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Modern History of Adaptogens
There is an elite group of herbs called Adaptogens. Although they have been used for a long time, however the modern name" Adaptogens " was coined by Russian scientist Nikolai V. Lazarev in the late 1940s to describe substances that increase the body's nonspecific resistance to stress.
According to Winston and Maimes (2007), the modern history of these incredible herbs began when former Soviet Union started looking for The Perfect Performance tonic (p.32-33)”.
Much of the early research into Adaptogens in the 1950s was done by Lazarev's colleague Brekhman who studied Asian Ginseng, the classic Chinese herb for longevity.
Together, they created a team of more than 1200 biologists, scientists and physicians to conduct their research.
Some of the unique plants that they researched lived through the Ice Age by adapting to and thriving in the most severe living conditions on Earth. Because of this Brekhman believed that they might possess qualities that could help our bodies adapt to the stresses of modern life.
They investigated 4000 plants and identified 12 herbs as Adaptogens. The majority of the research was done on Eleuthero, Rhodiola, Rhaponticum and Schisandra .
Research into Adaptogenic herbs continued by Russian till 1980 however Germany, Armenia, Cez, Scandinavia, China & India also conducted their own research most of which has not translated into English.
According to Winston and Maimes (2007), there are many different perspectives on Adaptogens;
Russian scientists say that Adaptogens increase the resistance within the body to a wide range of stressors and normalise functions. Western researchers & scientists look at how Adaptogens regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis & sympathoadrenal system. Clinical herbalists use Adaptogens to " re-regulate " the neuroendocrine and immune systems to enhance healing and prevent stress-induced disease. (p.21)”.
Winston, D., & Maimes, S. (2007). Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief. Vermont, USA: Healing Arts Press.
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