Our Herbs & Botanicals

What is an Adaptogen?

An adaptogen is a nontoxic plant extract that is held to increase the body's ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and promote or restore normal physiological functioning.

Examples of Adaptogens: Ashwagandha, Chamomile, Passionflower, Hemp

 

Ashwagandha, also known as Indian ginseng, is a popular Ayurvedic herb and considered a tonic with multiple properties. In the lab, ashwagandha has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and relax the central nervous system in animals. Other experiments suggest it can enhance immune cells and impair or kill cancer cells, but more studies are needed to determine whether these effects can occur in humans. Clinical trials suggest ashwagandha may help reduce anxiety, stress, and fatigue, but larger studies are needed.

Ashwagandha may affect certain lab tests that measure thyroid functioning and digoxin levels.

A few preliminary studies suggest ashwagandha may help reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue, but larger studies are needed.

Buoyant Formulas that contain Ashwagandha: Recovery Aid, Flash Relief

 

Cayenne Pepper (Extract) contains a chemical called capsaicin that is a powerful irritant. Because this compound can affect nerves that report painful stimuli to the brain, it has become useful in some forms such as over-the-counter creams for some skin conditions and nerve pain. Oral forms have been marketed for circulation problems, poor appetite, and weight loss, but there are no studies to confirm such effects.

Buoyant Formulas that contain Cayenne: Recovery Aid

 

Cinnamon refers to several plants native to Southeast Asia. The bark, rich in essential oil, is used as a flavoring agent and as a spice. Cinnamon has a long history of use as an herbal medicine. Laboratory studies have shown that cinnamon has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It was also shown to lower blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, to lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, to reduce dental plaque and gingivitis, and to improve metabolic syndrome (metabolic disorders that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes). Topical use of a cinnamon containing ointment was shown to help relieve perineal pain and improved healing of episiotomy incision in postpartum women.

Current evidence suggests benefits of cinnamon for lowering glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Buoyant Formulas that contain Cinnamon: Recovery Aid

 

Chamomile has been used as a medicinal herb to treat various conditions including anxiety, sleeplessness, and gastrointestinal problems. It is also used topically for inflammatory skin conditions.

Laboratory studies show that substances in chamomile can kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and calm muscle spasms. It has also been shown to inhibit the growth of polio and herpes viruses as well as ulcers. Several chemicals in chamomile leaves might help to prevent inflammation. Apigenin, a compound isolated from chamomile, binds to brain cells in the same areas as well-known depressant drugs, which could explain chamomile’s sedative effects.

Small clinical trials show that chamomile may have a modest effect on generalized anxiety disorder, insomnia, and in healing skin lesions after colostomy, a surgical procedure that brings one end of the large intestine out through the abdominal wall. Studies on whether chamomile mouth rinse can heal or prevent mouth sores from cancer treatment have been mixed. More study is needed to determine whether it can be helpful for this condition.

Chamomile may benefit those with anxiety disorder and insomnia, but more study is needed.

Buoyant Formulas that contain Chamomile: Sleep Support + Chamomile

 

Passion Flower, Passiflora incarnata is a perennial wildflower that is commonly found in the southern United States. Passion Flower extract is contained in many dietary supplement products marketed as sleep aids or anxiety relievers. A handful of studies in humans support these claims, although it is still unknown whether passion flower extracts are safe and effective in the long-term. Scientists are not sure how this herb works, but have speculated that compounds in passion flower may interact with receptors in the brain that would mediate a relaxation response. Studies done in mice suggest that passion flower extracts have mild anti-inflammatory and anti-seizure activity.

Because animal studies show disrupted sexual behavior in male offspring, passion flower should be avoided during pregnancy. It may also interact with certain medications as well as have added effects with St. John’s wort and/or valerian.

Passion flower may reduce anxiety, but its long-term safety and effectiveness are not known.

Buoyant Formulas that contain Passion flower: Sleep Support, Flash Relief

 

Valerian, derived from the root of the plant V. officinalis, is sold as a dietary supplement for calmness, sedation, and to improve sleep quality.

Valerian may provide modest improvements in sleep, but study results are mixed.

In laboratory experiments, valerian extract prevents the breakdown of an important inhibitory neurotransmitter chemical in the nervous system, causing a calming effect. Human studies suggest valerian products have a modest effect to improve sleep quality. Valerian supplements often have a distinct odor that some may find unpleasant, and these products might interact with a number of drugs or health conditions. More research is needed to determine the benefits and safety of this botanical.

Buoyant Formulas that contain Valerian: Sleep Support

 

Source:  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center