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Adaptogens or adaptogenic substances, compounds, herbs or practices refer to the pharmacological concept whereby administration results in stabilization of physiological processes and promotion of homeostasis, for example, decreased cellular sensitivity to stress.
The concept of adaptogens was originally created in 1947 to describe a substance that may increase resistance to stress. Adaptogenesis was later applied in the former Soviet Union to describe remedies thought to increase the resistance of organisms to biological stress. Another definition requires that, for an herb to be considered an adaptogen, it must be nontoxic, nonspecific and have a normalizing effect on physiology.
Most of the studies conducted on adaptogens were performed in the Soviet Union, Korea, and China before the 1980s and have been dismissed for various methodological flaws, leading to a conclusion that the term is not accepted in pharmacological and clinical practice as used in the European Union.
- "Adaptogen". Dictionary.com. 2012.
- Brekhman, I. I.; Dardymov, I. V. (1969). "New Substances of Plant Origin which Increase Nonspecific Resistance". Annual Review of Pharmacology. 9: 419–430. doi:10.1146/annurev.pa.09.040169.002223. PMID 4892434.
- "Reflection Paper on the Adaptogenic Concept" (PDF). European Medicines Agency, Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products. 8 May 2008.
- David Winston; Steven Maimes (2007). Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co. p. 18. ISBN 1594771588.