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The Power of Plant Adaptogens

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Plantopia’s potent plant therapy, four self-care rituals powered by stress-fighting adaptogens and mood-altering essential oils, enable you to create a personalised prescription for whole-being wellness.  

What are adaptogens?

The origin story of adaptogens belongs in a Marvel comic: in 1948, Soviet scientist Dr. Nikolai Lazarev and his colleagues were looking for a performance tonic that would give Olympic athletes and Cold War soldiers a boost, an advantage to help bodies under extremes of stress. He coined the term ‘adaptogen’ to describe the activity of a handful of natural actives they had identified that worked on the body in the same way. 

Of course, Lazarev had in no way discovered these plant powerhouses: Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), two of the oldest traditional medicine systems still practiced today have treatments based on adaptogenic herbs at their core.  He just gave a name and a definition: plant-originated adaptogens that can non-specifcally the enhance human body.. 

Modern studies have shown that adaptogens can non-specifically enhance the resistance of human body under a wide range of external stress conditions working in a multi-targeted and multi-channel network-like way. Today, we would describe adaptogens as natural bioregulators that increase our ability to adapt to environmental stress factors and avoid the damage caused by those factors. In fact, the advantage of adaptogens is that they minimize the bodily response to stress, reducing the negative reactions during the alarm phase and eliminating, or at least decreasing, the onset of the exhaustion phase.

To be defined as an adaptogen, a plant has to meet four criteria:

  1. plant-originated adaptogens must reduce the harm caused by stressed states like depression and fatigue 
  2. plant-originated adaptogens must have positive, activating effects on the human body
  3. in contrast to traditional stimulants, the activating or excitatory effects produced by plant-originated adaptogens must not cause side effects like insomnia or excessive energy consumption
  4. plant-originated adaptogens must not harm the human body

The advantage of adaptogens, and the reason they were identified as the perfect plant-derived actives to power Plantopia, is that they minimise the bodily response to stress, reducing the negative reactions during the alarm phase and eliminating, or at least decreasing, the onset of the exhaustion phase. They help our bodies cope more effectively with stress, making adaptogens perfect for powering the prescription for the holistic approach to wellbeing that is Plantopia. 

Each of Plantopia’s four holistic self-care regimes address specific symptoms of chronic stress, powered by an adaptogen specifically chosen for its measurable contribution. 

These adaptogens are:

Detox & Purify: Schisandra 

Adaptogenic schisandra appears in the Traditional Chinese Medicine pharmacopoeia where its classed as a harmonising tonic or ‘king’ remedy because of its well balanced and energetic nature. Native to China, the berries are called the five flavoured fruit and packed with antioxidants that help to power its adaptogenic activity. 

Rest & Sleep: Ashwaghanda 

The seeds are roots of adaptogenic ashwaghanda have been used in the Ayurvedic and Middle Eastern pharmacopoeia for millennia to support the nervous system, calm stress, and induce sleep. The species name somnifera, given to the plant by Linnaeus, is Latin for ‘sleep-inducing’, reflecting that even a Sweden-based academic knew of the plant’s reputation for addressing sleep issues. 

Relax & Calm: Turmeric 

Adaptogenic turmeric appears in many traditional pharmacopoeia including Ayurveda, where it was used to strengthen the overall energy of the body. Turmeric is antioxidant, containing turmerones that power its adaptogenic activity and are the subject of significant pharmaceutical and medical research. 

Energise & Uplift: Ginseng

Adaptogenic ginseng is known for its energy elevation properties. There are a number of other actives with the common name ‘ginseng’ attached to them to denote potency and efficacy – imitation being the finest form of flattery and reflects the esteem in which Panax ginseng’s adaptogenic properties are held in traditional pharmacopoeia and traditional medicine systems across the globe.


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