Holy Basil, Batman! This Stuff is Amazing!


In the recently released Lego Batman movie, the film starts with Batman’s voice describing the opening credits.  When he gets to one particular production company logo he says something like, “I don’t know what these guys do, but they have a really cool logo.”  I wonder if something similar doesn’t happen when people see Holy Basil listed an an ingredient in an herbal combination.  “I don’t know what it does, but it has a cool sounding name.”   Well, if that is the case, it is time that I, AdaptoGenie, educate you about this powerful and versatile adaptogen.

Holy Basil or Tulsi is one of the most potent herbs alive.  The name “Tulsi” means “The Incomparable One” because of its unique health benefits.  The herb was a staple of Hindu mythology and considered sacred by the Indian royalty.

Also known as Ocimum sanctum L. Holy Basil is a member of the mint family and is native to Southeast Asia. It has a history within Ayurvedic medicine and thus has been used for a myriad of conditions.  It’s versatility affirms it’s nickname as the “Queen of Herbs.”  Here are just a few of the health benefits of Holy Basil.

Holy Basil1

Stress Relief

As an adaptogen, Holy Basil helps your body adapt to stress and promotes mental balance, but scientific research also shows that holy basil has certain pharmacological properties that help your mind cope with many types of stress.

Holy basil has been shown to increase endurance and lower stress levels in both human and animal studies.  Animals who had holy basil leaf extracts and went through environment induced-stress scenarios demonstrated

  • enhanced metabolism
  • improved swimming time
  • less tissue damage
  • lower stress levels in loud environments

Humans experienced reduced:

  • stress
  • sexual problems
  • sleep problems
  • forgetfulness
  • fatigue

According to the Journal of Ayurvedic Medicine, holy basil has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties.



Holy basil is also high in anti-oxidants and helps your body detox.  Studies show that holy basil can protect your body against toxic chemicals. It may also reduce the growth of cancerous cells.

Holy basil helps to strengthen the body’s immune system, allowing it to fight off opportunistic parasites such as candida, viruses and staph infections.


Anti-inflammatory/Wound Healing

Holy Basil extracts have been used to boost wound healing because the plant has the following properties:

  • antibacterial
  • antiviral
  • antifungal
  • anti-inflammatory
  • analgesic (a painkiller)

Holy basil increases your wound’s breaking strength, healing time, and contraction. Breaking strength refers to how much pressure or weight a wound can take before it breaks.

Lower blood sugar

This could be good news if you or someone you know suffers with type 2 diabetes. Holy basil can help reduce your blood sugar levels.  Animal and human trials have shown that holy basil can help prevent symptoms of diabetes such as:

  • weight gain
  • excess insulin in the blood
  • high cholesterol
  • insulin resistance
  • hypertension

According to the research, rats who received holy basil extract saw a 24 percent decrease in blood sugar after 30 days.


Control Cortisol Levels:

One of the key benefits that many adaptogenic herbs offer is their ability to lower and stabilize cortisol levels.  High cortisol drains the precursers to major hormones such as testosterone, progesterone and estrogen.

As a result, the body becomes sex hormone deficient.  This process rapidly accelerates the aging process and makes life much less enjoyable.

Healthy individuals have stable cortisol levels that naturally spike in the morning and then level off and stay consistently low during the day before tapering at night.  This allows us to wake up with energy in the morning and maintain that energy until nightfall when we should naturally be gearing down and getting ready for sleep.

Stable cortisol levels result in improved mental clarity and memory.  The individual feels as though they are less agitated and anxious and therefore able to perform better.

With all this going for it, it’s easy to see why Holy Basil is so highly regarded by ayurvedic practitioners and why it is a key component of many herbal formulas.  Like Batman, Holy Basil may disguise itself as a mild mannered garden plant, but don’t be deceived, this little herb has superpowers!

