Do you want to know more about the amazing properties of adaptogens?
Are you interested in how your body responds to stress and what you can do to balance it naturally?
Join our CSO, Dr. Michele Burklund as she describes what adaptogens do, the 3 phases of stress, how the adrenal glands are involved, and how each adaptogen is a little different.
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Right below, you will find the transcript of this video.
(00:00) – Dr. Michele Burklund: Hi everyone, Dr. Michele Burklund here, I’m the chief science officer at Puriya, and this is the time where we sit down, I get to answer your questions and we’re gonna talk about different topics in natural health. So, for those of you who are new and joining us, most of my role is behind the scenes, where I get to study a lot of the botanicals, research, great formulations, put it all together and write a lot of the medical literature. But I also take this time as an educational opportunity to meet with you and to go over any questions you have and kind of get deeper into the root cause of a lot of things.
(00:43) – DB: So, kind of our goal here at Puriya with these talks is to give you more tools, to be healthy, and to live a healthy vibrant life. So this week, speaking of living a healthy vibrant life, we are talking about adaptogenic plants. And they’ve been around for quite a while, but perhaps you have some confusion on what is an adaptogenic plant. Maybe you’ve seen it at the store, a different supplement, or you’ve read about it, but we’re gonna go into a little more detail about all of them, the differences between them, and how they can help the body in many different ways.
(01:22) – DB: So also, for those of you just joining us, don’t forget to follow us here on Facebook so you can get reminded of our next section and the topic. We also have a lot of great interviews on so many different topics, from fasting and nutrition to sound healing, so many amazing people we’re gonna interview. So it’s a great thing, if you follow us here, so you can be in the know and catch these interviews either live or on the replay. So the first thing I’m going to answer are, what are adaptogenic plants and how do they balance stress? So, adaptogenic plants and mushrooms are proven to help augment the resistance to stress, both physically and mentally. So in other words, they help you adapt more easily, hence the name. And there’s many different ones. So some adaptogens act by stimulating the body and helping improve mental performance, while others help calm the body and soothe the adrenals. And they can also support the body’s natural circadian rhythm and help promote sleep. So, it honestly depends on the constituents and the adaptogen, but the more research is coming out with these amazing plants, and how they act on an individual level and help rebalance you personally instead of just push certain things and promote certain pathways.
(02:58) – DB: So, I mean, the complexity and the brilliance of these plants are just amazing, and there’s something that we should all utilize. So, to really understand adaptogens, I wanna discuss the body’s stress response. Because like I discussed previously about inflammation, some inflammation is good. In an immediate response, it helps heal the body, and it tells your body something’s wrong. But chronic inflammation is where a lot of things come into play, and a lot of disease states and conditions come about. And it’s the same way with stress. Immediate stress in situations can be great. Like, if there’s a bear nearby and you need to run away, having that extra adrenaline and everything will help you and keep you alive. But on a daily basis, having that chronic stress really takes a toll on your body. So I’m gonna talk about the three phases of stress, and how we can help balance our bodies and how adaptogens can really help on that level too. So you can kind of understand what the body goes through physically during all these states.
(04:08) – DB: So, the first state is the alarm reaction, the fight or flight, and this is where your body releases adrenaline and other stress hormones into the bloodstream immediately. This is the phase where your body is mobilizing all of its available resources for immediate physical activity. So you feel your heartbeat increase, your breathing rate increase. You can also start sweating during this time, and this is a great response if you lived in the forest, and you needed to hide from predators and react quickly, but in daily life, the same response can come out in other situations, and it doesn’t help us in any way. For example, maybe you have this reaction when you’re giving a speech in public, the same reaction that your body would do if you needed to run away from a predator, thousands and thousands of years ago. So our goal is to not only help in the long run, balance your stress with many other ways, but also help your body internally, possibly with adaptogenic plants too.
(05:15) – DB: So, the second phase is resistance. This is where your body continues to fight the stress. So, you’ve been running, and after the effects of the alarm reaction have worn off, during this phase your body releases cortisol, corticosteroids to help stimulate the conversion of protein to glucose, so that you have more energy, so you’ll keep going. This is the chronic stress that your body is pushing through and trying to mobilize everything it can. And like I said, this is great if you’re fighting for your life, but you don’t want this response if you have a huge workload and you have deadlines and in the end, this can actually increase your waistline, because it’s increasing your cortisol at the times that you don’t need it in today’s world.
(06:00) – DB: S o the third phase is what we call exhaustion, and this is chronic stress, this is what takes a big toll on your body and the adrenal glands, and it can lead to a variety of conditions, irritable bowel syndrome, IBS, ulcerative colitis, depression, hypertension, and so many more states. I think chronic stress can pretty much exacerbate any condition on a physical level too. So, I guess, a good example for this would be; for example, if you’ve had a huge presentation and you spent all this time, and you pushed really hard to give the presentation, and then right when it was finished you got sick. And this is your body kind of going into exhaustion phase, where you’re finding you don’t have that energy anymore and you’re getting sick more often.
