One thing I learned early on about natural medicine is its ability to make the “impossible” possible. And there’s no better example of that than adaptogens.
Their potential is so tremendous, I believe everyone should consider taking an adaptogen every day—right along with other essential nutrients like vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Let me explain why…
Adaptogens are individual herbs that have the unique ability to help your body adapt to changes, both internal and external. For example:
- If you’re cold, they help you warm up
- If you’re hot, they help cool you down
- If you’re tired, they wake you up
- If you need rest, they help you sleep
And so on. In fact, they have more serious effects, too. They can help return abnormal cells to normal. They can help regulate blood sugar swings. And they can help regenerate worn-out nerve cells and synapses in the brain.
There is no single drug that can do all of that.
But the human body has many mechanisms to maintain homeostasis, a “constant” internal environment. And adaptogens work by activating those mechanisms.
Modern-day miracles steeped in tradition
While adaptogens are still a foreign concept in western medicine, they’re well known—and commonly used— in Chinese and Indian medicine. In China, the classic adaptogen is ginseng. Traditionally they used Chinese (Panax) or Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus) ginseng. However, as soon as the Chinese began immigrating to America in the 1800s, the potent American version of this herb quickly made its way into the Chinese Pharmacopeia.
The properties of American ginseng were so highly valued, desire for it drove many into the mountains of Appalachia to collect it. In fact, the famous early American frontier hero, Daniel Boone, made a start exploring the early western frontier of the Appalachians as a “sanger.” He gathered the valuable herb in the hills and hollows where it could be found (what today would be called “wild crafting”).
American ginseng is still highly prized. And today is still “wild crafted” by American “sangers” in the Appalachian Mountains who closely guard the secret of where and how to locate it. However, the supply of American ginseng is scarce and there are problems with sustainability of it. So for the time being, I advise sticking with Chinese ginseng, which is widely available and has many health benefits. A dose of 200-500 mg of Chinese (Panax) ginseng per day is generally well tolerated but may contribute to insomnia.
Ashwaganda (also known as winter cherry, Withania Somnifera, and Indian ginseng) is probably the second best-known adaptogen. Ashwaganda plays a large role in Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine. It is used for general “longevity” in Ayurveda (which itself means the “science of life, or “long life”), as well as for a number of specific indications. Really, everything ranging from relieving stress to fighting diabetes and
Alzheimer’s disease. A good general dose is 500 mg per day.
Sutherlandia frutescens is a relatively new discovery—at least in Western natural medicine. It has been used in South Africa for centuries. And is revered there for its tremendous potential. In fact, one of its nicknames in that country is “Cancer Bush.”
It counters the systemic wasting (known as cachexia) that accompanies cancer. Many cancer victims die from cachexia even before they are overwhelmed by the tumor itself.
Evidence for its use is still emerging, but looks solid—and promising. I’ll keep you updated on this exciting “new” adaptogen as information becomes available—both here in Insiders’ Cures and in my Daily Dispatch e-letter. In the meantime, 600 mg of Sutherlandia per day is a good general dose.