A secret pill to battle stress, increase performance and focus surely is too good to be true. Yet, adaptogens have been used for thousands of years in the Americas, and especially in eastern cultures. They “could be the most important class of plants that we are going to find in the 21st century,” according to Tieraona Low Dog, who’s exploration of natural medicine began more than 35 years ago.  
There are a few well known adaptogens commonly used today. Ginseng, Maca and the Reishi Mushroom for example might have caught your attention at some point. They are called adaptogens because they adapt their effects according to the specific needs of your body. They can be relaxing and stimulating . These guys are pretty smart ey?
Adaptogens can be compared to working out. Just that you are not working out your body but your adrenal gland. They act on the hypothalamic – pituritary axis (HPA) curbing the production of hormones and physiological responses to ensure optimal body functions. 
Former Russian scientist Dr. Ben Tabachnik shared information which was long considered as state secrets, “when the body is subjected to stress, adaptogens help the adrenal glands mount immediate hormonal response.” Dr. Christopher Hobbs, who developed over 50 herbal formulas used worldwide and founded the school of natural healing in Utah said,” the roots of American Ginseng were considered sacred herbs by Native Americans. 
In modern history, the Soviet Union has been leading with the research on Adaptogens during the Cold War when the two Superpowers were constantly on the search for methods to stay ahead of each other.
Studies on Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus) showed a 40% decrease in high blood pressure and heart disease, improved productivity and reduced risk in developing influenza among long distance truck drivers.
A second adaptogen already used by the vikings in was Rhodiola Rosea. Zakir Ramazanov, was banned of mentioning any research findings on the effects of adaptogens. But after the fall of the ‘Iron Curtain’, much of his research has come to light, much of it through the book Rhodiola Revolution.
Rhodiola grows in cold mountainous regions of Europe, Asia and high altitudes in the arctic. Nordic from people have used rhodiola for anxiety, fatigue, anemia, impotence, headache and depression.
The herb has also been used to increase work performance, physical endurance and longevity. Studies from 2011, 2012 and 2015    showed effective treatment of rhodiola for improving physical performance, easing mental fatigue and reduction of depressive symptoms.
Another interesting Adaptogen is Schizandra, which has been long used in Chinese medicine to treat liver conditions and stomach disorder. It is called the five flavored fruit to point to all the five flavours the fruit has: bitter, sweet, salty sour and pungent.
But, Schizandra seems to be more versatile in its healing capabilities than expected. A study carried out in 2017 found that it had a positive effect on Alzheimer’s disease. It was concluded that it inhibited the formation of amyloid beta peptides in the brain. The peptides responsible for forming amyloid plaque, a substance found in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease. A more recent study from 2019 found that Schizandra has anti-cancer effect, anti-aging potential, anti-obesity activity and supports anti-diabetic actions in the body. 
Even though Adaptogens are available in many different forms auch as drinks like Metta, pills and powders, they are not used in mainstream medicine. Mostly due to the lack of research, they are dismissed as ineffective.
There is enough research clearly supports what our ancestors have known for centuries. How can adaptogens be incorporated into ones diet? The best way to do it is to find out what you personally need and get advice from naturopaths, herablists or chiropractors. Act with caution when purchasing adaptogens yourself from the web. Swedish Researchers that examined 60 ginseng products sold in 11 countries found that six samples contained no active ingredient and others had very low percentages of active ingredients. Some even contained ephedrine. Make sure to do your research to be on the safe side.
These forgotten herbs could be your best shot during times of isolation to boost your immune system. Will you use adaptogens for your own benefits too or are you already using them? Leave a comment below.