Adaptogen Herbs, What Are They all About?




Rather than isolate a single herb today, I thought it must be time to cover Adaptogens.  What the heck are adaptogens? 

They are a group of restorative herbs that restore metabolic balance and help the body resist all forms of stress whether emotional, physical or environmental.

In this day and age everyone encounters stress but did you know that there are natural herbs that can help you deal with these stresses?  Most people are not aware of this.

Before I get into the information zone, let me repeat a caution that I give always.  If you are already taking medication make sure that you know the interactions with both vitamins and herbs before you add anything to your regimen.  I will always let you know basic interactions but please for your health’s sake, make sure you do your research.

The adaptogenic family of herbs are not the most well known, however there are a couple of them whose names are familiar. 


Ginseng, both American and Asian is a powerful adaptogen.  It is excellent for adrenal fatigue, shingles (both as treatment and preventative), improves mental and physical performance and increases the libido.  The greatest side effect of these ginsengs, are their anti-aging effects.

While women can take these ginsengs, Siberian ginseng is a better herb for females.  It is considered the feminine version because it is not “hot” like the male version.  One important fact to note is that Siberian ginseng does not actually contain ginsenosides but instead contains eleutherosides. It does have similar effects to the Asian/American ginsengs with additional benefits for menopause, PMS and general moodiness.  In addition it can assist in returning the body to the pre-pregnancy resilience that the hormonal and physical changes of motherhood have depleted.

Siberian Ginseng interacts with the following:

  • Warfarin
  • Chemotherapy
  • Flu vaccine
  • Digoxin
  • Ticlopidine

Asian (Panax Ginseng) interacts with:

  • Warfarin
  • Flu vaccine
  • Ticlopidine


The second adaptogen that people know the name of but are probably not aware of it’s healing abilities is Licorice.  Specifically Glycyrrhiza glabra).

Licorice root supports adrenal function, lowers cholesterol, relieves depression, eases hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms as well as mood swing, PMS and cramping.

The caution with licorice is that sometimes it can be too much of a good thing, raising blood pressure and lowering potassium levels.  If you are taking diuretics and add licorice you can actually cause dangerously low potassium levels.  Licorice is also not good for pregnancy.

Licorice interacts with:

  • Ibuprofen
  • Interferon
  • Thiazide diuretics
  • Neproxin
  • Aspirin
  • Corticosteroids
  • Loop diuretics
  • Digoxin

There is an extensive list of interactions for licorice root so do the research before considering using it.


One final adaptogen that many people that are into natural health have heard of is Reishi.

Reishi nourishes your emotional balance and nurtures consciousness.  It relieves stress and improves adrenocortial function.  It also relieves altitude sickness.

All of these herbs have another action in common and that is that they all support immune system health.

Adaptogens are excellent herbs for the modern age and used properly can make a huge difference in your health and wellbeing.