This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C. Send all comments or additions to:Frankp@chiro.org
If there are terms in these articles you don't understand, you can get a definition from the Merriam Webster Medical Dictionary. If you want information about a specific disease, you can access the Merck Manual. You can also search Pub Med for more abstracts on this, or any other health topic.
Adaptogenic Herbs: Nature's Solution To Stress
Nutrition Science News
The American Academy of Family Physicians in Kansas City, Mo., estimates that approximately two-thirds of all office visits are for stress-related complaints. Yet stress itself is not an illness; it is simply a fact of life––and always has been. The stressors have changed over the years, but human physiology has remained the same.
Adapting To Long-Term Stress
Nutrition Science News
When faced with a stressful situation, the human body instinctively responds by secreting hormones that change physiology and enhance the organism's ability to either run away or stand and defend. The response includes stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal glands, and it results in higher heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate as well as increased blood-sugar levels. It's the body's way of gearing up for unexpected situations.
Stress: The Hidden Factor For Weight Gain
Nutrition Science News ~ April 2001
Stress can affect virtually any part of the body and produce physical, mental and emotional symptoms including allergies, dizziness, headache, heart palpitations, environmental sensitivity, impaired coordination, impaired immunity and weight gain. Weight gain is often associated with emotional eating and the too-busy-to-exercise lifestyles of people under chronic stress. But researchers are finding that changes in the body triggered by stress, such as elevated cortisol levels, can cause insulin resistance and weight gain.
In Vivo Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Extract on the Activation of Lymphocytes
J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2009 (Apr); 15 (4): 423–430
Five (5) participants consumed 6mL of an Ashwagandha root extract twice daily for 96 hours. Significant increases were observed in the expression of CD4 on CD3+ T cells after 96 hours. CD56+ NK cells were also activated after 96 hours as evidenced by expression of the CD69 receptor. At 96 hours of use, mean values of receptor expression for all measured receptor types were increased over baseline, indicating that a major change in immune cell activation occurred across the sample.
Ancient Medicine, Modern Use:
Withania somnifera and its Potential Role in Integrative Oncology
Alternative Medicine Review 2006 (Dec); 11 (4): 269–277 ~ FULL TEXT
Withania somnifera Dunal, commonly known as ashwagandha, has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to increase longevity and vitality. Western research supports its polypharmaceutical use, confirming antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, and antistress properties in the whole plant extract and several separate constituents. This article reviews the literature pertaining to Withania somnifera and its botanical constituents as antitumor agents and in conjunction with radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) Monograph
Alternative Medicine Review 2004 (Jun); 9 (2): 211–214 ~ FULL TEXT
Withania somnifera, also known as ashwagandha, Indian ginseng, or winter cherry, has been an important herb in the Ayurvedic and indigenous medical systems for over 3000 years. Clinical trials and animal research support the use of ashwaganda for anxiety, cognitive and neurological disorders, inflammation, and Parkinson's disease. Ashwaganda is also used therapeutically as an adaptogen for patients with nervous exhaustion, insomnia, and debility due to stress, and as an immune stimulant in patients with low white blood cell counts.
Adaptogenic Activity of Withania somnifera:
An Experimental Study Using a Rat Model of Chronic Stress
Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2003 (Jun); 75 (3): 547–555
Withania somnifera (WS) Dunal is classified in Ayurveda, the ancient Hindu system of medicine, as a rasayana, a group of plant-derived drugs reputed to promote physical and mental health, augment resistance of the body against disease and diverse adverse environmental factors, revitalise the body in debilitated conditions and increase longevity. The results (of this study) indicate that WS, like PG, has significant antistress adaptogenic activity, confirming the clinical use of the plant in Ayurveda.
Nootropic-like Effect of Ashwagandha
(Withania somnifera L.) in Mice
Phytother Res 2001 (Sep); 15 (6): 524–528
On the elevated plus-maze, ashwagandha reversed the scopolamine (0.3 mg/kg)-induced delay in transfer latency on day 1. On the basis of these findings, it is suggested that ashwagandha exhibits a nootropic-like (memory protective/enhancing) effect in naive and amnesic mice.
Scientific Basis for the Therapeutic Use of Withania somnifera
(Ashwagandha): A Review
Alternative Medicine Review 2000 (Aug); 5 (4): 334–346 ~ FULL TEXT
Studies indicate ashwagandha possesses anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antistress, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, hemopoietic, and rejuvenating properties. It also appears to exert a positive influence on the endocrine, cardiopulmonary, and central nervous systems. The mechanisms of action for these properties are not fully understood. Toxicity studies reveal that ashwagandha appears to be a safe compound.
Antistressor Effect of Withania somnifera
J Ethnopharmacol 1999 (Jan); 64 (1): 91–93
Withania somnifera is an Indian medicinal plant used widely in the treatment of many clinical conditions in India. Its antistressor properties have been investigated in this study using adult Wistar strain albino rats and cold water swimming stress test. The results indicate that the drug treated animals show better stress tolerance.
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