(06:54) – DB: So chronic stress does not help us in any situation in today’s world. And our goal with adaptogenic herbs is to help balance that on many different levels. Next, since we’ve talked about stress, I wanna talk a little bit about the adrenal glands, also. So the adrenal glands are a pair of triangular shaped organs, they sit on top of your kidneys. And they secrete many hormones, including cortisol, DHA, adrenaline and norepinephrine. And these are the body’s four main stress hormones. So when our body is constantly in fight or flight, the sympathetic mode, and we’re constantly overworked and under stress, our adrenal glands are working overtime to secrete and make all these different… To secrete these hormones. And this is where something that can be called adrenal fatigue can occur. And you might notice symptoms such as feeling tired, having trouble getting up in the morning, craving more sweets, forgetting things during the day, memory fog, just feeling burned out, getting sick a lot, and having a hard time concentrating. So, these are all signs that you’ve been under stress for way too long. And in today’s world, this is very easy and surprisingly more common than we would like it to be.
(08:31) – DB: So, understanding the stress response, understanding how our adrenals play a role too, this can kind of give us a better perspective on how adaptogenic plants can help us in such a unique way, and help us adapt and help bring our body back to balance. So there’s so many different ones, and I’ll just touch on a couple. One example is Rhodiola, it’s also called arctic root, and it’s named that because it thrives in cold mountainous regions and on top of just the adrenal support and the stress balancing, it also acts as a mood supporting agent. So there’s been some interesting research there too. And this actually dates back to 77 AD where a Greek physician even documented Rhodiola as an aid for fatigue and anxiety back then.
(09:24) – DB: And what it can be used for today, commonly would be seasonal affective disorder, which typically occurs right now in the fall and winter months, when you might notice that you have more depression as the light… We don’t have enough lights or you might feel more tired. So, it helps balance the stress hormones, and it’s also been studied because it helps promote the transport of important building blocks such as 5-HTP, which is incredibly important for the production of serotonin. So that’s Rhodiola, which is a great adaptogenic herb, and specifically that one is great as a mood supportive agent as well for some people. So all of these different adaptogens have so many great properties and some may specialize in specific things and others on other things. So Rhodiola is great for mood health. Then we have something called Eleuthero, which is also called Siberian Ginseng, and it’s been used for centuries in Russia and China for its ability to improve cognition, enhance energy, and support stress.
(10:41) – DB: So, in the fall and winter months, our energy levels tend to get quite a bit less and it gets a lot darker outside. And what’s interesting is that this particular adaptogen has been studied not only to help energy levels, but to help athletes increase their endurance, and it’s showed a lot of success in that. And also, one study published from the International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology, found that a group of females taking this extract exhibited improved attention and accuracy during stressful cognitive tasks. So, Eleuthero is a great one for stress regarding athletic performance based on studies, and also can help with cognition during stressful times as well. Another great adaptogenic herb is Astralagus. It’s well-known in Chinese medicine for its ability to prevent colds and improve energy, as well. But the Journal of Immunology revealed that it might even be an effective anti-aging tool, two specific constituents may play a role in actually extending the lifespan of DNA, and helping to support telomeres. So, there’s so many great adaptogens with very unique properties, and I would always say, meet with the licensed naturopathic physician if you’re having a lot of stress, and you feel like you need more balancing, these can be a great tool.
(12:26) – DB: Other adaptogens are Schisandra, Holy Basil, Panax Ginseng, Cordyceps, mushrooms, Maca, alma, Gotu Kola, so many amazing ones. I feel like we could talk all day about how each one is unique and how they have so much potential to help with stress. And here at Puriya, in a lot of our future formulations, which will be coming out shortly, I have actually used adaptogenics herbs, including Gotu Kola, Reishi mushroom, in some of our formulations, orally to help balance the stress response, because so many skin issues can be made worse through increased stress, including eczema and psoriasis. So, getting on a deeper level and addressing it that way, I think can have amazing effects on the body, and also topically, there’s been some pretty interesting studies on what it can do to help modulate the skin surface? So here at Puriya, we love adaptogens and there’s so many great uses for them on many different levels, but I also want to talk to you about when we’re speaking of stress, adaptogens are great, and there’s a lot of other things we can do to help balance stress in our body, from getting enough sleep each day, trying to move and exercise and finding ways to release stress, whether it’s breathing exercises or meditation.
(13:54) – DB: So, adaptogenic herbs is one great way, and we need to kinda look at the whole picture and find ways to reduce stress in our life and keep that balance a long term. Also, I wanna remind all of you we have an amazing e-book, and in the description, you can click on it and you can sign up for our newsletter and you will get our e-book, and which you can download for free. And it really goes deeper, not only into finding the root cause and living a clean life, but we go into food and we talk more about meditation and the science studies related to it and a lot of great ways to keep healthy. So, don’t forget to sign up for that. Have an amazing weekend, and I will talk to you soon. Take care.