  1. Cohen, M. M. (2014, October-December). Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine 5(4), 251-259.
  2. Yates, Beverly. Holy basil: An overview of the research and clinical indications. (n.d.).
  3. Wagner H, Nörr H, Winterhoff H. Plant adaptogens. Phytomedicine. 1994 Jun;1(1):63-76. PMID: 23195818
  4. Garabadu D, Shah A, Ahmad A, Joshi VB, Saxena B, Palit G, Krishnamurthy S. Eugenol as an anti-stress agent: modulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and brain monoaminergic systems in a rat model of stress. Stress. 2011 Mar;14(2):145-55. PMID: 21034296
  5. Hussain EHMA, Jamil K, Rao M. Hypoglycaemic, hypolipidemic and antioxidant properties of tulsi (Ocimum sanctum linn) on streptozotocin induced diabetes in rats. Indian Journal of Clinical Biochemistry. 2001;16(2):190-194.
  6. Pattanayak P, Behera P, Das D, Panda SK. Ocimum sanctum Linn. A reservoir plant for therapeutic applications: An overview. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2010;4(7):95-105.
  7. Prakash P, Gupta N. Therapeutic uses of Ocimum sanctum Linn (Tulsi) with a note on eugenol and its pharmacological actions: a short review. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;49(2):125-31. PMID: 16170979
  8. Baliga MS, Jimmy R, Thilakchand KR, Sunitha V, Bhat NR, Saldanha E, Rao S, Rao P, Arora R, Palatty PL. Ocimum sanctum L (Holy Basil or Tulsi) and its phytochemicals in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Nutr Cancer. 2013;65 Suppl 1:26-35. PMID: 23682780
  9. Agarwal, C., Sharma, N. L., & Gaurav, S. S. (2015, January). Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) leaf extract enhances specific cognitive parameters in healthy adult volunteers: A placebo controlled study. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology1(4), 180-183.
  10. Bhattacharyya, D., Sur, T. K., Jana, U., & Debnath, P. K. (2008). Controlled programmed trial of Ocimum sanctum leaf on generalized anxiety disorders. Nepal Medical College Journal, 10, 176-179. 10(4) 668-671.pdf
  11. Ocimum tenuiflorum (holy basil). (n.d.).

Adaptogens Are Becoming Mainstream!

While it may be true that I, AdaptoGenie, am the world’s foremost expert on adaptogens, I am not the only source of information about these amazing plants.  The truth is, more and more health experts are becoming aware of the power of adaptogens.  Even mainstream publications are now touting the benefits of adaptogens.  Check out this terrific online article published recently by Shape Magazine.  The author is Sara Angle.


I couldn’t agree more, Sara.  Adaptogens are definitely worth the hype and should be a part of everyone’s daily regimen.

For Better Sleep, Count Adaptogens Not Sheep!

If the three primary pillars of mind body health are diet, exercise and sleep, we cannot afford to neglect any one of them.  For many, getting a good night’s rest can be the most difficult of the three to manage.  In today’s non-stop, ever more complex world, stress can often be a deterrent to a good night’s sleep.  And of course pain, discomfort and even overeating can disrupt your slumber.

Fortunately, there are a number of adaptogens that can help remove these sleep barriers and relax your mind and body for an even deeper, more rejuvenating sleep.  Researchers have determined that adaptogens help you to manage stress by modulating the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands. They do this by affecting the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (or HPA axis for short).

Here is how the HPA axis works according to the School of Modern Herbal Medicine:

“First, the brain perceives danger (stress) it signals the hypothalamus to release the hormone CRH. CRH travels to the pituitary where it stimulates the release of ACTH. ACTH travels through the blood stream to the adrenal cortex where it stimulates the release of cortisol and other glucocorticode hormones. At the same time, the sympathetic nervous system triggers the adrenal medulla to release epinephrine (adrenaline). When cortisol levels rise in the blood, they inhibit the release of CRH and ACTH from the hypothalamus and pituitary, thus shutting down the stress response.

Unfortunately, this cascade can be retriggered by another stressful event. So, when we have a series of stressful situations during the day, the feelings of stress tend to ramp up, increasing feelings of anxiousness and distress.

