We’re wrapping up our research on the fantastic world of adaptogenic herbs. At first, I was quite skeptical. But now, after reading the research, I’m a believer–the benefits of adaptogens are awesome!
Adaptogen is a term from natural medicine. It refers to a powerful herb that helps the body recover and re-balance from stress. Overall, its effect is to help you adapt to stressful environmental factors and avoid damage from them.
The criteria to be considered an adaptogen is really strict. As a result, only a few herbs are on the list. But some of the ones that consistently make the cut are:
And now, we’d like to add ashwagandha and holy basil (or tulsi) to the list!
Adaptogen Spotlight: What Is Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha is a plant from Asia. In Sanskrit, the name translates as “smell of a horse.” The name reflects both its strong aroma and its supposed ability to fill you with the strength of a stallion.
Dar, Hamid, and Ahmad (2015) recognize its wide-ranging use in Ayurvedic medicine since “time immemorial.” Additionally, they suggest it has a similar place in modern medicine. They point to its anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-stress, neuroprotective, cardioprotective, and anti-diabetic properties, too. Whoa.
Benefits of Adaptogens: Ashwagandha
Are these findings common? Well, other researchers have found that this adaptogen may help with:
- managing body weight under chronic stress (Choudhary, Bhattacharyya, and Joshi, 2017)
- reducing stress and its associated functional impairments (Kaur et al., 2017)
- preventing inflammatory processes associated with neurodegenerative disease and aggressive glioma tumor growth (Mazzio et al., 2017)
- treating neurodegenerative diseases by suppressing inflammation (Gupta and Kaur, 2016)
- enhancing memory issues with certain brain disorders (Gautam, Wadhwa, and Thakur, 2016)
- easing joint pain (Ramakanth et al., 2016)
- treating OCD (along with traditional psychiatric medications) (Jahanbakhsh et al., 2016)
- boosting the immune system (Chandran and Patwardhan, 2016)
Adaptogen Spotlight: What Is Holy Basil?
Finally, one last adaptogenic herb that seemingly helps with almost everything is holy basil, or tulsi (Cohen, 2014). This spicy, earthy-tasting plant hails from India, many Hindu households grow it. Interestingly, holy basil leaves are often worshipped and offered to the gods.
Benefits of Adaptogens: Holy Basil / Tulsi
Just like our other adaptogens, holy basil has wide-reaching effects. In fact, scientists have demonstrated that it may help with:
- managing stress (Jyoti et al., 2007)
- lowering glucose levels in diabetic patients (Sethi et al., 2004)
- boosting the immune system (Mondal et al., 2011)
- inhibiting microbial growth, including periodontal pathogens (Mistry et al., 2014; Mallikarjun et al, 2016)
- protecting healthy tissue against high doses of radiation in cancer treatments (Baliga et al., 2016)
- managing general heart health, including treating cardiovascular disease (Choudhury et al., 2014)
- reducing inflammation in cardiac tissue. In fact, this may reduce heart attacks! (Kavitha, John, and Indira, 2015)
- healing fractures more quickly (Mohammad et al., 2014)
- preventing and treating cancer (Baliga et al., 2013), including:
As you can see, the potential benefits of adaptogens may prove to be quite impressive indeed. They seem to have quite a few advantages, as long as you have no underlying health issues or take any substances with potential interactions.
Definitely talk to your doctor to see if ashwagandha or holy basil would be good for you!
If you’d like more benefits of adaptogens in your life…
…then, please check out CommuniTea Center’s offerings:
- Power Up: pu-erh tea with eleuthero, schizandra, and ashwagandha
- Ginseng Detox: Thera-TeaTM with ginseng and schizandra
- The Incomparable Holy Basil: Thera-TeaTM with holy basil
- Holy Chai: Thera-TeaTM with holy basil
A word of caution…
Please consult a doctor before using any nutritional product, including adaptogens. The statements in this Tea Blog post have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Lastly, these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
And if you enjoyed this Tea Blog post, you may also enjoy…
…A Background on Adaptogenic Herbs: Tea Ingredients to Reduce Stress
…Parts 1 and 2 of Our Spotlight on the Benefits of Adaptogens:
…More in our Healing Herbs (& Spices!) Series, including: