Help! Do I need to decrease my adaptogen dose?
Jenni wrote to us inquiring about taking an adaptogenic herb: "will it lose its effectiveness over time therefore needing to up the recommended daily dose?" she asked.
Before I answer this excellent question, let's make sure we're all on the same page dy defining adaptogens. . .
Adaptogens are a unique category of herbal medicines that have been used for centuries in many traditional medical systems, including Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. These herbs are held in extremely high regard as allies that restore health and vitality. Coined by the Russians, the term 'adaptogen' points to their distinct ability to help individuals adapt to the stressors in their lives by regulating the adrenal stress response and soothing heightened stress reactions.
There are a range of adaptogens from those which are calming (such as Ashwagandha) to stimulating (such as Asian ginseng) so it's wise to read up on them and/or consult with a trained herbalist before adding any to your daily regimen. They're amazing herbs with broad reaching effects from improved energy, stamina and cognition to decreased anxiety and tension and better sleep -- and everything in between!
Now, to our subscribers question about dosing & duration...
Dosing varies from herb to herb and person to person. Regarding duration, in general, adaptogens are non-toxic and very safe for long-term use. While every individual is unique, and therefore responses to all herbs vary, most of my clients actually find the opposite to be true - that, over time, they can lower their adaptogen(s) dose or stop taking it altogether. This makes sense when we think it through...unlike many drugs which commonly flood the brain and result in an upregulation of receptors which leads to drug tolerance, adaptogens nourish and tonify our physiology. So, as our system becomes more fortified, we generally need less herbal support.
However, it's important to note that if you're taking an adaptogen so you can continue to live an unhealthy lifestyle, this will most likely eventually backfire!