by John Summerly
April 26, 2012
John Summerly is
nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner.
He is a leader in the natural health community and
consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of
children on the benefits of complementary therapies for
health and prevention.
How difficult is it for us
to achieve a work-life balance?
How much more difficult is
it to achieve a life-energy balance?
And does it not seem that
there are never enough hours in the day to achieve any
balance at all?
You're not alone.
Your days may seem that way, but in
truth the balance is always there, always available and always
achievable. That doesn't mean it isn't difficult, but a few ancient
herbal formulas will certainly help you achieve the balance you
never thought possible.
Skip your daily sugar boost, coffee or
red bull because in the long-term they will always let you down.
Adaptogenic herbs will give you sustained energy and vitality while
allowing your mind to think freely, calmly and without excessive
Adaptogenic herbs demonstrate a nonspecific enhancement of the
body's ability to resist a stressor.
Modern herbalists say adaptogenic herbs
are plants with properties that exert a normalizing influence on the
body, neither habit-forming, over-stimulating nor inhibiting normal
body function, but rather exerting a generalized tonifying effect.
They increase your resistance overall against physical, chemical and
Herbal formulas found in
Traditional Chinese Medicine and
Ayurvedic Medicine restore a healthy stress response typically using
traditionally prepared as formulas.
However, each herb can be taken on its
own in the appropriate dosage depending on your specific
requirements. For the exact dosages, please consult with a master
herbalist or natural health practitioner well-versed in herbal
formulas to increase energy and vitality.
Here the ten best adaptogenic herbs:
Rhodiola rosea (Golden
Root, Roseroot, Aaron's Rod) is effective for improving mood
and alleviating depression.
Its effects are potentially
mediated by changes in serotonin and dopamine levels.
Used for centuries in Asia and
Scandinavia, Rhodiola is still relatively new to the Western
market, but its popularity is growing, in large part because
of what an incredibly versatile - and relatively
Maca (Lepidium meyenii)
is an annual plant native to the high Andes of Peru and
Bolivia. It has been harvested and used by humans in the
Andean Mountains for centuries.
Darker colored maca roots (red, purple, black) contain
significant amounts of natural iodine, a 10-gram serving of
dried maca generally containing 52 micrograms of iodine.
It is highly beneficial for
reducing fatigue, enhancing energy and endurance, as well as
being a superlatively effective adaptagen for everyday
Maca contains 55 phytochemicals that are known to
have vitality-enhancing effects in the body, in addition to
being incredibly mineral dense and nutritious.
Maca has the ability to heighten libido and improve semen
quality. Its favorable effects on mood, may decrease anxiety
and improve sexual desire. The effects of Maca are due to
the root's unique nutritional profile, which provides
optimum levels of nutrients utilized by the body's endocrine
It may even alleviate medication-induced sexual
dysfunction caused by pharmaceutical antidepressants.
somnifera) is one of the premier restorative herbs in
It is known to help stabilize mood and
support optimal physical and emotional well-being.
It is also known to improve
memory and focus and endurance.
It is believed to reduce the
effects of stress on the body. The berries and leaves of ashwangandha are locally applied to tumors, tubercular
glands, carbuncles, and ulcers.
chinensis) is a deciduous woody vine native to forests of
Northern China and the Russian Far East. Its berries are
used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is considered
one of the 50 fundamental herbs.
They are most often used in
dried form, and boiled to make a tea.
Medicinally it is used as a
tonic and restorative adaptogen with notable clinically
documented liver protecting effects. It supports the immune
system, relieves anxiety, increases energy, and it can
improve mental clarity.
It's sometimes called the "five
flavors berry," because it tastes sour, bitter, sweet, salty
and acrid all at once.
Considered the “ginseng
Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis) are known to
have a truly awesome effect on endurance and stamina.
Research has shown that
Cordyceps are highly effective in treating respiratory
ailments, enhancing aerobic performance, increasing sex
drive, strengthening the immune system, as well as having
Researchers have also noted that a
polysaccharide isolated from Cordyceps has a hypoglycemic
effect and may be beneficial for people with insulin
PANAX GINSENG (ASIAN GINSENG)
Panax ginseng roots are
taken orally as adaptogens, aphrodisiacs, nourishing
It is perhaps one of the most studied medicinal
herbs in the world - and might be one of the most widely
It is a proven
anti-inflammatory, can regulate blood sugar and can even
inhibit some characteristics associated with cancer.
It's used most commonly to promote a sense of well-being and
endurance, as an anti-depressant, for memory and calmness,
for energy (it's one of the ingredients in most energy
Holy Basil (Ocimum
tenuiflorum) has been found in many studies to be equivalent
to many modern painkillers. It is also know to protect from
Within the tradition of
Ayurvedic medicine, it is used to alleviate stress,
headaches, colds, digestive problems and inflammation.
Recent studies have also shown that it's also a powerful
antioxidant and may even be able to reduce blood glucose
levels and cholesterol.
Astragalus has a history
of use as a herbal medicine and is used in traditional
Either alone or in combination with other
herbs, has potential benefits for the immune system, heart,
and liver, and as an adjunctive therapy for cancer.
Found to help restore compromised immune response due to
excessive stress and toxicity from the environment.
being extra beneficial for those with chronic immune
deficiencies, it is recommended above Echinacea for its
ability to provide deeper assistance to those who've
consumed large quantities of antibiotics and have become
susceptible to infections. Astragalus is consumed through
capsules, tinctures, or in a tea.
For best results, it is
used for several weeks to several months at a time.
HE SHOU WU
He Shou Wu (Fallopia
multiflora) is also known as polygonum multiflorum, and is
predominantly referred to as such in Pubmed.
It is used in
Traditional Chinese Medicine as a tonic to slow down the
It is a restorative herb,
calming to the nervous system, and has also been shown to
promote hair growth, alleviate insomnia, and may aid with
learning and memory.
reishi to "calm the spirit."
(literally "supernatural" mushrooms) have been used for more
than 2,000 years, making them perhaps the oldest mushroom to
be used medicinally.
They can be helpful to reduce anxiety,
alleviate insomnia, combat fatigue, and lower blood
In today's modern age, with unparalleled stress and
toxicity, it is more important than ever to fortify and
protect one's body from potential harm.
exercise, and rest are key components in maintaining
excellent health, the use of vitality enhancing herbs is
Their ability to increase energy, immune
response, mental clarity, libido, and over-all homeostasis
of the body make them a truly worthwhile investment of time
and money. They are safe and easy to use, without
side-effects and contraindications like pharmaceutical
In light of their value, they are an obvious choice
for anyone wanting to go a step beyond go health and on to