Adaptogens Part 1
According to the original definition adaptogens are non-specific remedies that increase resistance to a broad spectrum of harmful factors – “stressors” – of different physical, chemical and biological natures. – This definition has been updated and today adaptogens are defined as a “new class of metabolic regulators which increase the ability of an organism to adapt to environmental factors and to avoid damage from such factors.”
Upstream targets of adaptogens in response to stress appear to include the neuropeptide NPY and the heat shock protein HSP72.
“The beneficial stress-protective effect of adaptogens is related to the regulation of homeostasis via mechanisms of action associated with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the regulation of key mediators of the stress response, such as molecular chaperones, stress-activated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase, forkhead box O transcription factor, cortisol, and nitric oxide (NO)."
Adaptogens often work through Nrf2 and Xenohormesis
"The comment is that virtually all of the research literature on adaptogens misses a crucial new point of view – that the stress-relieving, antioxidant and other important health-producing properties of adaptogens are almost certainly due to their being activators of Nrf2, and that they act via hormesis."
(This resonates with me a lot while reading it and makes me excited to eat and take adaptogen plants. When sick, the body is out of balance and not "in tone" to take care of challenges. By consuming plants that are used to responding to severe stress, as many adaptogen plants are, we take on some of their "strength," in the form of their powerful ability to activate homeostatic and healthful mechanisms including Nrf2.)