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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.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26609282

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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.”

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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!

 

 

Suma – The Sum Total of Health

One of the best things about being a genie, is that you frequently know what is going to happen before it actually transpires.  What this means is that I am often aware of future trends, inventions, discoveries, etc. before any of you.  Well, I AdaptoGenie am here to tell you about a little known herb that is poised to become the next kale, quinoa, ginseng  or whatever.  The next big thing in herbal supplementation is going to be Suma.

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Suma is an adaptogen that is native to the Amazonian rainforest.  It’s berries bark and leaves are all used medicinally, but it is the suma root that is widely recognized as an herbal powerhouse.  The word suma comes from the latin word which means “sum total” and the plant is known throughout the Amazon basin as “para todo,” which means for everything.

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According to the American Pharmaceutical Association, suma is an “energizing adaptogen,” which boosts the immune system and combats low energy or fatigue. Natutal health practicioners have often suggested suma to fight the exhaustion that occurs from viral infections such as Lyme disease and Epstein-Barr disease. It has also been used to control diabetes and hormonal imbalances due to menopause. The Mayo Clinic has stated that a serum containing suma can improve the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.

So, here’s a little Suma-ry of health benefits attributed to this amazing plant:

  • Boosts immunity
  • Increases stamina
  • Promotes fertility
  • Enriches skin
  • Boosts libido and sexual performance
  • Inhibits tumor growth
  • Reduces dark circles under eyes
  • Balances hormones
  • Helps control diabetes
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Relieves stress
  • Increases appetite
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Strengthens the heart and circulation

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You know what? It really doesn’t take a genie to see that suma is destined to be one of the hottest herbs on the market.  With the ever growing need for stronger immunity and greater stamina, suma is the right herb at the right time.  If you are not currently including suma in your daily health regimen, now is the perfect time to start.

5 Reasons You Need Reishi

Many people wonder how genies can live for so long.  Most assume it’s magic, but I’m here to tell you that it has more to do with adaptogens than with abracadabra.  One of the best herbs for slowing down the aging process is reishi mushrooms.

Reishi mushrooms may be relatively new to Western cultures, but this fabulous fungus has been revered in Asian societies for thousands of years and is one of the oldest symbols of well-being and longevity. Revered as the “herb of immortality” reishi mushrooms are classified as an adaptogen.  They can be found growing wild on plum trees and for centuries they were reserved for use only by royals.

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There are many varieties of reishi, the most common of which has a soft, cork-like texture and an ear-shaped cap that ranges in color from red-orange to black. The reishi mushroom has a rather bitter, woody taste, which is why it is traditionally prepared in a tea or as an extract. It wasn’t until the second half of the 20th century that researchers began to rigorously study the medicinal properties of the reishi mushroom, which is known to the scientific community as ganoderma lucidum.

Due to its increased notoriety, the reishi mushroom is now cultivated commercially throughout the world.

Here are five scientifically studied health benefits of the reishi mushroom:

  • Life Span Extension – In 2009, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry published a study conducted in Taiwan that displayed the life span-extending properties of the polysaccharides found in the reishi mushroom. These unique molecules promote longevity by boosting immune system function and preventing abnormal blood vessel formations that could lead to life-threatening cancerous growths.
  • Defends Against Tumor Growth – The reishi mushroom has not only been shown to prevent the development of cancers, but research has indicated that the reishi mushroom may also eliminate existing cancer cells in the body. In 2010, Pharmacological Reports published a study that highlighted the role of ganoderic acid, a triterpinoid found in the reishi mushroom, in the inhibition of the development and metastasis of tumors.
  • Improves Liver Function and Detoxification – A 2013 study in Food and Chemical Toxicology used the reishi mushroom to reverse chemical-driven liver damage in mice. The same triterpenes that displayed anti-cancer properties in other studies appear to aid the release of free radicals and promote liver cell regeneration.
  • Promotes Heart Health and Balances Blood Pressure – In a study reported by Burton Goldberg in “Heart Disease,” 54 people with hypertension unresponsive to medication, taking reishi extract three times a day for four weeks was enough to significantly lower blood pressure.
  • Fights Allergies and Asthma – Laboratory studies suggest that reishi mushroom may have antihistamine effects. This has not been tested in humans.

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So, if you desire to live longer or just live better, I highly recommend you make ‘shroom for Reishi. The secret to longevity isn’t magic, it’s adaptogens like reishi mushrooms.

Here Comes the King!

Of all the plants classified as adaptogens, the one with the most renown is eleuthero!  Eleuthero has been the subject of thousands of scientific studies, in dozens of countries and its benefits have been extremely well documented.

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In fact, in the 16th century Li Shih-Chen, a Chinese pharmacologist and physician wrote a 52-volume manuscript detailing the treatments used in traditional Chinese medicine. He covered over 10,000 substances, but there was one herb in particular that stood out to him. When it came to the herb eleuthero, he saw no comparison.

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He wrote, “I would rather take a handful of eleuthero than a cartload of gold and jewels.”