So, let’s say you have a bad day, one where you face one challenge after the other. You wake up late and skip breakfast. You get caught in a traffic jam that makes late for work. Your boss chews you out. You get an unexpected bill. You find out that a member of your family has a serious illness. As each one of these situations occur, the stress response is turned on and the levels of stress hormones in your body get higher and higher until you feel so wound up you can’t think straight and start making a lot of mistakes. Worse yet, you’re so stressed you can’t get a good night’s sleep.”

This is where adaptogens can help. They inhibit the production of CRH and ACTH from the hypothalamus and pituitary, reducing the overall output of stress hormones. This means that the stress hormones don’t ramp up with each stressful event, allowing you to meet life’s challenges with less tension and anxiety, more energy and greater mental clarity.

So, how can we counteract the effects of stress?  Well, here are 8, count them 8, adaptogens that help you better deal with stress and get the rest you need to maintain a healthy mind and body.


1) Eleuthero Root

Eleuthero was the first herb identified as an adaptogen and has been researched extensively. In Russia, they conducted hundreds of clinical trials measuring its adaptogenic effects in a wide variety of stressful situations. They documented improvement in mental alertness, energy, work output and the performance of both physical and mental tasks. For example, studies showed that athletes had better stamina, increased oxygen uptake, improved performance and faster recovery when taking eleuthero. Factory workers and truck drivers got sick less often. There were also reports of reduced fatigue and better sleep. Anxiety also decreased in workers and performance improved. Patients receiving drugs for gastric cancer had less damage to the immune system and needed lower doses of those drugs.

It is also useful for athletes, people who work night shifts, and aiding mental alertness and memory when a person is under a lot of stress. It can also be helpful for adrenal fatigue and jet lag. Eleuthero root is well tolerated by men, women, teenagers, the elderly and everyone in between.


2) Cordyceps

Cordyceps entered Western medicine after the Chinese government demonstrated its efficacy at the Olympic games in Beijing, where the Chinese athletes set new world records in nearly every competition they entered. The spectacular performance of the athletes stimulated a burst of pharmacological and clinical research into its health benefits. Research suggests that cordyceps has a balancing effect on the immune system. It can stimulate the immune system for people who suffer from frequent infections (especially respiratory infections) or who have cancer. It also calms down hyperimmune reactions in people with allergic asthma, hayfever and autoimmune diseases of the kidney.

3) Ashwaganda

An important herb from Ayurvedic medicine, ashwaganda is a nervine and adrenal tonic that helps anxiety, depression, exhaustion and poor muscle tone. It reduces the effects of stress, while promoting energy and vitality. It is used as a supporting herb for recovery from debilitating diseases, and is effective for treating sexual dysfunction caused by stress. In addition to helping the adrenal glands, Ashwaganda is also helpful for the thyroid. It boosts the conversion of T4 (the thyroid storage hormone) to T3 (the active thyroid hormone). Generally speaking Ashwaganda is a good adaptogen for women.


4) Schizandra

This adaptogen is a general tonic that helps to balance the entire body. It improves circulation, strengthens the heart, aids digestion and increases bile secretion. In traditional Chinese Medicine it is thought to harmonize the body and help one retain energy. It helps to keep the nervous system balanced, increasing both excitatory and inhibitory action. It also has hepatoprotective effects like milk thistle. Schizandra is a good adaptogen for people who tend to run on the dry side, since it helps the body retain moisture.

5) Astragalus

Astragalus is an adaptogenic and tonic herb used in Chinese medicine to boost energy and strengthen immunity. Research suggests that the polysaccharides and saponins in astragalus may be helpful to those with heart disease, improving heart function and providing relief from symptoms. It appears to restore immune and adrenal function in people whose immune systems have been weakened by chemotherapy or chronic illness and has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Astragalus may also have benefits in treating allergic asthma.


6) Holy Basil

Used in Ayurvedic medicine, Holy Basil is a general tonic that protects the heart from stress, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and stabilizes blood sugar levels. It reduces feelings of stress and down regulates excessive immune responses in conditions like hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and asthma. At the same time it enhances cerebral circulation, memory, concentration and mental acuity.

