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The Most Powerful Adaptogens: What You Need to Know

Most Powerful Adaptogens - Linden Botanicals

What are the most powerful adaptogens? These adaptogens may help your body adapt to and manage stress.

The notion of taking a pill to relieve stress and improve physical and mental performance firmly took root during World War II, where some soldiers and pilots and submarine members were given drugs to calm them down or make them more alert. The Soviet Union’s WWII military journal was the first to publish the tonic and stimulating effects of Schisandra Chinensis, an herb that hunters initially used to improve night vision and reduce exhaustion. Between 1950 and 1960, the idea of consuming herbal medicinal plants began to gain more recognition and scientific interest.

Lazarev, a toxicologist, was the first person to introduce the concept of the most powerful adaptogens. He defined them as compounds that contain the ability to increase ‘the state of non-resistance during stress. Previous biomedical studies in the 1960s focused on adaptogens’ ability to stimulate intrinsic adaptive mechanisms that help humans and other organisms survive prolonged stress seasons.

What Exactly Are Adaptogens?

Today, research studies on adaptogens focus on four main areas:

  1. Phytochemistry: Involves isolating and elucidating bioactive ingredients of adaptogenic herbs.
  2. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Involves stress protective mechanisms of adaptogens on both cellular and molecular levels.
  3. Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology: Focuses on the safety and efficacy of adaptogens, especially in animal/human disorders that are stress-related.
  4. Pharmaceutical Development of Herbal Extracts: Relies on clinical evidence about the adaptogen.

For herbs to be categorized as the most powerful adaptogens, they must undergo the four phases above and their clinical outcomes must be published. Yance, a famous American herbalist, emphasized that adaptogens help to improve one’s ability to:

  • Recognize
  • Recover
  • Restore
  • Regenerate

He further situated adaptogens into three categories:

  1. Primary Adaptogens: This category aligns with the characteristics of the traditional adaptogen definition. They help to maintain and restore homeostasis. They also help to enhance the body’s resistance to non-specific regulators and other external stimuli. This category mainly responds to external stress by directly affecting the HPA (hypothalamic pituitary Adrenal) axis. They also may support anabolic recovery of allostasis and homeostasis. These powerful adaptogens also improve neuroendocrine system functions and enhance cellular transfer, which helps to regulate energy consumption.
  2. Secondary Adaptogens: Their functions are similar to primary adaptogens, only that they do not directly influence the HPA axis. Instead, they affect the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. Plant-originated adaptogens include phenols, sterols, and fatty acids. They also enhance anabolism.
  3. Adaptogenic Companions: They do not satisfy the traditional requirements of adaptogens but have shown beneficial effects on the HPA axis.

What Are the Roles of the Most Powerful Adaptogens?

Adaptogens affect different body organs and tissues to help them achieve homeostasis. The following are some of the main roles of adaptogens in the human body.

  1. Relieving Adrenal Stress: When people are under environmental pressure, cortisol levels may increase, which can result in stress. Adaptogens can increase the performance of the adrenal glands to help abolish the excessive production of stress hormones.
  2. Relieving Arthritis Pain: Clinical studies have shown that powerful adaptogens can effectively reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
  3. Providing Sleep Support: A study conducted by N.V Provalova and Steven Maimes reveals that adaptogens may be an alternative to sleeping pills as they sometimes can serve as sleep aids. 

Adaptogenic Herbal Extracts

All of the teas and extracts Linden Botanicals sells are adaptogens. Three of our favorite adaptogen teas and extracts are Phyllanthus niruri, Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), and Paeonia lactiflora (White Peony Root)

Phyllanthus niruri is one of the world’s best adaptogen teas. It has the largest variety of tannins, saponins, flavonoids, and glycosides of any plant in the world. These chemical compounds give adaptogens their health benefits. Panax Ginseng, the most famous adaptogen, contains 28 types of saponins, while Chanca Piedra contains 168 different active compounds.

Tulsi is called the Queen of the Herbs due to its broad range of adaptogenic properties. A study published in The Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine says: “Of all the herbs used within Ayurveda, Tulsi is preeminent, and scientific research is now confirming its beneficial effects. There is mounting evidence that Tulsi can address physical, chemical, metabolic, and psychological stress through a unique combination of pharmacological actions.”

Paeonia lactiflora is a powerful adaptogen that may help protect against oxidative stress and reduce stress-related tension. Paeonia is thought to help nerve pain and migraine headaches, and it’s believed to help increase energy, intelligence, and awareness. Paeonia is traditionally used to address issues with inflammation. In addition to anti-inflammatory support, it also offers immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, and antioxidant properties.

Learn More About the Most Powerful Adaptogens

Phyllanthus niruri, Tulsi, and Paeonia lactiflora are all members of a rare and remarkable group of plants called adaptogens, which help the body adapt to physical, chemical, biological, emotional, or environmental stress.

Consider adding adaptogen teas into your daily diet. Start by reading our FAQs to find out which may be the best for you.

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