Eleuthero is native to Eastern Asia and is found primarily in mountain forests.   It has been called the king of adaptogens, because of its almost endless list of benefits endless.  Eleuthero has been used as a treatment for:

  • Cold & flu
  • Stress & anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Weakened immunity
  • Emotional imbalance

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Eleuthero is also a top choice for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.  Dr. Ben Tabachnik, a former Soviet sports nutrition researcher and coach, attributes eleuthero to helping the Soviet Olympic team dominate the 1988 Olympics.  Athletes who supplement with eleuthero report significant improvements in:

  • Peripheral vison
  • Reaction time
  • Stamina
  • Suppression of increased cortisol
  • Oxygen uptake
  • Lung capacity
  • Faster recovery

So, whether you are a professional athlete looking for an edge, a weekend warrior trying to relive your glory days or just a soccer mom looking for greater stamina and better immunity, eleuthero could very well be the perfect supplement.  Look to the king of adaptogens, eleuthero.

No Horsing Around, Ashwagandha Works!

In Sanskrit Ashwagandha means literally, “the smell of a horse.” Fortunately, this name  does not refer to the smell of the plant itself, but instead is indicative of Ashwagandha’s ability to impart the vigor and strength of a stallion.  Historically, Ashwagandha has been particularly beneficial helping people strengthen their immune system after an illness.

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After years of scientific studies involving Ashwagandha, researchers have determined that this amazing plant has a myriad of health giving properties.  Four recent studies clearly illustrate Ashwagandha’s broad array of benefits.

  1. Physical Performance
    In a small double-blind, placebo-controlled study, healthy participants receiving a standardized root extract of ashwagandha for eight weeks showed an increase in speed and muscular strength by nearly 10% in tested physical activity.2
  2. Focus and Concentration
    In this double-blind, placebo-controlled study, twenty healthy males were given 500 mg of ashwagandha root extract for fourteen days. Significant cognitive improvements were seen in reaction-time tests, discrimination tests, and in card sorting tests, among many others. These results show ashwagandha’s ability to support attention, memory, focus, concentration, and responsiveness and coordination between the mind and motor functions.3
  3. Stress and Food Consumption
    In a study with fifty-two healthy subjects experiencing stress for a long period of time, ashwagandha (300 mg twice daily) not only decreased stress (as measured by the perceived stress scale), but also food cravings and overall body weights. This was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial that lasted eight weeks.4
  4. Rejuvenation
    In a clinical trial with healthy male volunteers aged fifty to sixty-nine, purified ashwagandha powder, given as 3 grams per day for one year, showed increases in blood counts, improved posture, and increased hair melanin (pigmentation of the hair). In another study, healthy children who were given 2 grams of powdered ashwagandha in milk, experienced improvements in blood counts, body weight, and hand strength.

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Truly, Ashwagandha is an herb that can benefit people of all ages.  Because, it is an adaptogen, it has a non specific effect and helps bring the body and mind into balance, it can be taken over an extended period of time with no adverse side effects.  So, put some giddyup into your daily health regimen with Ashwagandha!

References

2 Sandhu Jaspal, et al. “Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance n healthy young adults.” Int J Ayurveda Res. 1, no 3 (July-Sept 2010):144-149.

3 U Pingali, et al. “Effect of standardized aqueous extract of Withania somnifera on tests of cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy human subjects.” Pharmacognosy Res. 6, no 1 (January 2014):12-8.

4 D Choudhary, et al. “Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment with Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. April 6, 2016.

5 Lakshmi-Chandra Mishra, Betsy Singh, and Simon Dagenais. “Scientific Basis for the Therapeutic Use of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha): A Review.” Alternative Medicine Review. 5, no 4 (2000):334-346.

Questions About Adaptogens? Ask AdaptoGenie!

After centuries of granting some of the most bizarre and unbelievable wishes, I am somewhat hesitant to open myself up to queries from strangers.  However, as adaptogens push their way more and more to the forefront of society’s collective consciousness, I  the world’s foremost expert on adaptogens feel it is my duty to accept any questions my readers may have about adaptogens and plant sourced nutrition.

It is somewhat remarkable and puzzling that adaptogens, plants that have been used effectively for hundreds of years, are now being talked about as chic and nouveau.  Just recently, a Huffington Post online article stated the following about adaptogens, “Their popularity is going to be bigger than spirulina… bigger than kale even, because ancient herbal wisdom is back in business baby!”

So, with all this excitement about adaptogens, I am certain that many of you have questions.  Well, lucky for you I have answers.  Please email your questions about adaptogens to adaptogenie@gmail.com and I will respond in a future blog.

 

Better Immunity With Impunity

Guest Contributor, Betty Wells Runkle, ND, CNHP, CECRP is the owner of The Health Fix Center for Natural and Alternative Health Solutions

The fact of the matter is ..The human body is a MAGNIFICENT, VIRUS FIGHTING, PATHOGENIC BACTERIA ENGULFING MACHINE by Grand Design.  The problems occur when we as the conductors of this body, don’t put the proper fuel into it on a regular basis to keep it functioning full steam ahead.  You know, stuff like processed foods, non-nutritive, junk, and as my teenagers say…eating crap!  We all do it…don’t kid yourself.  However, there is hope in learning new ways to change your lifestyle for the better, by learning to eat healthy and make better choices.