7) Rhodiola

Another adaptogen from Russia, rhodiola aids mental clarity, memory, energy, production and stress reduction. It is astringent and drying, so it is not a good adaptogen for people whose constitutions run on the dry side.


8) Reishi (Ganoderma)

This medicinal mushroom has been shown to have immune enhancing effects as well as acting as a general health tonic. Research suggests that reishi relaxes muscles, improves sleep, eases chronic pain, aids heart function, reduces cholesterol and has antioxidant effects.

So, if you are not getting the sleep you need or if you are just looking to relieve stress so you can relax and go to sleep, don’t turn to dangerous and addictive sleep medications, take it from AdaptoGenie, try these safe but effective adaptogens and get the rest you need.

Be a Better Lover With These 4 Adaptogens!

Sure, flowers and chocolates are nice, but if you really want to give a great Valentines gift, might I suggest upping your game in the lovemaking department? The best think about a Valentine’s gift of increased sexual performance, is that it is a gift that will last for months and years after February 14, 2017 has come and gone.

So, why should you take lovemaking advice from  AdaptoGenie?  Well, I have been around for centuries and I have witnessed hundreds of so-called performance enhancers.  And while there may be any number of things that have been classified as aphrodisiacs and/or bedroom boosters, I happen to know the ones that have stood the test of time and have proven to be the most effective.  Why adaptogens to fix your intimacy issues?  For many people, low libido is a direct result of hormonal imbalance, such as low testosterone in men.  Exposure to certain chemicals and poor diet can affect one’s sexual desire and ability to perform.  For this reason, supplementing with natural products can be critical. Adaptogens not only aid the body in holistically adapting to various exposures and stress, but they also help improve circulation, warm the body, and correct underlying hormonal imbalances. In short, they can restore desire and improve performance.


Let me share with you 4 adaptogens that are AdaptoGenie certified to make you a better lover.  (Could this be called adaptogenic 4play?)


  1. Ashwagandha – Used traditional in Ayurvedic medicine to boost libido and fertility in both men and women, ashwagandha has actually been proven in scientific studies to increase vitality, fertility and sex drive.  In one study, researchers concluded that Ashwagandha was found to effectively reduce oxidative stress and thereby solidify its traditional use as a sexual tonic for men.
  2. Maca – Maca is an Andean root that resembles a radish or a turnip and has traditionally been used to balance hormones and boost libido.  Recently, analytical chemists discovered two previously unknown groups of novel compounds in maca, the macamides and macaenes. And though these compounds occur in very small quantities, their effect is significant. Experiments with animals show these two groups of compounds to be very powerful sex and energy enhancers. In the experiments, frequency of copulation and stamina increased radically as the quantities of macamides and macaenes in the diet increased.
  3. Rhodiola – A perennial plant that grows in artic regions of the world, Rhodiola can boost sexual desire in both men and women. At a recent meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, Philip R. Muskin, MD, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, and chair of the APA scientific program committee said the following about rhodiola, “Rhodiola appears to have a beneficial effect in enhancing sexual function, it improves satisfaction, pleasure, erections, response to orgasms.”
  4. Eleuthero – Eleuthero not only improves libido but also enhances fertility in both men and women.  With improved sexual fertility comes an enhancement in sexual drive. In addition, the herb also contains estrogens, which are important in controlling menopausal symptoms and hot flashes. Menopausal women often have low sex drives and many health experts recommend the use of eleuthero for libido enhancement.


So there you have it folks, start taking your adaptogens and be a better lover!  This year don’t give a Valentines gift, BE a Valentines gift!

If Mama Ain’t Happy…

How does the old saying go?  “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”  Most people can relate to this statement.  But, just because you can relate, doesn’t mean you necessarily know exactly how to make mama happy.  While both genders are subject to the blues and depression now and then, women are twice as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than men. There are a number of explanations for this including biological reasons, psychological reasons and sociocultural explanations.

Let’s start with the biological reasons.  First of all, women may have a stronger genetic predisposition to developing depression and compared to men, women are much more subjected to fluctuating hormone levels. This is especially the case around the time of childbirth and during menopause, both of which are associated with an increased risk of developing depression.



