Adaptogens or Rasayanas

Adaptogens, according to various viewpoints, are certain compounds, plants, part of plants or occurrences, use of which results with stabilisation of physiological processes at the cellular level and stimulating of homeostasis, such as decreased cell sensitivity to stress.

In numerous traditional medical systems, including Ayurveda, substances/herbs that restore energy and have a positive impact on the organism are extremely appreciated.

It is believed that these substances promote and improve physical and mental health, increase resistance to stress, maintain defence system of the organism and extend life span. Contemporary science calls these substances adaptogens.

Protection in human body should function impeccably. Adrenal gland is responsible for injecting adrenalin and cortisol into our system.

When the brain is faced with stress caused by any potential danger, it sends signals to hypothalamus to release corticotrophin, which then causes pituitary gland to release adrenocorticotrophin that through circulation reaches adrenal gland, which in exchange releases adrenalin and cortisol. If the body requires extra energy, concentration of glucose in blood stream increases, providing strength for increased activity. Heart rate increases, oxygen level in the body is increased, wounds heal through process of blood regulation, immune system has a suppressive effect on potentially present pathogens. Body regulates all of these processes and they leave no consequences on the organism.
Stress is required and welcomed in small doses, as in limited amounts it encourages us to reach new goals and challenges. Problem occurs when stress is constant and when the body feels like it is in the continuous state of danger. Chronic stress is the main cause of adrenal fatigue. Some symptoms of stress include:
Adaptogeni u ayurvedi

Supporters of herbal medicine claim that nature provides a handful of herbal solutions that regulate and increase cell resistance to stress, most probably through a positive impact on adrenal gland.

According to them, and numerous clinical trials have also confirmed, that adaptogens are not stimulants. On the contrary, they support the state of calmness and balance.

According to Panossioan, classic reduction research model of adaptogen receptors is not suitable in this instance, as adaptogens show more targeted effects on various different receptors, including receptors for corticosteroids, progestin, oestrogen, serotonin and many others, having wide spectrum of pharmaceutical effect. Molecular targets, pathways and functional spectrum of adaptogens have been identified and related with chronic inflammation, atherosclerosis, neurodegenerative cognitive disorders, metabolic disorders and cancer, all of which is related to aging.


According to numerous scientist, adaptogens in Ayurveda are called rasayanas. Rasayanas in Ayurveda are herbs/plants and herbal remedies which are believed to support physical and mental health, improve immune system and extend a life span. From the ayurvedic stance, these herbs/plants are not toxic even in the large doses.

Which plants are adaptogens?

Some plant species used in Ayurveda include:
Shatavari – Asparagus racemosus
Tulsi – Ocimum tenuiflorum
Amalaki – Phyllanthus emblica
Guduchi – Tinospora cordifolia
Ashwagandha – Withania somnifera.
Amongst European species some of them are:

Garlic – Allium sativum

Liquorice- Glycyrrhiza glabra

Plantago – Plantago

Juniper – Juniperus communis
Olive – Olea europea
Asparagus – Asparagus officinalis
Of course, make sure you take special care when using plants and herbal remedies, as what is medicine for someone, could be poison for another. For precise and accurate advice, dosage, and how and why to use these herbal supplements, please contact us or another professional ayurvedic practitioner.



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