Dr. Ginseng Tea

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Adaptogen?

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What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are substances that have a balancing effect on the body and improve the body’s response to stress. Specifically, adaptogens recharge the adrenal glands, which are the body’s nominal mechanism for responding to stress and emotional changes. The adrenals, which cover the upper surface of each kidney, synthesize and store dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.

The term, adaptogen, was first introduced in 1947 by Russian scientist N.V. Lazarev to describe the unique action of a material claimed to increase nonspecific resistance of an organism to an adverse influence. In 1958, I.I. Brekhman, a Russian holistic medical doctor, and his colleague I.V. Dardymov, established the following definition of an adaptogen: It “must be innocuous and cause minimal disorders in the physiological functions of an organism, it must have a nonspecific action, and it usually has a normalizing action irrespective of the direction of the pathological state.”

Adaptogens help balance, restore and protect the body, responding to any influence or stressor and normalizing your physiological functions. They exert a normalizing influence on the body, neither over-stimulating nor inhibiting normal body function, but rather exerting a generalized tonifying effect.

As it turns out, many herbs have exactly these properties. One of them is ginseng which is the most well-known and a potent adaptogen.

How ginseng works?

Numerous studies support ginseng’s effectiveness at improving a person’s ability to withstand stress, improve work performance and quality, and enhance mental function. It has also been shown to increase the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates an increase in adrenal hormone secretion. It also can counteract the shrinkage of the adrenal gland caused by corticosteroid drugs.

This also has antioxidant effects, antidepressant effects, and can help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It’s good to know there are extra health benefits for enjoying ginseng on a daily basis.

Sources: Edward C. Wallace, “Adaptogenic Herbs: Nature’s Solution to Stress.” http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Adaptogenic_Herbs.shtml

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