There are also some psychological reasons that women are more prone to moderate to severe depression.  Women are more ruminative than men, that is, they tend to think about things more—which, though a very good thing, may also predispose them to developing depression. In contrast, men are more likely to react to difficult times with stoicicism, anger or substance misuse.  In addition, women are generally more invested in relationships than men. Relationship problems are likely to affect them more, and so they are more likely to develop depression.

Finally, there are a couple of sociocultural reasons that may explain why women tend to battle with depression more than men.  Women live longer than men. Old age is often associated with bereavement, poor health, and loneliness.  All of these can lead to depression.


Women are also more likely to receive and accept a diagnosis of depression. For starters, they are more likely to consult a physician and to discuss their feelings with the doctor. Conversely, physicians (whether male or female) may be more likely to diagnosis depression in a woman.

So ladies, those are the unfortunate facts.  You’re more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.  However, don’t despair, your friend  AdaptoGenie is here with some herbal wisdom.  Here is a list of  3 adaptogenic herbs that help balance female hormones and assist women in preventing or dealing with depression and anxiety.


1. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha is a popular herb in the Indian system of medicine Ayurveda. Ashwagandha has a balancing effect on the adrenal glands and the thyroid. People with hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are both benefited by taking Ashwagandha extract.

Ashwagandha can reduce stress, improve blood circulation, and prevent premature aging. It is considered an aphrodisiac, and is used to treat erectile dysfunction in men, but its ability to relieve stress is thought to be behind this effect. A similar effect on women is attributed to increased blood flow to the reproductive organs.

As the species name ‘somnifera’ suggests, Ashwagandha improves sleep. It has a rejuvenating effect on older people, helping them to regain physical vigor and vitality. It also improves memory.


2. Maca root (Lepidium meyenii)

The root of this turnip-like plant belonging to the cabbage family is called Peruvian ginseng after its native place, though it is actually no relative of true ginseng. The highly nutritious root is used as a vegetable, and is consumed in the Andean cuisine. But what made it popular is its energy boosting effect that is thought to have provided strength and stamina to the Inca warriors of old.

The hormone balancing effect of this root provides additional benefits like stress relief. Maca root has plant hormones that confer special benefits to women such as relieving premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.


2. Suma root (Pfaffia paniculata)

Suma is native to South America.  The root extract of this herb is known to normalize endocrine function, improve immunity, and increase strength and performance. In its native land, Suma is known as a ‘cure all,’ and it is used for treating a large number of ailments besides being used as a general tonic and calming agent.

Suma is also known as ‘Russian Secret’ because Russian athletes used an ergogenic compound ecdysterone extracted from the Suma plant to increase sports performance. It was found to be free of the side effects associated with many other anabolic steroids. Although it remained a well kept secret of the Russians for quite some time, this compound is now used by sportspersons everywhere. Other uses of this herb includes enhancing memory, stimulating appetite, and balancing blood sugar levels.


Whether you currently suffer from depression or have a history of depression and anxiety in your family or are just looking to generally improve your mood, adding these 3 powerful adaptogens to your daily routine will do wonders.  Look, now mama is happy and everybody is happy about that!


7 New Year’s Resolutions For Better Health

Along with the fanfare and excitement that accompanies the start of a new year, there is often also a mental shift that motivates you to set new goals, to modify negative behaviors and to form more productive and healthy habits.  Having seen my share of New Years come and go, AdaptoGenie would like to recommend 7 New Year’s resolutions that are guaranteed to make a difference in the way you look and feel in 2017.

