Wild Jiaogulan From ChiangMai - NORTHERN
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Very simply, adaptogens are nontoxic in normal
doses, produce a nonspecific defensive response to stress, and have
a normalizing influence on the body. They normalize the
hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis). As defined,
adaptogens constitute a new class of natural, homeostatic metabolic
It is claimed that adaptogenic herbs are unique from other substances in their ability to balance endocrine hormones and the immune system, and they help the body to maintain optimal homeostasis. Adaptogens have a normalizing effect on the body and are capable of either toning down the activity of hyperfunctioning systems or strengthening the activity of hypofunctioning systems. However they are also functional at the level of allostasis which is a more dynamic reaction to long term stress, lacking the fixed reference points of homeostasis.
Triterpenoid saponins have been the focus of most studies of adaptogen constituents. Saponins include ginsenoside from Panax ginseng, gypenosides from Gynostemma and eleutherosides from Eleutherococcus. The lipophilic properties of ginsenosides, for instance, favor binding to intracellular steroid hormone receptors. Triterpenes also include phytosterols and phytoecdysteroids, both of which are thought to have adaptogenic roles in mammals. Phytosterols have been studied more in food science than phytotherapy but are known to have immune function.  Phytoecdysteroids are in common use by athletes and weight lifters for the anabolic effects they produce. Rhaponticum carthamoides is notable for these compounds. Oxylipins are fatty acids that have been oxidized and display prostaglandin-like activity due to a shape similar to leukotrienes. Examples are the hydroxylated fatty acids in licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra.
I n addition to the above constituents, many adaptogens contain polysaccharides that have been reported to stimulate immune system components and have immune system enhancing benefits. Polysaccharide-rich plants have a long history of use in traditional practices such as Chinese medicine. In addition to stimulating the immune system, they are used to increase vital energy and considered qi tonics. Adaptogens that contain polysaccharides include: American ginseng, Asian ginseng, astragalus, cordyceps, eleuthero, licorice, lycium, prince seng, reishi, rhaponticum, and shatavari.
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