Are you considering adding herbs or herbal supplements to your diet to improve the quality of your health? Here are three adaptogens that you should consider:
Schisandra (Schizandra) – Schisandra chinensis is known by many names including magnolia berry as the the leaves of this woody vine resemble those of the magnolia. Schisandra is native to Northern China where it is known as Wu Wei Zi, literally “five taste fruit” which describes the complex flavor of it’s bright red berries which grow in clumps like grapes. Schisandra has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries for its sustaining and protective properties. The dried berries provided energy and sustenance to Genghis Khan and the ancient Mongols during the 13th century.
Schisandra is an adaptogen, a natural nutrient that helps your body adapt to stress or increases resistance to disease. The berries have also been shown to increase energy, increase physical performance and endurance, improve your mood, normalize blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and stimulate your immune system. The Chinese are also researching Schisandra as a treatment for liver disease and hepatitis.
Resveratrol – Resveratrol is a naturally occurring polyphenol, a rich source of both adaptogens and antioxidants. Resveratrol is found in red and purple grape skins (and wines produced from these grapes), peanuts, strawberries, blueberries and cranberries and dark chocolate. Resveratrol promotes healthy cell growth and cellular regeneration and as a result, has been considered a potential remedy for many age-related conditions including heart disease, cancer, brain health and Alzheimer’s disease. Resveratrol may also promote natural cell destruction of malignant (cancerous) cells as it promotes healthy cell regeneration.
Research in resveratrol was prompted by a phenomenon known as the French Paradox. How do the French survive on a diet rich in sugar, butter, pastries and wine yet suffer fewer heart health issues? The answer may be due to a higher intake of resveratrol and it’s natural health benefits.
Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera is more commonly known as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry, or winter cherry and is a plant in the nightshade family. An important remedy in Ayurvedic healing dating back 3000 years, Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb shown to lower cortisol and balance thyroid hormones. In India, Ashwagandha translates literally as “horse smell” but is known for it’s potency as the “strength of the stallion” and is often used to strengthen the immune system after illness.
Thanks in part to it’s ability to regulate adrenal hormones, herbalists often recommend Ashwagandha for the treatment of insomnia when stress is a contributing factor. The resulting reduction in the production and release of stress hormones creates an inner calmness and increases your ability to cope with stress and allows for a deeper and more restful sleep.