  1. Drink more water – We all know that water is critical to survival, but you may be surprised to learn how many health benefits are gained simply by increasing your consumption of H2O.  Things like muscle recovery, pain prevention, clearer skin, cold and flu prevention, sinus decongestion and better mental acuity have all been tied directly to the amount of water one consumes.  So, make one of your 2017 resolutions, drink more water.drinking-water
  2. Maintain a healthy pH balance – If you could do one thing to immediately improve your health, this may be it. Life itself is dependent on a proper pH balance.  Fish cannot survive if a lake becomes too acidic, and plants cannot grow in soil that does not have a proper pH balance.  When the body becomes too acidic, you become susceptible to disease.  When a proper pH balance is maintained you will enjoy more elastic and youthful skin, deeper more restful sleep, improved energy levels, better digestion, less arthritis, less candida, and increased mental alertness.
  3. Get more sleep – Much like drinking water, most of us we think we know the benefits of more sleep, like increased energy and fewer dark circles under the eyes.  However, their are many health benefits from getting a better night’s rest that you may find surprising.  These include increased creativity, improved memory, less inflammation and weight loss.  Getting more sleep even increases your chances of living longer. In a 2010 study of women ages 50 to 79, more deaths occurred in women who got less than five hours of sleep per night.Man sleeping
  4. Unplug and meditate daily – In our relentless and fast paced society we’ve forgotten the importance of taking a few minutes each day to just relax and think, ponder or meditate.  The health benefits of this daily habits can be enormous. Meditation chemically boosts happiness, curbs anxiety and reduces pain. It also lowers blood pressure and reduces the likelihood of heart disease or stroke.  Daily meditation will also slow aging in the brain’s gray matter and helps keep your chromosomes young.  Now isn’t all of that worth finding some time each day to just be.meditation
  5. Smile more – Smiling may seem like an involuntary response to something funny, but it is much more than that. Research has shown that smiling, forced or not, can positively affect your mood, decrease stress and even make those around you feel better.  Smiling has been connected to lower levels of stress and anxiety, a stronger immune system, increased attractiveness to the opposite sex and the perception that you are trustworthy, approachable and a better leader. smile 
  6. Help someone else with their health issues – Albert Schweitzer said, “The only really happy people are those who have learned to serve.”  He could have said they same about really HEALTHY people.  According to a recent Huffington Post article, people who help others have less stress, lower blood pressure, fewer bouts with depression, less pain and inflammation and they live longer.  So, help others and help yourself. Its a win/win.                                                   service
  7. Consume more adaptogens – Well, you know I couldn’t  put together a health list without including adaptogens.  Those of you who follow this blog are becoming more and more educated as to the incredible health benefits of these amazing plants.  Those of you who are new, I encourage you to take a minute and read some of the past blogs.  You’ll quickly see why including adaptogens in your daily routine is such a great idea.

It’s a New Year and its the perfect time to start forming some new habits.  This can be the year that you transform yourself with some simple lifestyle changes.  I encourage you to try these seven healthy habits and see what happens.  You can thank me later.

You Sing, I Sing, We All Sing For Ginseng!

Lots of us sing during the holiday season. Like us, you can be singing about ginseng, one of the most well-known adaptogens. But understand this: not all plants that are known as ginseng are truly indeed ginseng.


The reason for that is this: the “original” ginseng plant (Asian ginseng) has such a reputation for healing that many other plants that also have great healing powers were called ginseng too (for example, Siberian ginseng or Brazilian ginseng). This likely happened so that people would more easily understand their great medicinal value. However, only the plants in the Panax genus can be properly called ginseng. So when you hear the name ginseng, you’ll want to ask a little more about what kind of ginseng is being talked about. If you can identify the botanical name and it has Panax at the beginning, then you know you’re hearing about a plant that is truly a ginseng.


Most medicinal ginseng that’s commonly available is either Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) or American ginseng (Panax quinquefolia). Interestingly, most of the American ginseng produced (about 85%) is exported to China for medicinal use in China rather than for use in America. Perhaps this proportion will change as Americans learn the value of what is in their own backyard!

There is a third ginseng plant that is also fairly popular called Japanese ginseng (Panax japonicus), with similar action. Although there are quite a few other plants in the Panax genus, they are generally not commercially cultivated nearly as much as these three.


