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Adaptogens Explained_ What Makes An Herb An Adaptogen-Option-01 (2)

Last updated: October-6,2022

Adaptogens Explained: Exploring Adaptogens And Their Benefits

While most adaptogens are herbs, not all herbs are adaptogens. As a supplement brand owner, it is essential to understand this distinction before you start your supplement line of adaptogens. Adaptogens are substances, more often than not, herbs that have no significant biological effect on the body other than bringing it into a state of homeostasis. And if any herb fits this description, it can be referred to as an adaptogen.

How do Adaptogens help us?

An adaptogen is known to reduce the harmful effects of stress on the body; in some cases, consumption of adaptogens has also increased stamina and reduced fatigue. Most adaptogens have been found in the roots of certain plants, causing the extract to have a bitter taste; therefore most brand owners prefer to include an adaptogen capsule in their line of products as opposed to a liquid or powder.

Read on to learn about some of the most common adaptogens in the market today or click below to listen to my podcast:

Panax Ginseng

This is one of the most widely known adaptogens in this industry; it is commonly referred to as ginseng. Asian countries like China and Korea have been using ginseng as an adaptogen, tonic, and stimulant, which has resulted in hundreds of clinical studies published on this humble ingredient.

Rhodiola Rosea

Like ginseng, the root part of Rhodiola Rosea has been used as a traditional medicine in Russia, Scandinavia, and neighboring countries. The key components found in Rhodiola Rosea are rosavin and salidroside, which have been believed to increase productivity at work, physical endurance, resistance to high altitude sickness, longevity, and reduction in moodiness and fatigue. This adaptogen is also believed to benefit and promote sexual health in adults.

Eleutherococcus senticosus

This is one of the recently found adaptogens that, although botanically incorrect, is sometimes referred to as Siberian ginseng. While the plant doesn’t come from the same genus as Panax ginseng, many of the functions are similar. While showing excellent adaptogenic properties, this herb has also been found to support adrenal gland function whenever the body is challenged by stress. Although it is less of a stimulant than other adaptogens on this list, Eleuthero has been shown to have more profound effects in terms of increasing stamina. It is also known to enhance physical endurance and mental acuity without giving a caffeine-like letdown.

Astragalus membranaceus

Along with its other adaptogenic properties, the primary use of this root is to stimulate immunity. It was used in Chinese medicine as a classic energy tonic and in place of ginseng for individuals over 40. This adaptogen works by stimulating several immune system factors, resulting in an improved response to lymphocytes, potentiating the activity of monocytes, and enhancing the natural killer cell activity of normal subjects. Astragalus also contains saponin that increases phagocytosis and demonstrates hepatoprotective functions.


Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, has been used as an adaptogen in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. This herb promotes healthy immune function and exhibits significant anti-oxidative properties. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha significantly reduced the amount of free radical oxidation in rats while simultaneously increasing the activity of antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase and catalase. Ashwagandha has also been used to treat emotional and mental well-being as it positively affects the brain’s chemistry.

Schisandra Chinensis

This fruit has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to maintain respiratory health and assist in problems such as spontaneous sweating, nocturnal emission, forgetfulness, and lack of sleep. It is also believed to improve work performance, reduce fatigue, increase endurance, and build strength.

As stress and fatigue are commonplace in today’s society, adaptogens have gained importance and have seen a growing interest making them a must-have in any supplement brand's repertoire. For more information about these adaptogens, read my article recently published by Nutritional Outlook entitled, “Adaptogens Explained: What Makes An Herb An Adaptogen?

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September 8th, 2022

About the Author:

Gene Bruno

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) - Mr. Bruno possesses over 43 years of dietary supplement industry experience. With a Master's degree in nutrition and a second Master's degree in herbal medicine, he has a proven track record of formulating innovative, evidence-based dietary supplements. Mr. Bruno currently serves as both the Senior Director of Product Innovation at Twinlab Corporation and Professor of Nutraceutical Science at Huntington University of Health Sciences.