Increasingly, consumers are searching for natural remedies that decrease chronic stress and boost the immune system. Herbal products, teas, yoga and homeopathic medicines are popular choices for maintaining physical and emotional wellbeing.
The American Botanical Council’s HerbalGram market report 2017 showed more consistent growth of herbal dietary supplements in the U.S. market as consumer trends are shifting towards natural medicines. Rising cost of health care services and prescription medicine is also playing a significant role in growth of this segment.
Sales reports of dietary supplements indicate that adaptogenic herbs constitute a large proportion of products purchased by consumers in recent years. This denotes an active interest in learning more about the role of adaptogenic herbs in enhancing health and wellbeing.
Centuries ago, adaptogenic herbs were first used in Chinese medicine and ayurveda to support overall health and wellness. A recent review published in Annals of New York Academy of Sciences (August 2017) show that adaptogens have the potential of resisting a broad spectrum of harmful factors (stressors) and regulating metabolism. More research investigations are going on to further validate the efficacy, safety and efficacy of these herbs.
However, more research is needed to validate the efficacy, effectiveness and safety of these herbs before they can be used as mainstream. For example, ashwagandha has gained popularity in the U.S. and manufacturers are investigating its safety and effectiveness for the treatment of stress and anxiety issues.
David Winston HR (AHG) of New Jersey-based Herbalist and Alchemist shared information about the role of adaptogens in dealing with stress and anxiety. He stated, “Adaptogens are herbs that help re-regulate the HPA axis and SAS (the sympatho-adrenal system, which regulates our fight or flight mechanism). They can help us to deal with acute or chronic stress and on a cellular level they inhibit cortisol-induced mitochondrial dysfunction.”
He added, “Well-researched adaptogens include schisandra, Asian ginseng, ashwagandha, eleuthero, cordyceps, American ginseng and rhaponticum. Many other plants have been labeled as adaptogens, but the research is less conclusive. Some herbs, such as shatavari, holy basil, Aralia elata and suo yang/orobanche probably are adaptogens.”
Manufacturers are also combining adaptogenic herbs with other herbs and micronutrients in various delivery methods, including tablets, capsules and tonics, to address customer requirements for effective and improved products. According to DaRon Gillilan, CEO of sales with Texas-based LifeSeasons, “ Pills/capsules have been the traditional delivery methods for years, and while new dosage forms are emerging, we don’t see that dramatically changing; however today’s consumers are looking for targeted condition-specific supplements that help rebalance and absorb quickly into the body.”
Winston also clarified that certain herbs, including as amla, goji berry, astragalus or processed rehamnnia, are not adaptogens as often referred.