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For now, let’s concentrate on the immune building properties of ADAPTOGENIC herbs.

Let’s start by covering the word adaptogen, as a term used in herbalism to reflect the ability of a plant to work as a biological response modifier. For a plant to be adaptogenic it must meet three criteria, as defined by the Russian doctor I.I. Brekman:

  • It should cause no harm and place no additional stress on the body.
  • It should help the body adapt to many and varied environmental and psychological stresses.
  • It must have a nonspecific action on the body, supporting all the major systems, such as the nervous system, hormonal system, and immune system, as well as regulating functions (such as the blood sugar); if they are too high, an adaptogen will lower it and vice verse.

Let me tell you about some of these ADAPTOGENIC HERBAL ALLIES.  The most commonly researched herbs like astragalus, Ashwaganda, Nettle, and reishi mushrooms are also some of the heaviest hitters in the herbal adoptogenic world.

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You can research til the cows come home all the numerous scientific studies about the pharmacological actions of adaptogens…but I warn you it can get really complex.  In the nutshell, here are a few of the abilities noted in those studies regarding ADAPTOGENIC HERBS. 

  • Increase Endurance
  • Reduce Fatigue
  • Build Resistance to non-specific stresses (chemicals in environment, overwork, poor diet and emotional stressors)
  • Immune Stimulants – boost resistance to pathogenic bacteria and viruses

astragalus

Let me tell you a little bit about just one adaptogen, astragalus.  Astragalus is an immune building powerhouse. In fact, U.S. institutions all over have conducted medical studies supporting the increase of white blood cells, strengthening the activity of macrophages and that it actually promotes immunity of the cells.  Here, in Texas where I live, the University of Texas at MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute did a study on T-cell function in cancer patients which were being lowered by the use of chemotherapy and radiation.  When the extracts from astragalus were administered, immune functions improved dramatically.  Even the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has done their fair share of research concerning Astragalus and the increase total number of white blood cells and strengthening of macrophages.  This activity significantly promotes the healthy immune function on the cellular level. In addition, studies at the University of Texas MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute found that the t cell function in cancer patients was lowered by the use of chemotherapy and radiation, so to combat that effect astragalus extracts were administered.  Researchers found that immune functions improved dramatically. Currently astragalus is also being researched in HIV and aids related syndromes.

Adaptogens – Centuries Old Secrets Revealed

For too long, the secret of adaptogenic herbs has been” bottled up,” so to speak.  But the time has come for a new look and a new appreciation of the power of ancient healing.  So I, the great AdaptoGenie, have emerged from centuries of concealment carrying with me secrets from the past and timely advice for the future. (No, I’m not just blowing smoke.)

So, why now?

Because I believe adaptogens may very well hold the key to restoring health and vitality to a world that presently seems destined toward disease or fated to feel bad.  But before I tell you more about the secrets I bring, permit me to start with a little history lesson.  (When you have lived as long as I have, history is kind of your thing.)

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For millennia, man (and woman) has relied on the power of plants to heal from and ward off illness.  Traditional herbal philosophies such as ayurveda from India, traditional Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine, Greco-Arabic medicine, kampo from Japan and Native American medicine were all based on the amazing healing effects of plants.  Many of the herbs held in highest esteem within these cultures were those with the broadest benefits.  In fact, all of these traditions speak of seemingly miraculous plants with the ability to restore physical and emotional balance and harmony.  Each of these cultures shared stories about the existence of certain plants with the astonishing ability to adjust their effects based on the individual needs of the person consuming them.

In Ayurveda, there is a class of herbs called “rasayana.”   These herbs were believed to strengthen tissues and organs throughout the body.  These herbs were said to revitalize and regenerate.  They were plants that would slow down the aging process and build up one’s resistance to disease.

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Chinese herbal medicine, has for centuries, studied plants and recorded their effects on health and wellness.  The most cherished class of plants according to the Chinese philosophy is a group they labeled the Superior class.  These are herbs that can be taken in large quantities, over an extended period of time, with no risk of ill effects.  These superior plants are believed to enhance normal physiological functions rather than force a specific physical or emotional effect.

With the rise of allopathic medicine at or about the turn of the 20th century, the use of plant based remedies steadily declined and more and more health practitioners turned to synthetic drugs and surgical procedures to treat illness.  So, for more than a century now, the remarkable benefits of adaptogens have gone underutilized and unappreciated.  Well, I AdaptoGenie intend to change all of that.

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If you, or someone you know, may be interested in;

  • Increased energy
  • Stronger immunity
  • Improved performance (both athletic and sexual)
  • A more balanced mood
  • Stress management
  • Greater stamina
  • Improved digestion
  • Better sleep

then I encourage you to follow this blog and like my page @adaptogenie on Twitter or Facebook.  In the weeks to come I, and a prestigious list of guest contributors including renowned herbalists, acclaimed research scientists and knowledgeable health experts, will be sharing life changing information about adaptogens and mind body wellness. So, if you’ve been wishing for better health and vitality, I can grant that wish by giving you the power and knowledge you need to take control of your own health.

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