Search

Tag

adaptogens

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

weighttraining2

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.”

weighttraining3

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.

suma2

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.

suma3

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

healthy4

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.

reishi2

 

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.

longevity

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.

siberian-ginseng

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.

li-chizen2

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

athletes-2

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.

ashwagandha3

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.

ashwagandha4

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.

 

The “Eyes” Have It – Adaptogens for Better Vision

They say that the eyes are the first to go. Well, I AdaptoGenie, having been around for hundreds of years myself can tell you there is a lot of truth to that statement.  But, you know what else has been around for hundreds of years?  Adaptogenic herbs that provide antioxidant support AND strengthen the nervous system noticeably improving eyesight.  Here are three adaptogens that when consumed regularly will improve your eyesight.

siberian-ginseng

Eleuthero

In addition to being an adaptogen, Eleuthero is also classified as an antioxidant which also supports the optic nerve.  Noted herbalist, Christopher Hobbs stated that “studies show that Eleuthero extract, when taken on a regular basis, can improve visual and hearing acuity.” A number of studies have evaluated the effects of eleuthero on eye conditions.  One study evaluated the pre and postoperative effects of eleuthero extract (1.5 ml twice daily) on 282 male or female patients suffering from primary glaucoma (102 cases) and eye burns (58 cases). Beneficial effects were noted in both treatments.

schisandra

Schisandra
Various human studies have also shown that Schisandra can improve vision, even enlarging the field of vision, and can improve hearing. It also improves the discrimination ability of the skin receptors. It has been determined that this increased sensitivity is due to improved function of the central nervous system’s ability to analyze data flowing to it from the peripheral sensors.
In addition, Schisandra has demonstrated the ability to correct night blindness. In one study, there was a general increased sharpness of vision and a widening of the boundaries of the field of vision after a 10-day regimen using schisandra.

lycium

Lycium

Lycium has been known to herbalists in Europe for centuries.  Lyceum contains high amounts of two different carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.  Carotenoids are the antioxidants compounds that produce the orange or bright yellow coloring various fruits and vegetables.  These pigments are used by the retina of the eye and are essential for good eyesight.  Lycium stabilizes the small capillaries in the eyes, helps with night vision, relieves dry, tired and painful eyes and helps prevent cataracts and glaucoma.

 

eyesight

I think it is clear, (if it’s not take these 3 adaptogens and it will be) that a daily regimen that incorporates these three powerful herbs can either improve vision or prevent future eyesight issues.  If it’s the eyes that are indeed the the first to go, by delaying that manifestation, you may be able to put off the effects of aging indefinitely.  Brilliant!!!

 

Adaptogens For Athletes – 7 Performance Powering Plants!

Competitive athletes are always looking for an edge.  In the world of sports, the difference between winning and losing can be a couple inches or a few hundredths of a second.  You may have watched an Olympic event where the difference between an athlete receiving a gold medal and one finishing in 4th place, out of the medals and never mentioned and/or celebrated is miniscule.  Almost every serious athlete has experienced the joy of victory and the devastation of defeat and recognizes the slim margin between those two outcomes.  As a result, most competitors continue searching for something, anything, that can add a little extra speed, strength or mental focus to make the difference between winning and whining.

athletes

With all the controversy surrounding performance enhancing drugs, you need to know that there is a natural alternative.  If you are an athlete and you would like to improve your performance through better nutrition, there are a number of adaptogenic herbs that can safely and effectively provide you with that competitive advantage.  Here are seven adaptogens that have been documented to drastically improve athletic performance.

Eleuthero

Eleuthero, also known as Siberian ginseng, is particularly effective for athletes and can boost energy, sharpen mental concentration and help improve strength and stamina.  Studies have shown that when taken consistently, eleuthero will improve one’s ability to manage stress, tolerate heat and endure longer and more intense workouts.  Russian athletes started taking eleuthero in the 1970’s and were able to significantly improve stamina, endurance and mental focus.

Cordyceps & Reishi Mushrooms

New research has determined that two adaptogenic mushrooms Reishi and Cordyceps significantly improve performance and recovery in cyclists.  The double blind study conducted by researchers from Italy’s Pavia University have found these two adaptogens to be powerful performance boosters by increasing the production of testosterone and decreasing the production of cortisol.  The cyclists in the study demonstrated greater stamina and shorter recovery times after taking reishi and cordyceps .

cycling

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a classic ayurvedic herb. Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of medicine, dating back thousands of years, and ayurvedic practitioners have long known about the benefits of ashwagandha.  In a recent study involving elite athletes, ashwagandha was shown to dramatically improve cardiovascular endurance.  In the study, athletes were given 500 mg of ashwagandha twice a day for eight weeks.  The placebo group was given capsules filled with starch.  Here is the conclusion as written by the clinical research team:

“To date, most of the properties of Ashwagandha have been studied, investigated and reported only in sedentary healthy subjects having low fitness levels. Thus, this study was designed to analyze its effectiveness in improving performance in well-trained athletes. Considering the fact that it is difficult to detect minor changes in elite athletes, this study was the first of its kind to document the significant improvements in aerobic performance with regard to cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular endurance of elite athletes”

Rhodiola

The science involving Rhodiola is amazing and it is perhaps the most thoroughly tested of the well-known adaptogens.  Historically it was consumed by the ancient Greeks and Vikings for strength and stamina.  Rhodiola may have its greatest effect on the mental part of athletic performance. In multiple double-blind, placebo controlled studies, Rhodiola Rosea enhanced learning, prevented mental fatigue, reduced errors and improved the quality of work produced. Rhodiola rosea has the most pronounced effect on mental fatigue during stress and strain when compared to other adaptogens.  In other words, rhodiola may provide you with the drive and/or mental toughness to push through a difficult workout helping you to achieve a personal best in speed or strength training.

rhodiola3

Rhaponticum

Scientific studies performed on Rhaponticum (also known as Maral Root) have shown this adaptogen improves overall physical performance, and shortens recovery time after an intense workout.

080205121740-large

In athletes who use Rhaponticum regularly, it demonstrates a marked anabolic effect, and aids the body in the synthesis of protein. It also appears to protect the body from environmental stress. Rhaponticum is prescribed to athletes by Russian sports physicians in order to replenish depleted physical and psychical reserves that become exhausted as a result of hard training. After taking Rhaponticum carthamoides extract, an increase in muscle mass and a decrease in fat tissue has been documented by researchers.

maral-root2

Schisandra

Schisandra is the berry of a climbing vine native to northeast China and parts of Russia.  According to the results of recent human studies schisandra has demonstrated the ability to increase stamina and endurance in athletes, specifically in distance runners, gymnasts and cross country skiers.  Chinese athletes have been using schisandra to boost performance for more than 2 decades.  Schisandra also has shown the additional benefit of limiting mental fatigue and improving concentration and mental alertness.

athletes4

So if you are an athlete and you’re looking for an edge, either mental or physical, adaptogens have you covered.  Adaptogens are safe for daily use and are devoid of side effects, unless you consider “winning” a side effect.  So, let adaptogens start improving your performance.  They can be your secret weapon, your competitive advantage.

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.

healthy1

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.

reishi

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.

A WordPress.com Website.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: