from the grape family is also known as veldt grape, devil's backbone, adamant creeper. It is reported to be an effective cortisol reducer. The anti-glucocorticoid properties of Cissus play a key role in preservation of muscle tissue during times of physical and emotional stress.

Other natural adaptogenic herbs that are used in different traditional systems of medicine include milk thistle, Rhodiola rosea, Ginseng eleuthero, Maca (Lepidium meyenii).

Nature has gifted mankind with effective herbs that have the distinctive ability to help the body fight against stress, fatigue, and exhaustion, and thus providing a sustained sense of calm, and promote overall health and vitality by virtue of their natural adaptogenic properties.

Shaheen Majeed, president of Sabinsa Worldwide, has been involved in nearly everything the Sami Labs / Sabinsa Group of Companies does. He oversees Sabinsa’s contract farming program to ensure best agricultural practices and fair pay for farmers, is deeply involved in cGMP and regulatory compliance at its factories and offices throughout the world, and oversees GRAS status applications. He holds board positions with Sabinsa, Sami Labs and Sami Direct, the Group’s multi-level marketing company in India. He oversees an extensive marketing program, Latin America business development, and guides many clinical studies through the publishing process. He has managed contract manufacturing, cosmetic marketing and launched VetVitals, the pet supplements ingredient line. Majeed’s first job was in the Sabinsa warehouse when he was just 17 years old, and over the past 23 years he has held a variety of positions representing the company's substantial portfolio of proprietary nutritional and cosmeceutical ingredients.

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