Researchers from the government's
Institutes of Health, the
American Medical Association and National Beer Sellers
Association have all concluded that drinking moderate amounts
of beer is
actually good for health and longevity. No one seems sure why this may
be, because alcohol is basically a poison. But the presiding theory is
that the warm and fuzzy feelings that alcohol imparts relieves stress,
which can make you old and wrinkly before your time.
As we should all know by now, stress is
bad for health. This is because stress causes glands in your body to
release the so-called "fight or flight" hormones, such as adrenaline
and cortrisol. These hormones are designed to give you a temporary
boost of energy when trying to do someting like outrun a
bear but can
be damaging when the stress comes from things like traffic jams, cranky
kids, work and anything involving politics.
These days, most people are
pretty streessed out for a lot or even all of their waking
And since you can't drink beer all of the time, you may want to
consider trying adaptogens, a select group of herbs that have been
calming people down for thousands of years. They still work
today, but are not widely publicized because they can't be patented
Traditional Chinese and
Ayurvedic medicine practioners have long been frim believers
stress-bustung capabilites of adaptogens, but they did't begin to gain
much modernday credibilty until the Soviet Union started studying them
durng the Cold War.
At first, the research was done in
secret with hopes that the herbs could
give the Soviets an edge in their battle with the West by boosting the
strength, stamina and overall performance of soldiers, athletes,
cosmonauts, KGB agents and
the Soviets published more than 1,000 studies about adaptogens,
they helped reduce stress by regulating hormonal balance.
something with concrete evidence of promoting health across the board,
nothing even in the same ballpark as adaptogens,” proclaims
author of Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism.
a handful of widely-recognized adaptogenic plants, most of which live
climates. One of them, rhodiola rosea, grows in the arctic highlands of
and Asia. The botanical compounds that protect it against cold,
other extremes also help humans deal with the rigors of their
it’s a blizzard or a bad day at the office.
called adaptogens because of their unique ability to
‘adapt’ their function
according to your body’s needs,” explains leadning
integrative internist Dr. Frank
Lipman. “Adaptogens can
calm you down and
boost your energy at the same time without over-stimulating.”
imbalance created by stress can hogtie the immune system, cause
problems and induce inflammation, which can lead to heart disease,
obesity, Alzheimer’s and just about every other malady known
to man (or woman). Adaptogens
help to normalize hormone levels, so even if you start getting worked
being late to your kid’s soccer game, your body knows better
and calms itself
might ask, if these herbs have incredible powers that have been known
thousands of years and their
value has been
most people not even heard about them?
across the board when it comes to herbal medicine,” notes
Yance, founder of the
Mederi Foundation, a natural health clinic and research center.
haven’t been marketed much when compared to things like
And they also
don’t get a lot of respect from the established medical
medical people are typically uneducated in herbal treatments and tend
that these types of things haven’t been validated
scientifically,” says Yance.
“But, in fact, there is more validation and support for these
many things seen in mainstream medicine.”
adaptogenic supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug
warns that quality among products varies immensely.
buying an adaptogen formula rather than single herbs,” he
suggests. “Do your
research and make sure to get good quality products from a reliable
Some commonly used adaptogens include:
Native to arid areas in
India, North Africa
and the Middle East, ashwagandha has been used in Indian Ayurvedic
since ancient times to increase energy and endurance, boost the immune
and promote longevity.
rosea. This cold-weather herb is a great at balancing
promoting brain function and heart health.
(Asian or American). The Asian is said to be more potent,
but both help
regulate the endocrine system, improve pancreatic function and boost
root. Another Chinese native, this small, woody shrub
fatigue and is good for folks with stressful jobs, such as emergency
Called the “five flavor berry” because it is sweet,
salty, sour, pungent and
bitter, schizandra is found in northern China and Eastern Russia.
it helps with work accuracy and fights fatigue.