The effect of Asian, Japanese and American ginseng have many similarities. Each of these plants help you deal better with stress. They support the immune system, help you have more energy, help your thinking become clearer and result in rejuvenation. All ginseng plants contain ginsenosides, which are plant chemicals have been shown to have a number of effects, including antioxidant effects, antiproliferative effects on cancer cells, inhibitory effects on cancer cells, and neuroprotective effects among many others.  Asian ginseng typically has more ginsenosides than the other members of the Panax genus. Environmental conditions also make a difference in the amount of ginsenosides contained in any of the ginseng plants. American ginseng is considered to be a little milder than Asian ginseng and so if you’re looking for some of these effects with a little milder stimulation, American ginseng may be what you prefer.

Other plants that are known as ginsengs (but are not technically ginsengs) have some wonderful health effects. Many of them are adaptogens and share the overall positive health impact that adaptogens provide even though they are not true ginsengs. That is, they all benefit you by helping you deal better (both psychologically and physiologically) with stress, enhancing cognitive performance (things like memory and attention), and helping support your immune system. Here are some of the more well-known of them:


  • Siberian ginseng is also known as Eleuthero. It’s botanical name is Eleuthero senticoccus.
  • Peruvian ginseng is also known as maca. It’s botanical name is Lepidium meyenii.
  • Brazilian ginseng is also known as suma. It’s botanical name is Pflaffia paniculata.
  • Indian ginseng is also known as ashwagandha. It’s botanical name is Witheneria somnifera.
  • Southern ginseng is also known as jiaogulan. It’s botanical name is Gynostemma pentophyllum.
  • Female ginseng is also known as dong quai. It’s botanical name is Angelica sinensis.

So, now that you know your ginsengs, you and your health will be singing a different tune this holiday season!  Merry Christmas!


Dr. Alison Caldwell-Andrews is an expert contributor to the AdaptoGenie blog.  Dr. Caldwell-Andrews received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Kentucky and completed a post-doc in Mind-Body Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine.  As a faculty member at Yale, she served as Director of Research for the Yale Perioperative Research Group, conducting clinical research and publishing 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Her interest in mind-body healing began in the early 1990’s and she is a Certified Nutritional Herbalist.  She’s an active public speaker, author, conducts workshops, and consults in the areas of creating success behaviors, herbs and the mind-body connection, and science-based holistic treatment for psychiatric disorders.

Build More Muscle With Ashwagandha

Athletes, body builders and/or anyone who wants to build lean muscle and look better should check out this November, 2015 study examining the effects of ashwagandha on muscle strength and recovery.


Here is the conclusion: “This study reports that ashwagandha supplementation is associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength and suggests that ashwagandha supplementation may be useful in conjunction with a resistance training program.”


Pretty impressive stuff!  So, if you are looking to get stronger and build more muscle, do it the right way, the healthy way, with ashwagandha!



Hanging With Huang Qi

In China, where it is a native plant, astragalus is known as Huang Qi which is translated to mean “Yellow Leader.”  This title seems somewhat oxymoronic since it would be difficult to be both yellow (or cowardly) and a leader, unless you were a very poor leader, but I digress, which genies should be allowed to do.

Anyway, astragalus is an adaptogen that is a leader among tonic herbs and is anything but poor or cowardice in terms of it’s potency and benefits.  Astragalus root has been used for centuries to expel pus and relieve pain.  Chinese herbalists recommended astragalus for night sweats, asthma, coughing and diseases with chills and fevers.


Modern uses of astragalus include preventing liver and kidney damage due to long term use of medications.  It is a known immune booster that helps prevent colds, flus, bronchitis, mononucleosis, pneumonia and other common ailments.  Astragalus has been known to improve blood flow and increase stamina.

Other benefits attributed to astragalus include increasing appetite, improving recovery from chemotherapy and as a cure for hemorrhoids.

Recent research at the UCLA AIDS Institute focused on the function of cycloastragenol in the aging process of immune cells, and its effects on the cells’ response to viral infections. It appears to increase the production of telomerase, an enzyme that mediates the replacement of short bits of DNA known as telomeres, which play a key role in cell replication, including in cancer processes.


With such a broad array of benefits, you can easily see how astragalus received its name.  It is a leader among herbs.  The yellow part simply refers to the color of its root, but then you probably figured that out.

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