by Maksim Khotimchenko, MD, PhD
n the 21st century, the composition of an average person's diet in Western countries has improved significantly thanks to advancements in nutrition science. However, simply having a balanced diet is not enough. The demands of modern life require us to have greater physical and mental strength, increased stress resistance, more active hours, and a clear mind. The foundation for achieving this lies in our nutrition.
That is why it is essential to consume active compounds that support the effective functioning of our brain and body in the fast-paced, competitive, and ever-changing world we live in.
Nature, particularly wild forests and seawaters, is an unparalleled and virtually limitless source of such substances. Today, we are fortunate to have several remarkable wild forests on our planet, including the Amazon Rainforest in South America, the Deep Forests in India, the Daintree Rainforest in Australia, the Congolese Forest in Africa, and the Great Siberia in Russia. These forests are home to a diverse array of wildlife that has influenced the cultures and traditions of various nations for centuries.
Among the most renowned and enigmatic plants are those found in Southeastern Siberia, such as Ginseng, Schizandra, and Golden Root. These herbal adaptogens have gained widespread recognition and have been surrounded by myths and rumors regarding their powerful health effects. However, the question remains: do they truly deliver on their scientific claims, or are modern supplements and pharmaceuticals superior? Should Ginseng and Schizandra be relegated to the annals of ancient medicine?
Scientists emphatically answer, "YES, they are indeed beneficial." In fact, pharmaceutical guidebooks include information about these herbs and their constituents in the chapter on "Adaptogens."
The initial research on adaptogenic plants was conducted in the mid-20th century in the Soviet Union. The renowned Soviet scientist, Israel Brekhman, discovered that Panax Ginseng contains unique chemical compounds with beneficial properties for the human body's systems. In Brekhman's laboratory, researchers explored many other herbs that have since gained popularity, such as Eleutherococcus Senticosus or "Siberian Ginseng," Aralia Mandshurica, Schizandra Chinensis, and Rhodiola Rosea or "Golden Root."
Professor Brekhman conducted his groundbreaking work at the Pacific Institute of Oceanology in Vladivostok. Even today, members of his exceptional team and their successors continue to advance our knowledge of these remarkable herbs.
We can now definitively assert that these plants and the remedies derived from them exert adaptogenic effects. In other words, they enhance the human body's capacity to adapt to a changing environment and resist various harmful factors, including infections, toxic substances, physical and emotional stress, low and high temperatures, atmospheric pressure, and many others.
The mechanisms behind the beneficial effects of herbal adaptogens have been elucidated. Some of the most important mechanisms include:
- Activation of RNA and protein synthesis;
- General tonic influence;
- Enhanced resistance to low oxygen levels;
- Regulation of cell membrane permeability;
- Antioxidant effects;
- Regulation of neurotransmitter metabolism in the nervous system,
These activities have been observed and studied in laboratory animals, demonstrating their crucial role in providing a general adaptogenic influence when consumed by humans.
Consequently, we can conclude that the consumption of herbal adaptogens is a promising way for everyone to maintain good health. Factors such as physical training, mental stress, infectious agents, and sleep deprivation continually challenge our bodies, but the consumption of adaptogen herbs stands as one of the most promising approaches to protect ourselves and preserve our well-being.